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Greetings fellow Laboratory Professionals!

Being behind the scenes in the medical profession is hard work, often underappreciated. But ASCLS recognizes your hard work and wants to celebrate you, the laboratory professional! In its 39th year, Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is a celebration geared towards the lab and those who populate it. We know that laboratory professionals are critical to patient care and it is all of our jobs to promote this profession.

When celebrating lab week there are two main focuses - promoting the profession and celebrating the individual. Promoting the profession is an important aspect to lab week for a few reasons. First, it is important for the public to understand what we do. Knowledge is power, and knowing the different players in the healthcare team will increase the patient’s understanding of their treatment. Secondly, to know there is a particular branch of medicine that takes control of patient samples and guides testing gives a sense of safety and confidence to the public. Patients will want to know that their samples are being tested by experts in the field. Lastly, showing pride in your profession instills a sense of dedication to care that the public should be aware of. They should know how much we care about our work and the results that we provide.

Proclamations from local civic leaders are a great way to inform the public about Lab Week. These typically need to be submitted to the government offices’ a few weeks before the event so you should start soon. There are several examples on the ASCLS website, but you can also find examples doing a Google search for "sample proclamations". Newspaper articles, YouTube videos, a spot on the evening news, and radio ads are all examples for getting the word out. A personal favorite: every year I post a different fact or lab related story each day of lab week on my social media. Since my followers make up a variety of career fields they may not have any knowledge of the lab and this is a great way of introducing them.

The second focus of lab week is celebrating the individual. As a laboratory professional it may sometimes feel like our work is not acknowledged. We typically work ancillary to the patient care team, with few of us ever making contact. Lab week is the perfect opportunity to show how much we appreciate the work and all of the professionals who do it. There are so many things you can do to make lab week memorable to those in the field, here are just a few:

  1. Have a scavenger hunt in the lab. Have participants search out tubes used for special testing or incorporate a "safety search" for fire extinguishers, etc. Make it harder by asking for specifics, example: find the tube necessary for a myoglobin level.
  2. If you have disposable lab coats have a lab coat decorating contest with markers.
  3. Pick themes and decorate each department of the lab, with best department winning a pizza party or other prize.
  4. Gather photos of old lab equipment no longer in use and see how many people can identify the technology.

You can find more ideas on the ASCLS website (http://www.ascls.org/about-us/celebrate/mlpw-promotion-ideas).

With a certain amount of effort and creativity you can make Medical Laboratory Professionals Week 2014 one to remember! And don’t forget to celebrate the educators too - they play a vital role in keeping the laboratory a viable career. So from April 20-26th promote what you do, inform others of the vital role you play in their healthcare, and above all, CELEBRATE your contribution.

Sharon Duessel, MLS(ASCP)CM

Region VI Representative

ASCLS Membership Committee