Laboratory tests provide vital information that guides medical decisions. Proper diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions is impossible without timely and accurate laboratory test results. This week the spotlight is on the professionals who perform and interpret lab tests. National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (NMLPW) from April 19-25, 2015 celebrates the role of medical laboratory professionals and pathologists in health care.
Laboratory professionals are heroes who work behind the scene. They are responsible for conducting tests that provide crucial information for detecting, diagnosing, treating, and monitoring disease. According to the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), there are approximately 300,000 practitioners of clinical laboratory science in the United States. They perform and interpret more than 10 billion laboratory tests every year.
Working in the laboratory requires attention to detail and commitment to patient care and safety. Responsible for providing accurate information to physicians, a medical laboratory professional’s duties include
- Specimen labeling and sorting
- Conducting tests: toxicology, chemistry, hematology, immunology, microbiology, and more
- Blood typing, antibody screening, compatibility testing, and antibody identification procedures
- Assuring the quality of blood for transfusions
- Identifying and communicating abnormal patient conditions by alerting the concerned healthcare provider
- Maintaining quality results by running standards and controls, verifying laboratory equipment function, equipment calibration using approved testing procedures, and monitoring quality control measures and protocols
The dedicated efforts of these professionals often go unnoticed by the general public. Observed every year in April, NMLPW provides the opportunity create public awareness about the dedication and commitment of lab professionals in conducting tests that provide crucial information for detecting, diagnosing, treating, and monitoring disease. The theme for Lab Week 2015 is “Laboratory Professionals Get Results”, which highlights the close connection between prompt and accurate results in the laboratory and the best outcomes for patients. Lab technicians can honor themselves and their colleagues for being a vital part of the lab community by ordering 2015 Lab Week merchandise.