James Hollowell, MLS(ASCP)CM, 2019-20 ASCLS Developing Professionals Forum Vice Chair
During this past year in my clinical rotations, I was able to experience a wide variety of laboratories and learn from a diverse and talented multitude of laboratory scientists. I interacted with hundreds of hospital employees and worked closely with dozens of laboratory workers at six different clinical sites, ranging from rural hospitals to large urban medical centers and everything in between.
"The employees of the laboratory should reflect the multifaceted patient base we serve in our communities."
Each site was different, and each was equipped with a unique laboratory team willing and ready to teach the next generation, in addition to performing their daily workload. I am incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to work with a spectrum of people who taught me about every aspect of the laboratory in their own unique ways. I feel as though my education in these laboratories left me well-rounded and fortified me with a new perspective on what it takes to meet the gold standard of patient care.
The employees of the laboratory should reflect the multifaceted patient base we serve in our communities. It is our responsibility as healthcare professionals to care for the under-represented and diminished members of society. The further development of healthcare facilities across the globe increases the need for a diverse workforce of laboratory scientists whose varied backgrounds and life experiences equip them with the tools they need to make the world a better place.
Diversity is not limited to our differences in ethnicities, gender, age, or religion. It is also a conscious practice that involves understanding how our cultural differences are interdependent on each other. To say that America is a melting pot is no longer true in the traditional sense because it is no longer standard to try and completely assimilate to one true “American” culture.
The modern laboratory reflects this change, and now we understand the importance of holding on to these special aspects of culture to create a thriving workplace. The laboratory must grow to meet the demands of the expanding world; as a member of the next wave of medical laboratory scientists, I have hope that we will be an integral part of a brilliant future.
James Hollowell is a Medical Laboratory Scientist at Merit Health Natchez in Natchez, Mississippi.