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  • Why Culture?

    Microbiology techs are like detectives where the motive for a crime remains a mystery. Identifying the weapon requires expertise. Staphylococcus epidermidis, for example, is normal skin flora in a surface wound and a contaminant in many others. If a specimen isn’t collected using rigorous technique, it’s difficult to know what is a real ...
    Posted to Stepwise Success (Weblog) on December 24, 2013
  • Here's Another Opportunity to Help Physicians and Patients

    In a recent article, Dr. Diane Shannon talked very poignantly of the reason she left the practice of medicine. Shannon said she was burnt out and wanted to be another addition to the statistic that suicide is higher among female physicians than among females in the general population. That sounds like hyperbole until you hear how much this ...
  • Use the Gram Stain

    In microbiology we learn to use the Gram stain results of a direct smear to check specimen quality (usually by a count of squamous epithelial cells) and any predominating organisms (e.g. lancet shaped Gram positive cocci on a sputum) that suggest what to work up. All good micro techs use the Gram stain. Intracellular organisms are an immediate ...
    Posted to Stepwise Success (Weblog) on May 24, 2013
  • Improve Your Criteria

    An acronym pulled from the alphabet soup is CQI, or Continuous Quality Improvement. Managers and quality improvement people use this to show that everything can be improved, even processes that work. Continuously trying to improve quality generates incremental improvements; rather than completely redesigning a process, it is changed in response ...
    Posted to Stepwise Success (Weblog) on April 17, 2013
  • Explaining Errors

    Nurses are often go-betweens for doctors and lab techs, speaking for either. For the laboratory, it usually doesn’t matter if the nurse represents the doctor (“He wants a STAT potassium on the patient in 12”), but is the reverse true? Recently, for example, a physician ordered a direct bilirubin that our chemistry analyzer reported with a ...
    Posted to Stepwise Success (Weblog) on July 16, 2012
  • No Diabetes Educator Role for Laboratorians

    A certified diabetes educator (CDE) is a professional who is board certified to deliver education about diabetes-to the public, and especially to diabetics and their family. A CDE is supposed to be an expert on the basics of diabetes as well  as the latest trends in treatment and the most recent protocols from organizations like the American ...
  • Teachable Moments

    Much was made of the President's ''beer summit'' last July, a meeting between a black professor and the white policeman who arrested him, something the Wall Street Journal labeled a ''teachable moment.'' Aside from wondering what kind of beer goes best with conflict resolution, I'd never heard the term. A teachable moment is that rare and ...
    Posted to Stepwise Success (Weblog) on October 14, 2009
  • Offshore Clinical Lab Tests

    Remember when outsourcing did not apply to healthcare? Businesses developed the concept of contracting or otherwise arranging for some services to be performed outside the main business if it made financial sense. Outsourcing is utilizing experts from outside the entity to perform specific tasks the entity once performed itself, if those ...