HomeNewsNews Articles

News Search


News | April 21, 2009

Lab Week 09


National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, April 19-25, is a time to honor the more than 280,000 medical laboratory professionals across the nation who perform and interpret laboratory tests that save lives and keep people healthy.

Pathologists and laboratory technologists along with technicians at Elmendorf Air Force Base are among the many unsung heroes of medical health care. 

Using state-of-the-art technology and instrumentation, laboratory professionals help to prevent disease by detecting unknown health problems and aiding in the diagnosis and treatment of existing conditions by giving accurate, timely test results. 

To celebrate National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, laboratories across the country will host open houses, tours, lectures, and demonstrations to help acquaint the public and other health care professionals with the workings of the medical laboratory. The Elmendorf lab plans to celebrate Lab Week with some morale building contests. 

"We are proud of the work we do," said Lt Col Lucia More, the laboratory's flight commander. "We have to be painstakingly meticulous in performing our jobs to provide dependable answers to your family physicians." 

Doctors rely heavily on lab tests to make diagnoses. Thus, laboratory professionals are critical components of the health care system. Results of laboratory tests often identify the presence of disease in its earliest stages, when the possibilities of a cure are greatest and when treatment is least costly. 

Yet, despite the important roles laboratory professionals play, and increasing demands for laboratory services, the profession is undergoing stress. In its most recent survey of laboratory wages and vacancies, American Society for Clinical Pathology reported that nearly 44% of laboratories report they are currently experiencing difficulties recruiting or hiring medical laboratory personnel. There are several reasons for the lab worker shortage, including rising retirement numbers among laboratory technicians, fewer schools of laboratory technology and the corollary decrease in the number of graduates. 

With that in mind, laboratory organizations, including professional societies such as the ASCP and even laboratory equipment manufacturers, are mounting active campaigns to recruit students to the profession. 

Medical laboratory professionals represent a variety of specialties, including pathologists, medical technologists, clinical laboratory scientists, medical laboratory technicians, histotechnologists, histologic technicians, cytotechnologists, cytopathologists, phlebotomy technicians, clinical chemists, microbiologists, laboratory managers and medical educators. 

These professionals can be found in hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics, research facilities, blood banks, public health centers, the Armed Forces, universities, and industry. Within the laboratory, these highly educated and experienced medical laboratory professionals may work in chemistry, serology, hematology, cytology, microbiology, immunology, coagulation, histology, urinalysis, molecular biology, or the blood bank.

Quick Links