In Celebration of Medical Laboratory Professionals Week
it’s that time of year again. This week we turn our attention to celebrating
medical laboratorians. It is the one
week out of the year when we highlight the very important role played by those
of us who practice in the laboratory.
Although the information we provide is so vital to healthcare, we are largely
invisible. Arguably we provide the majority of the concrete data used in the
diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of diseases. By the nature of our work and the technology used, we increasingly
also help to rule out illnesses and advance wellness.
year I have written an article, a blog or two, and participated locally in the
celebration of “our week.” Although some of my professional career has been spent
outside of the laboratory, I always return to my roots and try to join in the
celebration whenever I can.
of you work long hours, tirelessly, outside the attention and consciousness of
the patient, day in and day out. With such little public recognition, I am all
in favor of a week of celebration. In recent years, however, I have argued
against turning inwards as the only means of celebrating. Mutual pats on the
shoulder, wearing t-shirts, hosting baby-picture contests and attending lunches
thrown by vendors are great. However, I also advocate aggressively promoting
the profession so that others-doctors, nurses, other health professionals,
administrators and patients-see who we are, how we think and what we do.
others starts with knowing our own history. For example, how about having a
contest in your lab to see how many of your colleagues know the following facts:
are approximately 300,000 medical laboratory professionals in the USA
laboratory science emerged as a discrete profession around the 1920’s
1975 a week of celebration, originally called National Medical Laboratory Week
(NMLW), was initiated by the ASCLS, which back then was named ASMT. Over the years, other
laboratory organizations have joined in cosponsoring the week
2005 the organizers of the week changed the name to National Medical Laboratory
Professionals Week; adding the “P” to emphasize the role of the professional,
the individual. We are more than a room in the basement; after all, we are a profession.
year, a different slogan was chosen to highlight the week. However, in 2010 a
permanent theme was chosen: Laboratory Professionals Get Results. This is very
catchy and creates a brand that we can all remember, relate to, and use all year long.
week is often called “Lab Week” for brevity and because the official name has changed
so much. However that casual term probably perpetuates ignorance of the real name
and helps to minimize the role of the professional.
2012 the organizers removed the “N” (National) from the name which had been
pretty unwieldy, you have to admit. So the current, correct name is Medical
Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW)
week, celebrate, enjoy yourselves. But whenever possible, use the opportunity
to introduce yourself and your profession to those who benefit from your dedication
and talent, but know little about you and your skills.
Have Fun. Thank you for all you do, and Happy Medical Laboratory Professionals Week
(MLPW) to you.