At PathSUPPLY, our tagline is “helping those who help patients.” But it’s more than just a phrase. Helping those who help patients is our core value.
Behind almost every medical test or diagnosis is a team of medical lab professionals… people who fit the description in our core value. People who go on about their day largely unseen by the very people they are committed to helping… the patients.
April 21 through 27, 2019, we’ll celebrate the 44th annual Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW).
Clinical lab organizations have collaborated to hold MLPW the last week of April every year since its inception in 1975. It was originally National Medical Laboratory Week, later expanded to include reference to the professionals it was meant to recognize… National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week… and finally changed to the MLPW that it is today.
MLPW is a yearly opportunity to raise awareness, appreciation, and excitement for the medical lab professionals that we all count on every day.
Medical Lab Professionals
So, just who are these professionals we are so excited to celebrate?
Laboratory professionals include a wide range of skilled and invaluable personnel. Some of the roles that fall into the lab professional category are:
- medical lab scientists
- medical lab technicians and assistants
- pathologists and pathologists’ assistants
- histotechnologists and histotechnicians
What Do Medical Lab Professionals Do?
The work of the lab professional is critical in diagnosing illness and disease, as well as in providing data that can be used to prevent health problems before they get out of hand.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are around 11 billion laboratory tests done in the US every year. About 70 percent of medical decisions are made based on the results of those tests. Suffice it to say, the progress of modern medicine wouldn’t be what it is if not for the help of our medical laboratories and the professionals that fuel and make them run.
What Qualities Does a Medical Laboratory Professional Have?
A lab professional does have certain qualities. Among them are:
Accuracy – diagnostic errors can result in negative consequences for the patient. Medical lab professionals understand this and work to ensure that their results are accurate.
Safety – safety in the lab is always a top priority. It’s vital that lab professionals remain vigilant about the safety and wellness of themselves and everyone in the lab.
Preparedness – during times of increased public health concerns such as flu season or when other disease outbreaks occur, medical lab professionals are prepared and ready to take on the challenge.
Data science and analytical skills – the lab professional’s role goes beyond microscopes and test tubes. They also manage the data resulting from their work. With the fast pace at which information technology advances, there’s a lot to keep up with.
What Role Does the Medical Lab Professional Play in Patient Care?
The lab professional fits into the picture in a few ways. Their help may be needed during:
Diagnosis – from the phlebotomist who draws the blood to the cytotechnologist and medical lab technicians who analyze the samples, medical lab professionals are there to provide accurate results to health care providers.
Treatment – disease treatment isn’t usually a one and done thing. The patient’s health is monitored throughout. Providers need to know if a treatment is working and if it’s having any adverse effects. They need to know how much to use. All of this depends on getting accurate results… on testing blood or tissue samples.
Prevention – routine blood work that checks things like vitamin levels and cholesterol can alert healthcare providers to potential risks. This important information can help prevent, stop, or reverse potential diseases before they reach a critical level.
Helping Those Who Help Patients
These are just some of the reasons we at PathSUPPLY choose to help those who help patients. Please join us in spreading the word this Medical Lab Professionals Week.
Calling All Histologists!
The National Society for Histotechnology (NSH) is holding a contest and they’re looking for your stories. Entries for the “How I Got Into Histology” contest are due by April 19. Check out the details here… and let us know when you submit yours so we can read your story!