I love attending parties. For one, I get to unwind and spend time with friends. But I also love the opportunity of meeting new people and hearing about their lives. I have long realized that I learn much more from listening than I do from talking and there is no shortage of folks wanting to talk, especially at a party.
This last Friday I attended a cocktail party which was studded with a number of individuals from all walks of life and various professions. As the evening progressed I was introduced to a well-known television celebrity who is both an anchor and a correspondent.
Not surprisingly he told me how much he loves his work and how passionately he feels about the importance of what he does and its effect on forging public opinion. That's a certain formula for happiness and success, I thought. But no surprise there.
The surprise came when I mentioned his legendary reporting from areas of conflict and natural disasters. Sure, he feels scared, he says, but he is also something of an adrenaline junkie and gets close to the action as much for himself as the audience. Does he ever think about the feedback he will receive?
"Absolutely," he said. "Any reporter who says he or she is not trying to beat their competitor to a story, to be more dramatic, or to do an Emmy-award winning story is not telling the truth."
Interesting. This could be just one man's take; talking to someone he met innocuously at a party. But his words made me think.
What if those of us in MLS or medicine in general were driven by the same desire to compete and to be dramatic? That is not a luxury or self-indulgence we can afford. Our focus is just so different; it is concerned with unwavering commitment and consistently sticking to a script regardless of the circumstances or the patient we are serving.
On the other hand, what if we as a profession made it more of a priority to recognize those who make unusual sacrifices every day to serve others. Actors get Emmys or Oscars for doing their job (for which they get paid very well). Singers get Grammys as the icing on their rather rich cake.
Would it be too outrageous to recognize those in other professions like MLS who go over and beyond the call of duty in the service of others? Just a thought.
As clinical laboratorians we are taught the importance of the information we provide for clinical decision making. Technology has made it possible to use small sample sizes to generate "numbers" in a very short period of time. Sometimes physicians (and laboratorians) get so seduced by the speed that we forget that numbers are only desirable if they make a positive difference to patient care.
Raw data must be converted into understandable, usable information that is accurate and reflective of the patient it purports to represent.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) recently announced that it was immediately removing the requirement that hospitals ensure troponin results be available within 60 minutes of arrival in the ED for acute myocardial infarction patients or chest pain patients.
The requirement dubbed OP-16 is part of the Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR) and was slated to be put into effect in 2013. The measure was well intentioned: diagnose chest pain patients as quickly as possible. Rule in or rule out MI. Either admit and treat or discharge the patient. It was a measure designed to improve patient care, free up valuable ED space and save money.
CMS wants to use OQR measures like OP-16 to determine payment for hospitals in 2013, with hospitals that measure up receiving extra payments under a new CMS value-based purchasing scheme. This is a pay for performance model.
The problem in this case is that in July the FDA issued a Class 1 recall on several point of care (POC) troponin kits. They were found to produce inaccurate, unreliable results that could negatively impact patient care and in some cases endanger patient safety.
In an effort to beat the clock many organizations had adopted POC testing for troponin. In some case devices and kits had been sold as "much faster than the lab", or "testing can be performed by anyone."
This is a stark reminder that speed is not everything. Accuracy and validation by trained professionals do count.
Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day.
This is the 25th annual observance of the day originally organized under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise the awareness of HIV/AIDS and garner support for research, understanding, education and allocation of resources.
We have come a long way in our understanding, treatment and management of HIV infection. I recall as an MLS student in northern Ontario in the late seventies (that's 1970's by the way) first meeting someone who exhibited symptoms of AIDS. Brian was a friend of one my classmates. He was funny, smart and acerbic. Besides he was a bon vivant and great cook. We loved going over to his house where we knew we would be well fed, given libations and regaled with stories, some of which we doubted were based in reality.
We had known him about nine months when he confided in us that he was sick and doctors were having a difficult time coming up with a diagnosis or effective treatment. He developed a chronic cough, lost weight rapidly and just looked ashen with a reddish-purple rash. He shared his lab results with us and I recall our excitement as we used our newly found knowledge to help to interpret his CBC.
In early December of 1975, Brian went into the local hospital and died on Christmas Day. We are all saddened and baffled. I still remember his cause of death: pneumonia, cancer and pancytopenia. What?
It was about six years later when there were news stories of several otherwise healthy young men in the USA who were exhibiting similar symptoms and rapid demise that I made the connection to what Brian had. It took another year or so, 1982, before the CDC identified the baffling occurrence of pancytopenia, Kaposi's sarcoma, and PCP pneumonia together as a "new disease" called AIDS.
A year later French scientist, Luc Montagnier isolated a virus directly from the lymph nodes of an AIDS patient. He called the virus lymphadenopathy associated virus (LAV). American scientist Robert Gallo from the NIH quickly followed up by naming a virus in his sample (Human T-lymphotropic virus lll) or HTLV lll.
The following year, 1985, the first laboratory diagnostic test was developed. The ELISA test was followed by the Western Blot confirmatory testing and the Nucleic Acid Test (NAT). Rapid screening tests were developed and the use of other noninvasive samples like saliva was later adopted. We have indeed come a long way.
The 1980s seem so long ago. It was medical laboratory researchers who did the initial work in isolating the virus and developing that first diagnostic test. Together with the development of anti-retroviral cocktails, these initiatives have lengthened the lives of many with HIV infection. HIV has now become for the most part a chronic condition instead of a death sentence.
Infection sill continues and we have more to learn. There is still no vaccine. But today, it is worth remembering and lauding the valiant genius of those who laid the groundwork that made rapid diagnosis and treatment possible.
Have you ever heard the expression that someone is always "on'? That comes from the showbiz reference to the fact that the person mentioned always acts as if they are on stage, or before the cameras. The inference is that they are acting for effect and not being "real."
Well, I submit that in today's competitive world it is not such a bad thing to be "on." I thought about this after hearing how several friends landed long-awaited jobs in nontraditional ways. One is a program manager for a government initiative geared towards high school drop outs. The other is now the CEO of a hospital.
Both had been unemployed, then under employed, then unhappily employed in unfulfilling jobs outside their specialties. In the case of the CEO she met a stranger on the beach and struck up a conversation about what she did but pointed out her passion was really healthcare operations. He was friendly, yet professional and he told her he was the president of a healthcare company, and was in town to visit the company's local hospital which was in a state of flux.
He gave her his business card and asked her to call him (only a hard core executive goes to the beach with business cards!). Anyway, after a couple of interviews she got the job to be the CEO with the task of turning around a flailing hospital. This is her ideal job.
She did not have to leave town or sell her house or uproot her family. The executive told her he was fascinated by her stories, her resilience in creating jobs along the way, and her obvious passion for healthcare. Although they met casually (and she initially had no idea what he did for a living) she was friendly, but professional and forceful.
My other friend got his job in a similar way. He met someone at a party who networked with him and asked him to call a colleague in government, who then referred him to someone in the mayor's office. To make a long story short, he got a the job of program manager two months later after five intense interviews.
Both examples point to the power of networking but, more significantly, to the importance of being professional and exuding your brand even in social situations. In neither case were my friends being fake or in offensive sales mode, but they were acting professionally enough -and had their elevator speech refined and smooth enough- to attract attention that later landed them their dream jobs.
So being "on" in this context does not mean being fake, stiff or in constant sales mode. It does mean being kind, courteous, and professional. It means being clear on how you can add value to an organization that would be lucky to land you. It does mean having a finely honed elevator speech that sounds sincere, passionate and natural.
It pays to be "on" because you never know who is in the audience.
The 2012 Presidential elections are now over. After a record estimated 6 billion dollars and a hugely divided electorate, President Barack Obama was re-elected rather resoundingly for a second four year term.
In many ways this was not the highpoint in American campaigning with boldly inaccurate campaign ads, personal attacks and accusations of not being American or patriotic enough.
But it's all over. So now what? Presuming you are not one of those people who threatened to move to Canada if your candidate lost, what will you do differently? How will the results affect you as an individual and a laboratorian?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or so called Obamacare will most likely not be repealed (at least in this term) and the projected roll-out will occur as planned. Most are not familiar with the contents of the huge (2409 pages) bill and its staggered timeline.
Labs have an opportunity to maximize the advantages by preparing for the influx of new patients who will be newly insured under PPACA. Staffing models will have to be different to meet increasing demands for testing as well as providing results in a more understandable, useful format.
There is still a huge question as to whether CMS and other agencies will institute onerous, time consuming or expensive mandates for laboratories to meet as a condition of payment or accreditation.
Time will not stand still. The population will continue to get older, meaning both more patients requiring lab tests and a dwindling laboratory workforce due to retirement of older laboratorians.
These are eventualities we should have been planning for anyway. The bottom line is that whoever is in the White House our daily lives should be focused on service and leading our best lives rather than being tossed around by the vagaries of politics.
About a year ago I met a very engaging and outgoing young woman. She is a successful business leader and a Harvard graduate. There is not much exceptional about this, perhaps, except she is from a rural village in Jamaica and is the first in her family of nine siblings to graduate high school.
I was fascinated by her MBA from Harvard but could not find a politically correct opening to enquire further. She must have been used to the curiosity or been asked that question many times because she volunteered the question and provided the answer, almost rhetorically. "How did a poor black girl from a rural parish in Jamaica end up at Harvard? Well, I just asked!"
Is that it? She explained that she had received good grades so she applied to colleges in Jamaica, the USA and Canada. With the US and Canadian applications she included an essay explaining her determination to succeed and detailing the struggles of even completing high school despite family history, poverty, lack of creature comforts at home and the daily obligations of co-parenting her younger siblings. Harvard was impressed with her work ethic and her test scores, and saw her as an asset to its goal of creating classes of students combining smarts and rich, diverse life experiences.
I was deeply impressed with her and came away from the experience with her lesson deeply etched in my brain, "If you want something, just ask." How many times have we as professionals whined and whispered and sulked, but never asked for what we wanted? We want others to be sympathetic and proactive mind readers. We often expect benevolence to just fall on us.
Think about your relationships with colleagues or your boss. Consider what you want from other members of the healthcare team. Do you ever see yourself pursuing a nontraditional career path? What is holding you back from talking that class or pursuing that degree or professional certification? Is there a void in your organization that you think you could fill, only if given the opportunity?
Note, by asking, I do not mean passively and timidly posing a question and nervously waiting for an answer. To me, "ask" is much more active, intentional and determined. I am also not suggesting that you ask for something without being qualified or prepared to succeed at it. Against that background why not ask for what you want?
If you never ask, you might never receive. However, if you do ask, you just might be pleasantly surprised.
It's Fall and even here in the deep south the leaves are starting to change. As I write this I look out the window from my study and my backyard is a riot of beautiful colors: fiery red, rust, golden orange and many variations of colors.
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year; it's cool and it reminds me of change and the renewal of life. I have noticed in my own life that several life changes have occurred in Fall as well. So let's just say I am a Fall fan.
Years ago, I stopped making New Year's Resolutions because it felt so forced and contrived to me. I also realized that despite the intense pressure to conform, many resolutions were discarded by March or April of the same year. Instead I have adapted the practice of making "resolutions" at other times of the year: whenever circumstances that a new commitment is needed.
Fall is as good a time as any to make resolutions. I suggest looking at whatever does not serve you well in your personal and professional life. Taking a cue from nature why not shed the old and get ready for the new?
Is your challenge and attitude? A habit? How about a job? This is the time to commit to deliberately pursuing what brings you more enjoyment and promise of success. Pursue your passion, register for that class, spruce up your resume, have that crucial conversation. Maybe clean out that junk room or cluttered desk drawer, even.
I highly recommend that you make your own customized Fall resolutions and share them with us here. Someone else might find them useful and inspirational.
To put it mildly it's been a very stressful month. My older brother died suddenly, one friend lost his job and another was informed rather unceremoniously her marriage was over.
I have had to be brother, friend, psychologist and guru all while dealing with my own grief. All this made me think once again about change and how to cope when "stuff happens."
The one thing that I have proven time and again is that it's not what happens so much as how you react to the change. The outcome is not a set, logical, rigid, deterministic end. Think for a moment at how a crowd reacts to a traffic accident; you see everything from shock and horror to curiosity and even annoyance that traffic is being held up.
Jack Canfield, in his book "Success Principles", uses the catchy formula E+R=O, meaning that the Event + your Response equals the Outcome. The way to apply this formula successfully is to make a distinction between the things you can control and those you cannot. For example when some reorganization occurs at work, you might be able to frame the outcome somewhat if there is some flexibility. You might even be able to come up with more palatable alternatives that management had not thought about.
The reality is often less flexible, however. In that sort of scenario the most futile use of energy is to dwell on what was how things should be or the inequity of the situation. Tome is best spent figuring out how to survive and thrive in the new situation. Or how to walk away with as little damage as possible.
Attitude is the key and I have discovered that one can actually decide not just what to do, but how to feel. One can make the pledge to survive no matter what.
The next thing that was proven to me this month is that it is not just OK, but recommended to seek help if needed. Whether it is learning how to cope, to process feelings, advice on rewriting a resume or networking; it is sound strategy to draw on all available resources to help you over that hump.
In life, as in a career, change happens. But at the end of the day is not about "the thing" as much as it's about how you react.
I recently learned that the merger talks between two laboratory organizations ASCLS and CLMA have broken down. Now it might surprise you that as a long time, avid advocate of professional unification, I was not really devastated by this news.
Here's some background. ASCLS, an organization to which I have belonged since the eighties (1980's in case anyone is wondering) when they were the American Society for Medical Technology (ASMT). I am deeply impressed with their history and proactive stance over the years. ASCLS, by whatever name, has always cooperated with any organization or industry partner that advocates for the profession. The joint national meeting with AACC and joint local meetings with various organizations are the most obvious examples. These are laudable and successful collaborations to be sure.
In my biased opinion ASCLS is the preeminent organization for medical laboratorians in a number of ways
-It is an organization of non-physician laboratorians for laboratorians (by the people for the people). ASCLS members are not affiliate or associate members of a physician organization.
-It has a focused membership. It is for laboratorians and does not have co-equal medical assistant or dental assistant members, for example.
-It is a generalist organization so it welcomes scientists regardless of specialization or level of practice
- It is solely a membership organization. I firmly believe that certification and membership functions should be separated. Doing both certainly generates more revenue but can also be a conflict of interest in my opinion..
-ASCLS was in the forefront of defining a clear scope of practice, levels of practice and advocating for continuing education as a requirement for continued certification.
I mention all of this to explain why I am pro-ASCLS and believe firmly in its basic tenets. I am all in favor of joint efforts up to and including unification of our splintered professional organizations. Unity is strength. Unification makes the joint organization more viable; at the same time that it shows a credible, unified face to the public and legislators. When as a profession we want to address an issue, who speaks for the organization? When the issue of personnel licensure comes up, for example, the dissenting voices are often all treated equally so legislators simply back off and fail to act.
My hesitation regarding the unification of ASCLS and CLMA is that the talks may have been conducted in a way that suggests "my way or the highway." When an organization requests unification talks ( as CLMA did) it's a clear sign that the "requesting organization" sees very definite advantages for itself and feels in a way it has more to gain from the union.
Given that need to strengthen your organizational future by addressing areas of weakness, talks cannot be approached in an aggressive manner or with the intent of total takeover. I often hear from many clinical laboratorians who are still mourning the dissolution of NCA into ASCP. In the ASCP Board of Certification they see no remnants of NCA in terms of nomenclature, philosophy or governance.
It seems to them more like a hostile takeover by ASCP. That is not good. I am simply repeating what many readers have expressed to me.
I think ASCLS has a clear vision, voice and value system. While there will have to be give and take in any unification (or cooperative) effort, those core values should never be compromised. Ever. So am I sad that the talks broke down given the demands I heard were being made? I am far from being disappointed. Honestly, I am a little relieved.
I met Jason at a local volunteer event. While we waited for the official set-up we exchanged pleasantries. At 19 years old, Jason is in his second year of college studying pre-pharmacy. When I suggested that pharmacy is a growing field with expanding scope of practice and great growth opportunity, Jason said almost dejectedly, "That's what everyone says."
We performed our civic duty and broke for lunch as Jason found his way to me again. He told me that in high school he was very good at science and math. He enjoyed experimentation and knew he wanted a career in science. Even though he also enjoyed tinkering with electronics, he felt unfulfilled because it was not biological in nature.
I found out that his guidance counselor had steered him towards studying pharmacy largely because of the money to be made. To his credit, he wanted more from a career. During career day at his high school he recalled hearing from a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, engineer, computer scientist and psychologist.
When he thought about pharmacy he felt no passion. He knew he wanted to "discover evidence" and so briefly considered becoming a forensic scientist or "a researcher of some sort", but he knew he also wanted to have his findings used in a more immediate way to make a difference right away.
I told him about medical laboratory science and his e yes lit up. "I thought lab technicians were trained on the job to help doctors, and not very well paid. You mean I can get a college degree, test human specimens and have the results used to make diagnosis?"
Over the next couple of weeks we talked by phone several times and this young man has decided on his own to change his major to medical laboratory science. "This is something I could be passionate about and really get into," he said. "I even like that name; I could tell everyone I am a medical scientist!."
I couldn't explain to him, why this professional option is such a well-kept secret. Why wasn't an MLS on the list of speakers at his high school? How come no one he encountered ever suggested the option of studying MLS? Where did he ever get the idea that clinical laboratorians are merely OJT hand-maidens and man-servants of physicians?
If we are to backfill the coming vacancies in medical lab science we have to start educating high school counselors and speaking to students from the elementary level about the work we do and the education required. I have heard too many stories of individuals who stumbled into the profession through a casual, incidental conversation.
We have to deliberately raise bright new laboratorians to carry on the torch as we retire and become (e-gads!) patients in need of care ourselves.
One of the most frustrating issues for clinical laboratorians is that clinicians continue to misuse laboratory testing. Laboratory utilization is a hot potato because of increased concerns with cost (to the laboratory and payer), extended length of stay abnormal test gets worked up) and patient concerns (Am I sick? What does this mean?). As far as patients are concerned there are also the issues of phlebotomy-induced anemia, discomfort from multiple sticks and the risks (though minimal) from repeated phlebotomy.
Many laboratories have decided to undertake Laboratory Utilization initiatives from a financial, patient safety and performance improvement perspective. Appropriate utilization of tests benefits everyone. So why aren't physicians onboard?
Recently, at its annual meeting in Los Angeles, AACC conducted a survey on key questions as to what factors impact laboratory utilization. The AACC publication Clinical Laboratory News (CLN) posed the same questions as part of a survey conducted from July to August of this year.
The factors were ranked as Highly important, somewhat important, neutral or not important. For the purposes of his blog, I will combine the Highly Important and Somewhat Important scores for each. That is "Is this factor important in causing doctors to utilize lab tests incorrectly or over utilize tests. Four top factors got my attention.
So, to generalize, it seems the basic reason is ignorance: not having the right information about what the various tests mean and how they should be utilized.
This brings up the need for clinical laboratorians to take more of a lead in terms of education, interpretive reports, developing reflex testing when appropriate, testing algorithms, and limiting tests when not indicated.
Physicians need help so we need to offer that help rather than simply say, "As the doctor, he/she should know better." They don't, so what are we doing about it?
A few days ago a young laboratorian acquaintance proudly announced on Facebook that she had passed her comprehensive MLS finals. She was so relieved and excited. She thanked all who helped her, influenced her and encouraged her.
Since she felt I played some part in her success she mentioned me and also sent me a private message of thanks. I encouraged her to keep her enthusiasm and belief that she could in fact make a difference.
Her concern was whether she would live up to the great expectations and responsibilities about to be thrust on her. Again I tried to ally her concern as a natural doubt that assails every new professional "turned loose" for the first time. Sure there is lots of learn. But she knows much more than she thinks she knows. There will be support and resources available so she will in fact not be alone. I wrote about this in a recent article for ADVANCE.
Her reaction took me back to my own fledgling years as a "baby MLS." I had the same feelings of excitement tinged with trepidation. I could could not help but contrast her bushy-eyed enthusiasm with much of the malaise that assails our profession. Where along the line did we (the Royal we, I am talking about here) lose our enthusiasm and pride? When did we replace the ardor for service with pessimism and feelings of inadequacy?
On those days that we think we don't get paid enough; or receive respect or recognition, stop for just a minute and recall why we chose this wonderful, valuable, critically important profession of service in the first place. Even if you are so burnt out that you can't think that far back or cannot dredge up that fire, at least support our new graduates and encourage them that they made the right choice of profession. Tell them that they can make a difference; the torch is in their hands.
And, one last thing. However justified you feel, please, please, don't put out the fire even as it's being ignited. Don't rob them of their dreams.
Did you know that women are more intelligent than men? OK, so the claim is a little controversial and needs some explanation.
Several recent studies have claimed that women now tend to have higher intelligence quotient (IQ) than men. It seems that for the first time women are scoring higher than men on traditional IQ tests.
For many years intelligence tests have been used as a benchmark of how individuals reason, learn, assimilate data and make decisions. IQ has been used to predict things like scholastic performance
Experts always point out that IQ tests do not necessarily indicate who is closest to being a genius. Even the term "intelligence" is difficult to define, but it does say something about the ability to learn, reason and adapt.
For the first time in history, more than 50 percent of college graduates are women; and they also tend to have more advanced degrees. In addition more women than men are successfully juggling the responsibilities of full time job and family.
Casual observation shows that women tend to be able to color outside the lines, to multitask and to adapt. These qualities are not unique to women, certainly, but they tend to be more obvious, accepted and acceptable in women. Coincidentally, aren't these same qualities necessary for success in our personal and professional lives?
These studies make for interesting reading and conjecture, but the bigger take-away is that while some survival skills come easier to some than others, those skills can certainly be learned by anyone.
It's election season and every time I log on to Facebook I am inundated with messages, notifications and newsfeeds (what's the difference between those last two, by the way?) about the elections and the presidential candidates. Some postings are benign but many are pretty inflammatory and a few border on having no basis in reality.
Some are personal expressions, but many are cut- and- paste or links to sites with a distinct point of view. As is to be expected, most of the posts are not critical debates on issues, but charges and countercharges against the opposing "team." I use the word team deliberately because it is similar to sports fans who want victory at any cost-even if only on a technicality.
Since I have an interest in the "science" of decision making, I have been thinking about the "how" and "why" of this phenomenon quite a bit. Most people fall into a decision making trap called confirmation bias in which individuals tend to favor information (even misinformation) that supports their beliefs or hypothesis. This is also called a "confirmation trap" because it is so easy to fall into and can be very difficult to extricate oneself from. Even when confronted, individuals will often deny they have fallen into a trap by simply pointing to even more "evidence" that affirms their opinion, rather than critically examining facts to the contrary.
Oddly, as scientists, we are no less prone to being victims of decision making biases including the confirmation trap.
We all know about the lazy nightshift that Gloria in Hematology is incompetent and Charles will always make up an excuse not to work on the weekend. We can probably recite many examples to "prove" our point while ignoring information to the contrary. It might go as far as finding ample proof that people of a certain age group or race or ethnic group are not a good fit for our lab so they are rarely given a fair shot during an interview. The few that slip through the hiring process are heavily scrutinized and never given the benefit of an objective review.
How can you avoid or reduce confirmation bias? The principle is simple, but the practice is not. The first step is admitting that we are all prone to this sort of fallacious reasoning.
Faced with a "fact" consider the opposite for just a second. Deliberately seek out an opposite view from a colleague whom you know will not agree with you. Ask questions like "What could I have done differently?" rather than "How did I do?" The latter tends to elicit universal agreement, while the former does not.
Try putting yourself in someone else's shoes and consider if you could even conceive of ever thinking or acting the way they do. If it's possible, then maybe you just have a difference of opinion. You do not have to be totally right or wrong. Is the "truth" somewhere in between-or even based on situation and perspective?
As a scientist and manager always concentrate on facts over personality (the act over the actor). Would an act or opinion be viewed the same way if it was attached to someone you felt differently about? Consider: might there a faulty process that has contributed to the adverse result versus is the person "just as bad as I always thought."
The 2012 Summer Olympics in London just ended. I joined billions of people around the globe to watch sports from track and field to BMX racing and many in between.
Not surprisingly, there were the stars and record breakers. US swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian ever with an unprecedented 19 medals earned over his Olympic career.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt clinched the evasive so called "double-triple" by winning three sprint races at two consecutive Olympics
The world was in awe. But not everyone was happy about the feats of these and other phenomenal athletes. Former athlete Carl Lewis went to great pains to suggest that Bolt might be drug-enhanced, so to speak. He was not too enthused at Bolt breaking Lewis' own record.
Even the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge chimed in to suggest it might be premature to put Bolt on a pedestal.
Gymnast Gabby Douglas surmounted personal and professional odds to represent the US and come away with two record-setting gold medals. Yet this 16 year old was not just lauded but also engendered a social media war about (of all things) how she wore her hair!
Often missed, or only slightly touched on by the press, were real evidence of the Olympic spirit at play. One such was double amputee Oscar Pistorius of South Africa who made history by using his prosthetic legs to compete against the world's best able bodied runners. Several Arab countries had female athletes represented for the first time. There were several incidences of athletes helping each other and socializing despite traditional enmity between their countries.
The reaction of the naysayers reminds me of what happens in many of our organizations. Often, there are only a very few recognized stars despite the hard work of many who work diligently and professionally every day. The stars are seen as exceptional, while others are hardly more than drones.Then there is the need some feel to always take others down a notch rather than celebrating their successes.
Sometimes in criticizing others, the impression is given that the entire laboratory department is incompetent-or the speaker is the only one who is capable. What message does this send to others on the healthcare team? How does this advance the interests of the medical laboratory science profession?
How much does your organization recognize the quiet heroes? Have you thought about pointing out achievements even when they rival yours; or when they threaten to "dethrone" you?
The Olympic spirit is ideally about individuals from various backgrounds working together, contributing their various strengths, recognizing successes and minimizing differences. Just about every lab I know could do some work towards adopting that sort of spirit in the workplace. Think about it.