Those of us in the laboratory profession know our scene all too well. Closed off from much of the world, listening to the hum of our instruments and running analysis after analysis, and loving every minute of it! I feel comfortable in this environment and even thrive in it, as many other that share my profession. However, are we getting the most out of our profession and our role in the healthcare team being closed off from so many other healthcare workers?
This is a concern I have as a Medical Laboratory Scientist, as well as an Educator to future Medical Laboratory Scientists. I want my students to know how they fit into the healthcare team. I not only want them to see how important their own role is to patient care, but what other healthcare professionals are doing to care for the patient. Often times many professionals outside the laboratory are awaiting the results of laboratory analyses to provide their specific care to the patient. I also want my students to see how what they do as a professional can have an impact on the decisions another professionals make for a patient.
I recently gave a Hematology lecture to a paramedic class. It was amazing to see another perspective of healthcare. I learned as much from these students and preparing the lecture for them as they learned from me. They let me take them on a journey inside the blood and I learned about patient assessment. Often times in the laboratory we graze over patient symptoms, when in other healthcare professions this is the most important tool to deciding how to treat a patient and deciding which lab tests to order.
As an educator I found this experience enlightening. I want to expose my students to other healthcare professionals. I want them to see how important the healthcare "team" is to patient care. I know that in practice they will not get much exposure to other professionals outside the laboratory, so I feel very strongly about giving them these experiences now. It also leads me to wonder if the laboratory profession should be more exposed. We have so much to offer. I feel there is confusion about what happens in the laboratory, from what test to order, how the test is run, how the specimen is collected, etc. If we move to a more consulting role and claim a more active role in the healthcare team, I feel there could be benefits for everyone.