Joan Polancic Lisa Cremeans John Gerlach

The 2019 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference Opening Keynote session on Thursday afternoon, “Workforce Issues and Their Impact on MLT and MLS Practicum/Clinical Training,” will help educators know that they are not alone dealing with clinical rotation/practicum issues, which are an integral part of the MLT and MLS education. 

The session features three speakers who will provide new facts and new ways to deal with the critical workforce issues you are facing.

Joan Polancic is the director of the Denver Health School of Medical Laboratory Science and a member of the ASCLS Committee on Education Programs and Initiatives (CEPI). Over the last several years CEPI has observed that MLS and MLT programs are increasingly faced with challenges for student placement in clinical sites.

Changes in the lab industry include consolidation of labs, particularly for microbiology and blood bank, where a central lab receives samples from smaller satellite labs. Another issue observed is the workforce shortage due to increasing retirements.

These issues affect placement of students for clinical rotations/practicums. Joan will share examples of how programs have been creative in providing students with clinical rotations despite a changing industry.

Lisa Cremeans is a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science at the University of North Carolina and has experience working in a variety of clinical laboratory settings. She was a member of the ASCLS Workforce Position Paper Task Force. The task force presented its position paper to the ASCLS House of Delegates at the 2018 Annual Meeting, “Addressing the Clinical Laboratory Workforce Shortage.” 

The paper provides a summary of current reasons for the shortage and the impact on clinical labs, patient care and access, and educational facilities. Lisa will provide an overview for educators at CLEC.

John Gerlach is Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program director at Michigan State University. He will share information from a recent survey of lab managers and directors that provides a snapshot of how and where lab testing is distributed across the United States—in particular, how microbiology, immunohematology, and molecular diagnostic testing is staffed and trained. 

This survey was done to help understand the amount of consolidation that has occurred for testing in blood bank and microbiology. Hopefully this data will lead us to new solutions in how to prepare future laboratorians for these disciplines.

Continue the Discussion on Friday
The next morning at breakfast the speakers (and some members of CEPI) will facilitate small group discussions that were stimulated by the keynote presentations. At the Scientific Assemblies’ breakfast a few tables will have signs for “Keynote Discussions.” Please join the speakers with further insight and suggestions to help lead to educational solutions that will work in our current clinical lab environment.