Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Editor's Note: This guest post is written by Stephanie Noblit, MLS(ASCP)CM, who blogs for our sister publication ADVANCE for Laboratory.
Earlier this May, at ASCLS-Pennsylvania's state meeting, I attended an educational session entitled, "When Professionals Meet: Bridging the Gap between the Laboratory and Nursing." Like most medical laboratory professionals, my opinion of nurses isn't exactly a positive one. So, I was intrigued to hear what the speaker had to say. The presenter was Lucinda Manning, who works in the immunohematogy reference laboratory at ARUP laboratories. Interestingly, Manning is certified as both an MLS and an RN. Unlike us lab techs hidden away in the basement or the nurses up on the floors, Manning has experienced both sides. Seeing her credentials, I figured that this woman may have the answer to the age old question on why lab professionals and nurses just can't get along.
The humor website Uncyclopedia's page on medical laboratory scientists, describes nurses as, "the med tech's arch nemesis and rival." Although you may wholeheartedly agree with that statement when you are being yelled at by a nurse over the phone, it is statements like these that only further create a divide between the two professions. Manning told us to think of a hospital like a wheel with each spoke being a different category of hospital personnel. Then she told us to imagine how the wheel would work if you took one of the spokes away. It was easy for us to imagine how taking away the lab would affect the hospital: no lab, no results. We soon realized, however, that every other personnel area was equally as important as the lab.
The thing Manning stressed in her presentation was that nurses and lab professionals are very different, but we both have a major thing in common and that is our concern for our patients. Often times, we accuse one other of not caring for the patient, but it is not that either side neglects the wellbeing of the patient; we just show we care in different ways. For example, a lab person will not report out a result until they are confident their instrument is working properly through the use of QC. On the flip side, a nurse wants to quickly determine a care plan for their patient so they can get them on the road to recovery. Our intentions are the same, but the different styles of thinking between nurses and the lab causes things to become lost in translation.
Recently, an article entitled, "13 Things this Lab Scientist Wishes Every Nurse Knew," went viral among lab professionals. While every bullet point in the article has crossed my mind numerous times, the truth is that I have the upmost respect for nurses. I know that they are up there on the front lines dealing with patients every day, and I know I could never do what they do. The bottom line is everyone's main concern is the patient, and the only way our patients can receive the best care is if we all work together and respect each other.