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The MT/CLS = MLS Equation

Published 23 October 09 02:38 PM
We're working on new products to reflect changes in the clinical laboratory profession.

Today's the day in the clinical laboratory profession. The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA) will complete their merger, and the new ASCP Board of Certification will be formed.

With the merge comes a new title for clinical laboratory scientists and medical technologists. They'll be called medical laboratory scientists. I explained the switch to a colleague here, and she produced a beautiful equation to illustrate what was happening in the clinical laboratory profession. It gets a bit more confusing when you factor in that two other certification bodies still exist, and the executive director of the American Medical Technologists (AMT) wrote a letter to the editor of ADVANCE for Medical Laboratory Professionals saying that AMT plans to continue using the term "medical technologists," at least until the industry recognizes the change to medical laboratory scientists.

At the ADVANCE Healthcare Shop, we're marking down our lab merchandise (some up to 86% off). That's exciting for those of you who'd like to gobble some up, but the best part is that we're making way for new designs with the medical laboratory scientists designation to reflect the changes happening in the field.

On the ADVANCE for Medical Laboratory Professionals Facebook page, the merge received a lukewarm reception, and one commenter called it "pretty lame." Others, however, felt that using the term "scientist" would add value to the profession and like the medical laboratory scientist title.

"Let me preface with the fact that I started out as a CLS with NCA, and I can tell you ... that when I tell people I'm a Clinical Lab Scientist most people understand what I do. However, when I tell people I'm a medical technologist they say ‘oh you drive an ambulance.' I can personally tell you people will definitely know what you do when you tell them you're a scientist. As for the beakers and such I'm sure you remember using those items when you started. Give yourself credit where credit is due, you are a scientist and should be proud of it!!" wrote one commenter, a fan of the new designation.

Another commenter, however, declared, "I refuse to utilize MLS as a credential. It demeans my role in the lab and was designed to do just that!"

Eek. From this (very, very small) sample, it seems lab professionals are torn over the changes in the industry. What do you think? If you're a lab professional, will you embrace the new title? Do you think the industry will accept the new title? Share your thoughts below.

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About Lynn Jusinski

After an internship at a home magazine where she wrote about media rooms and $500,000 pool renovations from the comfort of a teeny, cluttered dorm room, Lynn Jusinski graduated from a small college in Pennsylvania and then moved on to write for two weekly newspapers in suburban Philadelphia. A column she penned for the papers won an award from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. In 2007, Lynn moved back to the magazine world, and worked full-time as an associate editor for ADVANCE for Health Information Professionals. Her work on the magazine led to “Rookie of the Year” honors and a second place feature award in the annual Editorial Excellence Awards presented by Merion Publications Inc. In her free time, Lynn is typically stuck in traffic, shopping, reading, constructing poorly made crafts and hanging out in and around her hometown.
You can reach Lynn at

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    Occupation: Media, Marketing and Merchandising
    Setting: King of Prussia, PA
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