ASCLS Today

ASCLSToday Masthead 680

Volume 31, Number 2

Moving ASCLS Forward – Our Unique Critical Objective

Suzanne Campbell, PhD

Suzanne Campbell, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM
ASCLS President

During the ASCLS Board of Director’s Long Range Planning Day in March 2016, a unique critical objective for the organization was developed.  As the foundation of our new strategic map, ASCLS will “actively engage and prepare medical laboratory professionals to meet the demands of the evolving healthcare environment.” 

When I began my professional career as a medical laboratory scientist 30 years ago, HIV was the new infective agent. Some of my colleagues left the profession for fear of contracting the virus. We donned our personal protective equipment (PPE) only when there was a blood-borne pathogens orange sticker placed on the patient specimens. Some of my colleagues mouth pipetted. We performed many manual procedures and standard curves and used biochemical tests in individual test tubes for bacterial identification. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) was performed by the Kirby-Bauer method. Levey-Jennings charts were completed by hand. Who knew what changes our laboratory environment would experience in three decades?  Now, no specimen is handled without the appropriate PPE. Treatment regimens for HIV and hepatitis are controlling and even eradicating the viruses. Standard curves and quality control charts are now computerized. Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) provides microorganism identification. Microbiology automated systems provide a multi-drug AST report. What new technologies will we see in the next 30 years?

While it is difficult to peer into the crystal ball to forecast aspects of our changing healthcare environment, one thing is evident - our profession will continue to change due to the incorporation of new technology and external challenges. It is vital that we are knowledgeable of these technologies and challenges as well as being an active member of our organization. By being a member of ASCLS, technical education and awareness of the external challenges are provided to you via the organization website, web-conferencing, social media and member email blasts. 

As medical laboratory professionals, not all of us are employed in a licensure state that requires continuing education. However, one aspect of being a professional is to remain knowledgeable and skilled in new technologies. Do you complete continuing education in your technical area of expertise? Are you aware of and incorporate the patient safety competencies as outlined by the Institute of Medicine? Do you maintain your certification maintenance even though you aren’t required to do so? We must be life-long learners and while doing so we must be agile enough to meet the needs of the changing healthcare environment. 

One of the most visible external challenges has been the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid System (CMS) ruling that indicates a degree in nursing is equivalent to a degree in biological science; thus enabling a registered nurse to perform moderate and high complexity testing as well as to act as a director of a CLIA moderate complexity laboratory without any additional training. Did you communicate to your congressional spokesperson by voicing opposition to this ruling? Did you sign the petition asking CMS to rescind this decision?  Did you share the social media posts or forward the email to your MLS co-workers and other members of the healthcare team? If we don’t take action in educating others about our profession and our role in providing quality patient care, who will? We have a collective responsibility to be an active member of our profession and our professional organization. 

In his book, Leading with the Heart, Duke University men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski describes his concept of the members of his team like the fingers of a hand.1 As a leader, his goal is to, “create a dominant team where all five fingers fit together into a powerful fist.” The analogy of the fist identifies five fingers (qualities) of a great team. Those qualities are: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride. Communication is key to educating the general public and members of the healthcare team about who we are and what we do. Do you take every opportunity to explain that we are not nurses? Do you share with others the amount of formal education that is required to be a laboratory professional? Do you explain to your friends and family members that we save lives daily? Do you encourage your co-workers to become members of ASCLS so one united voice is heard? ASLCS is One Voice, One Vision.

Trust among the members of the team is vital to the success of the team. Members of the ASCLS team trust that appointed and elected officials will support the vision and mission of the organization. Those same officials trust that all members will become actively engaged in the organization. The level of member participation will vary but involvement at the state, regional or national level is necessary for a grassroots organization. The trust that members will advocate on behalf of issues surrounding our profession is ever present.

As medical laboratory professionals, we have a collective responsibility to promote our profession, to demonstrate professionalism by becoming a member of our peer professional organization – ASCLS, and to ensure quality patient care. Do you promote medical laboratory science at civic organization presentations? Do you describe your profession at your local school career day? Do you offer tours of the laboratory to your healthcare team members? These are just a few activities to promote our profession.  Are you involved at the state, regional or national level on a committee or task force? Do you share the excitement of what you do as an active member of ASCLS?  

When discussing the benefits of belonging to ASCLS, the concept of being a professional family is at the forefront. We truly care for each other. How many of you get excited about seeing your professional family at state, regional and the national meetings? How many of your social media contacts are members of your professional family? The majority of my Facebook friends are professional colleagues. I send them birthday greetings, say a prayer for them when they lose a loved one, and celebrate with them when they get married, welcome a new baby, and note an anniversary. How many other professional organizations can boast that level of caring among its members? 

The last finger of the fist is pride. We demonstrate pride in our work as laboratory professionals every day and for every patient we serve. Ensure that you are committed to the highest quality of work and be proud of your knowledge and skills. Be proud of how hard you worked to earn your degree. Be proud of your volunteer role as a member of ASCLS.   

I encourage you to be an actively engaged medical laboratory professional and to be a vital member of the fist as we move ASCLS forward to One Voice, One Vision. 

Reference

1. Krzyzewski, M. (2000). Leading with the heart. Grand Central Publishing: New York.

Meet the Candidates 2017

The ASCLS Nominations Committee is pleased to present the following candidates for office in the 2017-2018 Society year. Candidates selected by the House of Delegates will take office at the 2017 ASCLS Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Roslyn McQueen
Member Since 1971
 

Education

B.S. Biological Science, Michigan State University
M.A. Healthcare Administration, Central Michigan University
Ph.D Pathology, Michigan State University

Certification

MT(ASCP); SH(ASCP); CCRC

Employment

Certified Clinical Research Coordinator, Hurley Medical Center, Flint, MI

Society Participation

STATE
2002-2003—President, ASCLS Michigan
2012-present—Bylaws Chair, ASCLS Michigan
2014—Program Chair, ASCLS-MI Spring Meeting
2012-2015—Director, ASCLS-MI, District 9, District 2
 
REGIONAL and NATIONAL
2012-present—Director, Region IV
2006-2012—Member, Vice-Chair, Chair, ASCLS Bylaws Committee
2014-2015 and 2016-2017—Member, Executive Committee

Statement of Philosophy

I am honored to be considered a candidate for ASCLS President-Elect. For over 40 years, I have served my profession with continuous ASCLS membership and participation.  I have been actively involved in ASCLS at the local, state, regional and national levels. These positions of service and leadership have provided in-depth knowledge about the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats to our organization.  
 
I have been effective as a leader by being attuned to the needs of the members of the organization, knowledgeable about our governing documents and focused on developing a shared vision with committees, board members, the executive VP and ASCLS staff. By working with the constituent societies, I have developed an understanding of the issues challenging the profession. My primary goal will be directed to enhancing, revitalizing and empowering our membership. The emphasis will be directed on mentorship, collaboration and advancements among all laboratory professionals.  
 
As a servant leader, I have established successful teams, provided leadership training manuals, mentored new professionals, provided counseling to peers, resolved conflict situations. I am organized, dependable, qualified and willing to serve to enhance the Voice, Value, and Vision of ASCLS.  I am humbled to submit this nomination for President-Elect of our esteemed organization.


Member Since 1985

Education

B.S. Biology, Georgian Court University
M.T., Monmouth Medical Center
M.S. Biology/Microbiology, Seton Hall University
PhD Health Sciences, Rutgers University

Certification

MLS(ASCP)

Employment

Professor and Program Director, Doctorate and MS in CLS, Rutgers University School of Health Professions

Society Participation

STATE
2003-2004—President, ASCLS-NJ

REGIONAL
2014-present—Director, Region II

NATIONAL
2011-2013—Chair, Scope of Practice Documents Review/Revision Task Force
2011-2014—Vice-Chair, Chair, DCLS Oversight Committee            

Statement of Philosophy

As medical laboratory science professionals, we are the “Voice, Value, and Vision” of the profession. As candidate for Region II Director, my goals encompass this philosophy. We are the “voice,” the cornerstone to actuating the “value” and “vision” of our profession. I believe that our “voice” is effectively heard through professional membership and expanding roles on the healthcare team. MY goals include collaborating with Region II professionals and ASCLS national leadership to develop focused strategies to increase our “voice” through increased membership. Increased membership can foster the important concepts of professionalism, collegial networking, and unified representation of the profession, by the profession, for the profession. A strong “voice” represented by increased ASCLS membership can lead to enhanced awareness among healthcare colleagues and the public, of the “value” MLS/MLTs contribute to patient care. One ASCLS “vision” is to expand our role as members of the interprofessional healthcare team through a new career path, the DCLS. My second goal will be to continue this vision through promotion of this advanced practitioner. As Region II Director I will strive to foster unification of our colleagues through membership, and thus become the one “voice” that will promote the “value” and “visions” of the profession.


Member Since 2008

Education

BS, Biology, Central Washington University
MA, Health Services Management, Webster University

Certification

MLS(ASCP)

Employment

MLS Program Director, Assistant Professor, Heritage University, Toppenish, WA

Society Participation

STATE
2013-2016—President-Elect, President, Past President, ASCLS-WA
2016-2017—President, ASCLS-WA
 
REGIONAL
2014-2016—Officer and presenter, Northwest Medical Lab Symposium
 
NATIONAL
2013—Delegate
2014-2015—Delegate and Delegation Chair

Statement of Philosophy

It is up to us!  It is up to us to stand up for our profession.  It is up to us to stand up for the patient when it concerns our field. It is up to us to stand up and properly educate the next generation of lab professionals.  It is up to us to stand up and be an integral member of the health care team.  It is up to us to show that we are the subject matter experts in lab medicine.  It is up to us to stand up and participate in interprofessional education.  It is up to us to stand up and demonstrate our role in patient safety.  It is up to us to show patients and health care professionals the value of the work we do and our place on the team.  It is up to us to stand up, reach out in meaningful ways and be engaged in building the future path of laboratory medicine and laboratory professionals.  It is up to us.  Please, stand UP with us.

Member Since 2012

Education

BS, Clinical Laboratory Science, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
MS, Molecular Pathology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
MS, Clinical Practice Management, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Certification

MLS(ASCP), MB(ASCP)

Employment

Manager, Pathology, Molecular Diagnostics and Biorepository, The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu, HI

Society Participation

STATE
2014-present—President-Elect, President, Past President, ASCLS-HI
 
REGIONAL
2014-present—Region X Secretary
2014—Region X Board Member
 
NATIONAL
2016-present—Leadership Development Committee, Region X Representative
2013-2016—Co-Chair, Chair, Molecular Scientific Assembly

Statement of Philosophy

I believe that the laboratory professionals are one of the best sources of quality.  We as laboratorians know that we are an important part of the healthcare team.  Our expertise provides useful information to the other members of the healthcare team.  Laboratorians are not cogs that only run the instruments. We ensure the results are accurate and are in line with the patient’s previous results.  Physicians rely upon our knowledge to help them determine the best tests to order.  Unfortunately, our knowledge and expertise is often taken for granted. One of the core values of ASCLS is that advocating for quality within the laboratory is essential to the assurance of health care delivery.  The most important, and understated, part of this message is that quality starts with the laboratory professional. The only way to change the perception of laboratorians is a unified message advocating for our laboratory professionals.

Member Since 1978

Education

BS Medical Technology, Neumann University
MS Medical Technology Education, Temple University
PhD Physiology, Temple University

Certification

MLS(ASCP)

Employment

Professor, University of Delaware Department of Medical Lab Sciences

Society Participation

STATE
2013-present—President, ASCLS-DE
 
REGIONAL
2002-2008—Director, Region II
 
NATIONAL
2008—2011, ASCLS President-Elect, President, Past-President
2015-present—Chair, Education and Research Fund

Statement of Philosophy

The Judicial Committee of ASCLS plays a unique role in handling situations that can have legal, emotional and difficult implications. Center to it all are the ASCLS Bylaws, designed and maintained by our House of Delegates since the beginning of our Society’s history in the 1930’s. Having chaired a Bylaws committee both nationally and for a constituent society, plus being ASCLS President (2009-10), I have an appreciation for the objectivity, impartiality and attention to detail which come from the members of both the national Bylaws Committee and the Judicial Committee. Being a university faculty member has given me many opportunities to practice objectivity, listening, and fair judgment in student and faculty issues. If elected, I will bring that experience to the Judicial Committee.

Member Since 1989

Education

MHS Medical Technology, University of Missouri
MHA Health Services Management, University of Missouri

Certification

MLS(ASCP)

Employment

President, J.R. Constance & Associates

Society Participation

REGIONAL
2007-20012—Director, Region VIII
 
NATIONAL
2012-2015—ASCLS President-Elect, President and Past-President
2011—CASA Task Force

Statement of Philosophy

The Judicial Committee is one of ASCLS’ most important committees.  Among its many responsibilities, its purpose is to insure elections are conducted in an impartial manner, to judge member concerns according to the ASCLS Bylaws and Standard Operating Procedures, and to investigate matters referred for its consideration.   This Committee requires each member maintain unbiased, thoughtful attention to interpretation of the Bylaws, Standard Operating Procedures and appropriate examination of all investigations and requires completing these duties with high ethical standards.  As a member of ASCLS for over 26 years I believe that I bring broad depth of experience from serving at all levels of the society, in multiple different positions. I had the pleasure of serving on the ASCLS Board of Directors for eight years and I would like to continue to participate at the national level, and would be honored to serve on the ASCLS Judicial Committee.


Member Since 1991

Education

B.S. Medical Technology—Northwest Missouri State University

Certification

MT(ASCP)

Employment

Consulting Technologist, Billings Clinic, Billings, MT

Society Participation

STATE
2007-09—President-Elect, President, Past President, Montana Society
2010-11—Secretary, Montana Society
2012-14—Awards & Scholarship, Montana Society
 
REGIONAL
2001-06—Member—IMSS Coordinating Committee
2011-13—Region VIII Council Member
2013-2016—Region VIII Director
2001-09, 2011-15—Attendee-Fall Region VIII Meetings
2007-09, 2011-15—Attendee—Region VIII Spring Meetings
2003, 2007-09, 2011-15—Attendee—Region VIII Summer Meetings
 
NATIONAL
2011-13—Member, Leadership Development Committee
2013-2016—Region VIII Director
2013-2016—Member, ASCLS Board of Directors
2003, 2007-09, 2011-12—ASCLS Annual Meeting Delegate
 

Statement of Philosophy

As a member of ASCLS involved at the state, regional and national level, I appreciate the bylaws governing the rules adopted by our organization.  Recently updated bylaws at our state and regional level have helped me understand this importance. Through experience with regulations of CLIA, COLA and CAP I have gained knowledge interpreting guidelines to understand their meaning or purpose.  Many times things come up that need to be researched and opinions or clarification given. I believe the ASCLS Judicial Committee uses sound judgment to carefully weigh issues brought forth for review. By working as a committee and team to review, inquire, and deliberate I think resolution with the correct outcome is achieved.  If elected I would be committed with impartiality and diligence to help reach the appropriate judgment for the situation.

Member Since 2002

Education

BS, Clinical Laboratory Science, Northern Illinois University
MBA, Healthcare Management, Western Governors University

Certification

MLS(ASCP), CHT(ABHI)

Employment

Laboratory Director, DuPage Medical Group, Glen Ellyn, IL

Society Participation

STATE
2010-2012—President-Elect, President, Past President, ASCLS-CA
2012-2016—Treasurer, ASCLS-CA
 
REGIONAL
2016-present—Region IV Treasurer
 
NATIONAL
2015-present—Member, Safety Committee
2012-2014—Member, E & R Fund Committee
2012-2014—Member, Government Affairs Committee

Statement of Philosophy

I have always been an advocate for the profession and involvement in the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.  ASCLS has been a part of both my personal and professional life since joining the organization as a student.  It has helped shape my career goals and aspirations.  There are ASCLS members that I have met during my time in ASCLS that are truly part of my family and have become forever friends.  Being able to participate in the Leadership Academy was an incredible opportunity that has helped me to become a successful leader and mentor to others.  The networking opportunities and continuing education that ASCLS provides is immeasurable.  I am proud of the accomplishments of our organization and would do my very best to continue to serve if elected to the nominations committee.

Member Since 1980

Education

BS, Medical Technology, University of Iowa

Certification

MLS(ASCP)

Employment

Point of Care Coordinator-Colorado Region, Kaiser Permanente, Denver, CO

Society Participation

STATE
2007-2012—President-Elect, President, Past President, ASCLS-CO
 
REGIONAL
2007-2011, 2016-present—Secretary, Region VIII Council
 
NATIONAL
2010-2012—Member, Leadership Academy Task Force
2010-2017—Member, Co-Chair, Chair, Awards Committee

Statement of Philosophy

ASCLS has been pivotal in my growth as an individual and a professional.  As an MLS, I have found the career and passion to drive my life. The need for life-long learning and a need to represent the profession has led me to be a graduate of the first Leadership Academy 10 years ago, hold numerous committee and leadership positions at the state, regional and national level.  I was a member of CACMLE Board of Directors for 12 years, a member of the IMSS Coordinating Committee and transition team to Region VIII ownership and co-chair, then chair of the National Awards Committee, as well as, serving as a member of Credentials for 6 years.
I found my calling as a Point of Care Coordinator for the past seven years at Kaiser Permanente.  I am a visible and integral part of the health care team assuring compliance, education and collaboration.  I work specifically with the nursing staff and providers, but also touch the departments of IT, Revenue Cycle, Purchasing, Professional education providing the face and voice of the profession.
I want to assure the future success of ASCLS and the profession as a member of the Nominations Committee.

Being An ASCLS Professional and Building a Career

Pat Tille Ph.D. MT(ASCP) FACSC
Region V Director

In 1992, as a young professional I began a journey in medical laboratory science. As a student with a degree in biological science, I was unsure of what I wanted to pursue beyond my undergraduate degree. Like many of my colleagues and friends, I stumbled upon “medical technology” when one of our four children was hospitalized with croup.  As a medical laboratory scientist I fell in love with microbiology.  

Upon completing my clinical experience, there were too many laboratory professionals in the area where I was seeking employment. I was fortunate to be the only student from my class hired at the facility where I had trained for my clinical experience. The position was a float, in other words the shifts varied sometimes from nights, to days to evening shift within a 72-hour period. As a mother of 4 children, this was an impossible schedule, and something had to change.  

As I was looking for other opportunities to utilize my valuable knowledge and skills I stumbled upon a research associate position at the nearby medical school.  After applying for the position, I received a phone call from the professor. The conversation was short, but basically he asked me to come down and look at going to graduate school. At the time I was like many other undergraduates and unaware of the opportunities for teaching and research stipends while working on an advanced degree. I was admitted to graduate school and completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Health Sciences, with an emphasis on microbial genetics. 

Following my graduate school experience, I have been able to teach in basic science programs and clinical programs. It is clear that my passion is basic science applied to the technology and what I call the “art” of clinical practice.  As a practicing professional I have had the opportunity to speak at numerous state, regional and national events as well as publish in a variety of scientific journals, author a chapter in a colleague’s textbook, and author a major diagnostic microbiology textbook. I have been mentored by some of the most amazing individuals. Unfortunately, they are too numerous to mention, but they know who they are! And how did this happen to someone who lives in the Midwestern United States?

What is missing from this story is the fact that I also began my career and professional relationship with ASCLS in 1992. I became the ASCLS-South Dakota student forum representative and moved on to become the Region V student forum representative.  I have been fortunate to network with so many amazing colleagues and professionals who have provided me with opportunities to speak, collaborate on publications and be recognized multiple times by my peers. I have also had the opportunity to mentor and provide opportunities for junior members and my peers, to give back to them what others have done for me. ASCLS provides a very unique opportunity for anyone to grow and expand his/her scope of influence through colleagues and volunteer opportunities. My education gave me the skills and knowledge needed to begin my career, but ASCLS provided me with the opportunities to become a professional.  

I simply want to illustrate through my experience,that no matter where you are in your laboratory science career, there is always time to become and grow as a professional. It does not matter if you are a traditional college graduate, a single mom, or a mom with four kids and a husband, the opportunity is there. It does not happen overnight and it takes hard work. But if you are passionate and willing, the sky is the limit for you! So grab on to a peer mentor, or just someone you have met at a local, regional or national meeting and ask what you can do, it will be one of the greatest things that could ever happen to you.  And remember #IAM ASCLS #LAB4LIFE!

A Time of Great Change at the Crossroads

Deb Rodahl, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM
President-Elect

"ASCLS and the entire practice field is at a time of great change. New leadership is emerging while long valued leaders are retiring; new technologies continue to drive our profession forward; and we as professionals are being encouraged to transform into a new type of healthcare provider who plays a more consultative role in patient care. What strengths do you possess that will position ASCLS as a strong, relevant professional organization leading our practice field through these exciting, yet challenging, times of change?"
 
There is no question that HealthCare is in a time of change and transition and I don’t believe that any of us really know what healthcare will look like in 5-10 years. We just know that it will be different.
 
ASCLS is at a new cross-roads in our organization. The real challenge before us and ASCLS as an organization is how to get our fellow practitioners to understand the critical importance of participating in their profession through involvement and support of a professional organization. I know I am preaching to the choir, but what would happen if no one was monitoring the legislative and regulatory arena? What would happen if we were not sharing our research and technology? How does the newer generation of laboratory practitioner get engaged in an organization that like all other professional organizations has its roots from several generations prior? 
 
Thanks to the great leadership before me, we have successfully engaged our student and new professional members in ASCLS. However, we need to meet the next challenge to make sure we continue to engage our newer professionals by ensuring ASCLS is meeting their needs today and in the future. Lastly, we are also in transition along with other professional organizations as we all seek to ensure we are relevant in this age of instant communication, access to e-education, and in an age where we all seem to have too much to do to volunteer with one more commitment.
 
To understand my ability to lead in a time of transition, it is important to understand who I am.
  • I was born and reared in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota at the tail-end of the Baby Boomer generation and as the middle child in a family of 5. This will explain some of my leadership traits…
  • I have been told that I can be stubborn. I prefer to think that I can display great persistence in a subtle way with a personal philosophy of “where there is a will, there is a way” – particularly when it comes to doing the right thing.
  • I am a long-time leader (over 30 years with the same health care organization) who has led with integrity and with a collaborative, patient/customer centric focus.
  • I have been actively involved with ASCLS since my decision to join in 1990. I have been active on the State, Regional, and National levels and last summer I completed my second term on the ASCLS Board of Directors as the Director from Region V.
  • I am a strong proponent for collaboration, whether in the patient care arena where we all need to collaborate and cooperate to ensure the best outcomes for our patients or in ASCLS where we need to continue to look for those areas where we have mutual interests and those areas for collaboration and cooperation for the best outcomes of our profession.
 
So – how can I help position ASCLS as a strong, relevant professional organization leading our practice field through these exciting, yet challenging, times of change? We need to look at “Strategy.” Not just a strategic plan, but also strategy for how we can continue to engage our members in ongoing change and transition as ASCLS continues to evolve as the preeminent organization for clinical laboratory professionals. We need to know where we are today to understand how to be something different or somewhere different tomorrow – and to improve our ability to track and monitor with real-time metrics. I believe we need to continue to seek out collaboration with our peers in the other professional organizations and we need to find a way to speak with a more unified voice across these organizations. I believe we need to ensure we are a nimble organization that can move quickly to respond to or adapt to change. 
 
I am a firm believer in the value that ASCLS brings to the Clinical Laboratory Sciences profession and to the practitioners within this profession. ASCLS has helped shape who I am professionally and personally, for which I will always be grateful. The value of membership is there for each and every one of us – simply for the taking. 
 
ASCLS’s One Voice, One Vision is more than a catchy slogan, and more than the sum of its parts. The Voice of our grass roots membership is the foundation of ASCLS and what makes this organization so effective. ASCLS has also clearly demonstrated the Vision to plan for the future while dealing with the reality of today.  We have proven the true power we have when we all work together for the same goals. ASCLS provides the foundation that allows us to do that. I am proud to give back to the organization that has given so much to me and I will endeavor to serve with integrity and a collaborative spirit if elected to this position.
 
To understand what has brought me to choose to run as candidate for ASCLS President-Elect, I also need to answer “Why ASLCS?”?  I joined ASCLS in 1990 when I attended my first State Meeting. I was an easy “sell” when the benefits of “learning and growing” in my profession resonating with me. I could choose to work in my laboratory and read the journals and think I was staying current in my profession, but I realized that I needed to get outside of my laboratory and meet others in our profession and in general act like a professional!  I was quickly enlisted to help with the state Government Affairs Committee and then branched off to be our Membership Committee Chair. I attended my first national meeting in 1994, which was held in Nashville, Tennessee. I attended my second national meeting in 1996, which was held in Chicago, Illinois.  I have gone to every national meeting ever since! Why???
  • ASCLS has become Family and I love my annual Family Reunion
  • Mentorship and Networking are Priceless!
  • I would not be where I am today in my professional career without the opportunities to learn and grow within ASCLS.  Wow – isn’t that one purpose of a Professional Organization!
 
At our ASCLS Minnesota Spring Collaborative Meeting we had a great Keynote speaker, Joe Schmitt, who is the Sports Director for one of our local TV stations. He spoke from his book “Silent Impact” and shared stories of Purpose, Persistence, and Passion. He challenged all of us to understand and lead with our own Purpose, Persistence, and Passion.
  • Purpose: Lead in a time of transition with a strategic plan as well as with a strategy for how ASCLS exists in an arena with multiple laboratory-based professional organizations
  • Persistence: to continue to engage our newer professionals and to ensure that ASCLS is relevant today and in the future and to adjust our rudder as needed to ensure we stay on course
  • Passion: for the profession, the professional, and my ASCLS family
I will endeavor to lead with Purpose, with Persistence, and with Passion because having a broad-based Professional Organization is critical to our profession!

Medical Lab Professionals and Social Media

Ally Storla, MLS(ASCP)

Social media has changed how we communicate and connect in the information age. We’ve never been able to spread ideas or connect with each other so easily. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Reddit, Instagram: all of these provide us with communities we can identify with. This is true for the medical laboratory community as well, with many of these communities serving different purposes. 

Social media has been a great tool for our profession and for our organization. ASCLS has a number of social media presences including our ASCLS Facebook page and our hashtags such as #IAmASCLS and #Lab4Life. The “ASCLS Student Forum & Recent Graduates” Facebook page posts a “Free Money Friday” every week sharing scholarships for students. ASCLS Government Affairs Committee has also been utilizing social media well throughout the past year by creating calls to action that are easily shareable through the many social media communities and has received very positive responses.

On Facebook, the group “Lab Humor” seeks to provide stress-relief through humor and occasionally commentary on current issues relating to the medical laboratory. Another Facebook group “New Medical Laboratory Scientist - MLS (ASCP)” has been growing its membership dramatically and discusses all sorts of topics such as images of odd urine crystals/peripheral blood smears, venting about frustrating days, announcing “I passed my boards”, sharing laboratory memes, asking for advice, and more. 

Social Media is providing our profession and our organization with so many great opportunities to connect and share our knowledge. During medical laboratory professionals week 2016 ASCLS challenged its members to take the thirty day challenge and post responses to questions on Facebook every day for thirty days. I participated in the challenge and afterwards I had many friends and family members tell me how much they enjoyed my responses and learning more about what I do. 

The Advance Laboratory blog community has been providing a voice for new medical laboratory professionals such as Stephanie Noblit. She has written several articles about why nurses and medical laboratory professionals struggle to see eye-to-eye (“Beyond the Biohazard Door”), the confusing nature of our profession’s name changes (“Alphabet Soup”), maintaining professionalism and positivity when confronted with negative work environments (“Rise Above the Negativity”) and many others. 

Social media sites, such as reddit.com, have users “upvote” or “downvote” topics and content that the community considers relevant.  Reddit contains a community for medical laboratory professionals through a subreddit (a specific group within reddit) which can be found at www.reddit.com/r/medlabprofessionals. This subreddit has grown over time and has become a helpful community where members discuss a range of topics specific to the medical laboratory and provide community feedback, as well as features such as a FAQ section for those considering the profession or in school for the profession. 

Reddit has recently had an increase in inter-professional exchanges, one from a registered nurse visiting the lab professionals’ subreddit medlabprofessionals and asking ”What can nurses do to make your job easier?” and vice versa with  medical laboratory professionals visiting nursing’s subreddit and asking what we can do as medical laboratory professionals to help nursing. A range of subjects were discussed including the importance of order of draw, causes of hemolysis, clotted specimens, and recollect requests. These opportunities for inter-professional communication are becoming more obtainable thanks to social media and nursing and medical laboratory staff reaching out to solve problems relating to patient care and specimen quality together. 

As anyone who has ever used social media can attest, there are often times when negative interactions cannot be avoided. The challenge is to rise above the negativity and remain professional. Social media can be a great tool for exchanging ideas, but it can also lead to unprofessional and unproductive behavior such as disrespecting other professions, arguments and bickering, and the general discourteous behavior for which the internet is often known. Despite the potential negative interactions there is a lot of positive discussion taking place through social media regarding our profession and our professional organization.   Ultimately, we are the face of ASCLS and our profession in everything we do. When we talk about our profession with our friends and family, when we answer the phone in the laboratory, or when we post about a bad day we had on social media.  We must always be as professional as we can when we use social media to achieve our goals as a professional society and as medical laboratory professionals.

Social media provides us with opportunities to improve inter-professional communication and help educate the medical community we work with daily. Social media presences like the ASCLS Facebook groups help increase our communication within, and our visibility outside of, our profession.  Medical laboratory blogs engage and encourage new professionals by providing advice and trustworthy information. ASCLS Government Affairs Committee is better able to achieve goals and give our profession a voice by using social media to reach communities of medical laboratory professionals by not only informing them of current events but inviting them to participate in the conversation. We must continue to share our knowledge and experiences through social media to encourage others through our education, our information, and our professionalism.