LIVING THE LAB LIFE
A BLOG FOR ASCLS REGION V
Another Region V Symposium is in the books. When had nice turnout this year in Fargo, with over one hundred laboratorians attending. While I always find myself a bit exhausted after these events, I am returning home with newfound enthusiasm for my profession and the impact that I can have on it.
ASCLS is going through a time of great transformation, much like healthcare as a whole. This past March, the role of ASCLS Executive Vice President was taken over by Jim Flanigan CAE. For those of you who may not be familiar with the structure of ASCLS at the national level, let me define his role for you. The ASCLS Executive Vice President is the highest-ranking, paid staff position within the organization. While most of the rest of us have jobs outside of the organization, Jim does not. ASCLS is his job. He oversees as all aspects of the organization, from website design to bylaws to government affairs to recruitment and retention projects to anything else you can possibly imagine. It is a big job, one that his predecessor, Elissa Passiment, had been doing for decades.
Jim is not a laboratory professional by training, which I will admit at first made me a little nervous. How can someone advocate for me and my profession when he has never worked a day in the lab? But after getting this opportunity to hear him speak and listen to his vision for our organization, I have put my fears to rest. He may be new to lab medicine but he knows how to work with an organization to help it evolve. And ASCLS needs to evolve.
Jim’s talk at the afternoon keynote on Friday focused on how the laboratory profession is at a unique crossroads. Between the changes to how hospitals are reimbursed for the care they provide and healthcare’s focus on patient safety and the morbidity and mortality of diagnostic errors, we have an opportunity to step out of the lab and step into a role where we can advocate on behalf of the patients who need our expertise. I am sure every person reading this post can think of a time where a patient received suboptimal care because their healthcare team did not order the right tests or did not interpret the results appropriately for that patient. We have the power to prevent these types of errors, and we need to own that power.
We have tremendous capacity in our profession to be an impetus for change that will save lives. But it is up to us to step up to the plate. As Jim put it, “The cavalry isn’t coming;” it is time for us to be our own heroes. It is time for us to be everyone’s heroes.