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The Off the Bench podcast series discusses scientific and not-so-scientific ideas in laboratory medicine. Join the ASCLS Off the Bench Facebook Group to continue the discussions and share your feedback. Let’s share ideas and talk nerdy.

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April 29, 2022. To celebrate Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, hosts Galina, Justin, and Sophia speak to Pat Jones, recently retired medical laboratory professional, and reflect on written responses from additional new retirees Janice Conway-Klassesen, Deb Rodahl, and Charlie Weinzierl. They take a journey through the lab of yesteryears, as well as what the lab might look like in the future. All four sages give advice to all future and upcoming laboratorians included in the description below:

Janice Conway-Klassesen
Keep your eyes open for opportunities. Many laboratory practitioners are down on the profession due to the lack of recognition. But I believe that if you do not feel valued where you are, it is up to you to change that. You can work the bench for your whole career and feel very valued and fulfilled if you are in the right place. Or you can seize those little opportunities that present themselves and choose a different professional path. Like any other degree, you can use your laboratory education in a variety of different careers. Make your own career.

Pat Jones

  • Keep in mind that there is a person represented by the test you are performing. This provides motivation for consistent, high-quality work.
  • Keep learning. Scientific knowledge is always expanding, and learning new things keeps you interested and interesting. Being current facilitates pertinent conversations within the broader medical community.
  • Think outside the box. Laboratory medicine gives you great skills that are transferable to quality assurance, pharmaceuticals, biotech, management, etc.

Deb Rodahl
I always loved the laboratory because it represented a combination of science and technology. I think for the upcoming generations the same will be true, but as with anything, you get out of your career what you put into it.

  • Be active in a professional organization and understand that is how you will continue to learn and grow – you never know where this path will take you!
    Don’t isolate yourself in the laboratory, you need to interact with all the other healthcare team members.
    Remember your team is the entire health care team – you are all working to improve the lives of the patients we serve.
    Speak up and provide input – don’t wait for others to do it for you.
    Look for things to improve.
    Don’t be the person who wants things to “stay the same”; the world is continually changing/evolving and we need keep up or initiate the change.

Charlie Weinzierl
Hospital labs comprised half of my career. Reference laboratories another quarter. And the final quarter was in a Fortune 500 company that manufacturers and sells products to clinical laboratories. If you want to eventually move from the bench into supervision or management, you may want to volunteer for special projects as they come along. Better yet, make it known to your superiors that you welcome a challenge. Identifying problems in your workplace is helpful to enlightened leaders, and they love it when you have carefully thought of some possible avenues where solutions may be found.

March 25, 2022. In this silly and fun recalibration episode hosts Sophia Chandrasekar, Galina Dronova, and Justin Hanenberg take lab-related personality quizzes. Find out their results, and take the tests for yourself:

December 31, 2021. Hosts Sophia Chandrasekar and Galina Dronova end the year with a re-cap of the best of the 2021 and a look forward to what’s coming in early 2022.

November 26, 2021. Are you currently working in the laboratory wondering when the staff shortages end? Or maybe you’re considering leaving the hospital/clinic workspace for another opportunity such as industry or IT? This podcast is for you. Host Galina speaks with Rick Panning, Senior Healthcare Consultant at ARUP Laboratories, about the state of healthcare today and how the major trends in the medical laboratory science field shape our daily life. More importantly, we discuss how we can be the change that moves the needle in a positive direction.

Take action! Learn how you can lend your voice to address funding for medical laboratories.

October 29, 2021. In this special Halloween episode Sophia and guest hosts Romy and Mackenzie read and react to medical laboratory horror stories submitted by Off the Bench listeners. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be totally grossed out.

Please note: This episode contains graphic and potentially triggering things witnessed in the medical laboratory and hospital, including amputated limbs and maternal and child mortality.

September 24, 2021. In this episode produced by April Shields, graduate of the 2021 ASCLS Leadership Academy, Lucia Berte, MA, MT(ASCP)SBB, DLM, President of Laboratories Made Better! P.C., shares laboratory accreditation organizations’ data on the most common deficiencies reported by their assessors. She also presents resources for reducing or eliminating deficiencies.

This episode is available for one hour of P.A.C.E.® credit. Visit Off the Bench Podcast: 10 Common Lab Deficiencies to participate in the self-study through Labucate.org and earn your credit. Free for ASCLS members ($10 for non-members).

For more instructions, read How to Obtain Podcast CE Credit.

August 27, 2021. Hosts Justin Hanenberg and Galina Dronova find out how the HLA laboratories help clinical care teams monitor patient care for solid organ and hematopoietic cell transplants. Dr. Justin Kreuter, a clinical pathologist at Mayo Clinic, uses case studies to explain why HLA typing is important, as well as discusses the history and the future of the field.

This month, hosts Sophia Chandrasekar and Justin Hanenberg talk about microbiology and home brewing with Neva Parker from White Labs, a biotechnology company that provides liquid yeast cultures, analytical services, and consulting for the fermented beverage industry. Neva started at White Labs in 2003 as a lab technician and now serves as Director of Operations.

Host Sophia Chandrasekar talks with Clinical Laboratory Science Student Gabbi Frimpong and Assistant Professor Lisa Cremeans, both at the the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Division of Clinical Laboratory Science, about how COVID has affected the medical laboratory science education system.

Host Galina Dronova sits down with Patrek Lundstrom, Leadership Development Specialist, for a discussion on how to develop your personal leadership philosophy and helpful advice on how to successfully take on leadership roles. Patrek currently works for the U.S. government and has held leadership positions for over 10 years at various organizations. His area of expertise is in emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and leadership theory.

Sit down for an inspiring conversation with Elissa Passiment, EdM, MT(ASCP), about the general history of the medical laboratory science profession, the role of ASCLS in making positive change, and why medical laboratory professionals are so important to quality patient care.

Episode Resources

History of ASCLS PowerPoint by Elissa Passiment

ASCLS History

History of the Medical Laboratory Science Profession

In this Part 2 of First Lab Job Interviews, Sophia Chandrasekar, Galina Dronova, and Justin Hanenberg give tips and tricks on what to do during and after the interview, with story time—including an actual job interview answer that involves telling a man to take lingerie out of his pants!

Disclaimer: Based off of some feedback from First Lab Job Interviews Part 1, while the hosts may have used the terms, tech, lab tech, and med tech, what we meant to say was medical laboratory scientist. Moving forward, we will do our best to use more appropriate language to give recognition to our profession.

In this first of two podcasts, Galina, Justin, and Sophia talk about their first laboratory job interviews. The three hosts discuss some basic interview prep and tips, the need for perseverance through the first several interviews, the importance of trying to find a place that is a good fit for you, and how it all goes back to, “What do you want in your job?”

In this episode Kyle McCafferty, a medical laboratory scientist in Detroit, Michigan, speaks with Dr. Rodney E. Rohde, chair of the Texas State University Clinical Laboratory Science Program and Specialist in Virology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, about COVID-19, specifically monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, and the medical laboratory profession.

This episode is available for one hour of P.A.C.E.® credit. Visit Off the Bench Podcast: COVID19 Pandemic: Monoclonal Antibodies, Vaccines, and the Medical Laboratory Profession to participate in the self-study through Labucate.org and earn your credit. Free for ASCLS members ($10 for non-members).

For more instructions, read How to Obtain Podcast CE Credit.

In this episode, Galina Dronova talks with Dr. John McClure, a pathologist in Minneapolis, Minnesota, about Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), the lab testing necessary to identify AML, and where a medical technologist fits in the process.

This episode is available for one hour of P.A.C.E.® credit. Visit Off the Bench Podcast: Acute Myeloid Leukemia Workup, Management, and Prognosis with Dr. John McClure to participate in the self-study through Labucate.org and earn your credit. Free for ASCLS members ($10 for non-members).

For more instructions, read How to Obtain Podcast CE Credit.

This special minisode of Off the Bench features hosts Sophia Chandrasekar, Galina Dronova, and Justin Hanenberg with ASCLS President Maddie Josephs. They discuss the past “crazy, awesome week for ASCLS” that included three new events: PRISM: Pride · Respect · Inclusion · Support · Momentum; the Emerging Laboratory Managers Collaborative Conference (ELMC2); and a Mid-Year House of Delegates Meeting.

One major driving force to viral spillover from wildlife to humans is human behavior. Join ASCLS Leadership Academy graduate Jasmine Pante, MT(ASCP), of Monterey County, California, and Dr. Tracey Goldstein, PhD, of One Health Institute Laboratory at University of California-Davis, as they discuss emerging zoonotic diseases on a global scale and the One Health approach to prevent future outbreaks.

This episode is available for one hour of P.A.C.E.® credit. Visit Off the Bench Podcast: Understanding Emerging Zoonotic Diseases on a Global Scale with Dr. Tracey Goldstein to participate in the self-study through Labucate.org and earn your credit. Free for ASCLS members ($10 for non-members).

For more instructions, read How to Obtain Podcast CE Credit.

This episode focuses on the laboratory’s role in addressing gaps in healthcare quality for transgender patients. Romi Selzer, of Henry Ford Hospital Blood Bank in Detroit, interviews Dr. Gabrielle Winston-McPherson, associate director of chemistry, who oversees the core automation laboratory at Henry Ford Hospital.

Legislative awareness is important for laboratory professionals because what happens in legislation can affect our daily lives. Join ASCLS Leadership Academy graduates Billie Ketelsen, MLS(ASCP)CMMB(ASCP)CM, and Stephanie Noblit, JD, MLS(ASCP)CM, as they discuss two legislative efforts currently impacting laboratories, PAMA and the Laboratory Workforce Shortage.

This episode is available for one hour of P.A.C.E.® credit. Visit Off the Bench Podcast: Legislation Insights for the Laboratory with Stephanie Noblit to participate in the self-study through Labucate.org and earn your credit. Free for ASCLS members ($10 for non-members).

For more instructions, read How to Obtain Podcast CE Credit.

Episode Resources

View clips from the TV episodes discussed in this episode.

Carla’s urine saga

Gray’s Anatomy bad blood scene

General Hospital “Lab explosion”

Episode Resources

View the images and comments discussed in this episode.

The Quick and Dirty on Sam and Lindsey

Podcast 3: Who are your hosts Samantha Treutel and Lindsey Davenport-Landry? Listen in to learn more about them.

Listen to Podcast 3

2018 Lab Week Run

Podcast 2: Hosts Samantha Treutel and Lindsey Davenport-Landry interview Ally Storla about the 2018 Lab Week Run.

Listen to Podcast 2

Why Choose the Laboratory Profession?

Podcast 1: Hosts Samantha Treutel and Lindsey Davenport-Landry discuss why they chose the laboratory profession.

Listen to Podcast 1