Keeping Benchwork Exciting
The other day after I explained a change in microbiology an employee told me, “That’s three times you’ve used the word ‘exciting.’ That’s not a word I would use.” This was said in good humor, but the point is valid. Slogging out results day in and day out, thousands a year, can be tedious. How do we keep benchwork exciting?
While the question is closely related to motivation, camaraderie, culture, and other workplace conditions, it’s much simpler. It boils down to what keeps the hands on work of producing lab results exciting. A love of medical technology seems like a prerequisite to me.
Other than loving technology, it’s difficult to speculate why someone would find labwork exciting after years of doing it. And in fact many don’t. Techs get burnt out,exhausted, fed up, and ultimately disillusioned enough to quit the profession. But I’ve stuck with it for many years and like my colleagues still find a lot to be excited about.
Here are a few ideas to keep benchwork exciting:
- Read. Textbooks, trade magazines, websites, and resources like UpToDate are good sources of continuing education. The more you know about the technology and how it’s applied, the better.
- Get involved. Other professions are a good source of interest. It’s helpful, for example, to audit nursing when they administer blood to learn the care side of transfusion medicine. This kind of information can help improve your processes and improve patient care.
- Look beyond. I’ll admit, it can be tedious to churn out CBCs all day, but you can always look beyond a single result. Values and smear reviews can be correlated with information from other departments or a diagnosis. You can always dig a little deeper to find out more.
But that’s just me. I lean towards a curiosity and desire to improve things. I can easily imagine other factors: helping colleagues, personal productivity, multitasking. I know a tech who whistles while she multitasks, happiest when she has three or four tests cooking at once. Is that exciting? Perhaps.
How about you? What keeps your benchwork exciting?
NEXT: Why Fasting?