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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

Choose Independence Today

Published July 4, 2012 12:23 PM by Glen McDaniel


On July 4, 1776 the United States declared independence from Britain and a vigorous new democracy was born. This year we celebrate our 236th birthday and our founding fathers are probably sputtering in wonderment, "Who knew this experiment in democracy would be so successful?"

When American patriots chose to defy King, Crown, a powerful power structure, and even history itself, the conventional wisdom was that the fledgling movement could not survive. There was little more than a deep desire to be free, a belief in the power of determination and the shared aspiration to be independent.

Independence is a scary thought.  Whether it is a country, a profession, an organization or an individual, the status quo can be safe because it represents a known quantity. One learns how to cope with the expected; it is the unexpected that presents the greatest challenges. Psychologists describe this as the "better the devil you know" phenomenon and posit that it explains why even victims of horrendous treatment will opt to remain in what might seem to everyone to be an obviously untenable situation.

 It is not that our forefathers had all the answers, or were imbued with extraordinary strength and courage; it is simply that their desire for a better life superseded their fear. As executives in healthcare, beholden to so many masters and powerbrokers, we are often tentative about moving beyond our fears.

As a profession, we obsess about how we are beholden to pathologists, the government, regulatory agencies and other healthcare professionals. How can we deny the "reality" that we are negatively impacted and held back by so many?

One consideration often overlooked is the very preoccupation with the "reality" prevents us from changing it and moving forward. What would be the result if we chose not to be subservient or subject to the whims and fancies of others? The strong likelihood is we would be closer to our dream of a vibrant, independent, proud profession. The worst case scenario is we would be where we are right now.

Personally and professionally, individually and as a profession, I wish you a Happy Independence.


As a profession we will never be truly independent until we separate ourselves from pathologists. They work with us but do not support us. They take credit for our work.In many labs we even have 2 directors, a pathologist who is medical director but the administrative director is the MT who runs the lab and is in charge of the real work that makes the lab run.

Nancy G. July 23, 2012 9:06 PM
Birmingham AL

Happy Independence to all my colleagues.

Menoza July 4, 2012 1:00 PM
Cleveland OH

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