NMLPW: an Opportunity to Celebrate and Educate
This week, April 22-28, we celebrate National Medical Laboratory Professionals' Week (NMLPW).
This celebartion was started in 1975 as National Medical Laboratory Week (without the word "professionals") by American Society for Medical Technology (ASMT), now called the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS).
Now in its 36th year, NMLPW celebrates the approximately 300, 000 clinical laboratorians who competently provide information that is invaluable in maintaining the nation's health and welfare. Over the years, in a rare feat of cooperation among disparate groups, other professional laboratory organizations have come on board to co-sponsor the week.
True, it is a time to celebrate the profession and pat ourselves on the back. It is perfectly fine to bask in the glow of the brief (but well deserved) step into the spotlight. This week is a chance in your own facility to showcase the laboratory department within the larger organization and to emphasize the pivotal role of clinical lab science on the larger healthcare team.
I urge you, my colleagues, not to simply have free lunches and wear cool tee shirts. Use the week to brag and educate as well. Ever been to a show where the emcee mentions someone in the audience and a shadow spotlight briefly finds and illuminates that individual audience member? Then everyone looks at them and applauds? Well, use this brief spotlight not simply to say how great you are, but educate others about your ongoing value.
This should not be one of those races where everyone gets a medal; where recognition is minimized by the fact it is shared equally by everyone who just shows up. NMLPW is not just our turn on the calendar to have our own week. It should be an opportunity to educate patients, administrators and healthcare colleagues alike that the hospital could not function without the laboratory; that medical laboratorians are highly educated scientists who use critical judgment to evaluate data that are used to make diagnoses and to save lives.
My intention with this blog is three fold. Thank you for the great job you do every day. Congratulations and enjoy this well-deserved week. Resist the temptation to simply form a circle and pat each other on the back: look out at a captive audience and tell them who you are, what you do every day, with every test on every single patient.