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Recognize excellence:

Nominate an outstanding clinical laboratory professional.


Sample response 1
John is the supervisor for our hospital’s microbiology laboratory. He started out as a tech eight years ago and was promoted to supervisor in 2013. When John first took on the supervisor role, staff morale was suffering because of turnover and demands from clinicians to decrease the time to result. John jumped in right away and by using knowledge from his own experience at the bench and talking to staff found unnecessary steps in the workflow that resulted in inefficiencies and re-work. He mapped out the process of blood culturing and found redundancies. He applied LEAN principles to develop a standardized streamlined process and trained all staff to this process. The results of John’s problem-solving mindset are numerous. We now have streamlined processes that make us more efficient and reduces waste and cost. This increased productivity has allowed the micro lab to increase throughput with improved time to result. Staff satisfaction has also increased. Prior to implementing these changes, only 58% of micro staff said they were very satisfied with their job. A year later, this rose to 77%.

Sample response 2
My career as a medical laboratory professional allows me to positively impact patients every day. This is an enormous opportunity and one that I take very seriously. For me, there’s nothing more rewarding than a job that keeps patients safe from harm. I have built Quality programs completely from scratch for new labs and have redesigned programs for struggling labs. Through relentless work, a team I led achieved ISO15189 accreditation and in just one year delivered over $1,000,000 in savings from the cost of poor quality. I have designed and deployed a two-hour Quality onboarding program for new lab staff, wrote a comprehensive quality manual, implemented an aggressive internal auditing program, an electronic event management system, and a quarterly employee recognition program. By implementing all of these quality measures, systems, and policies, we were able to reduce errors in notification of critical results to clinicians by 98% within three months.

Carol manages the hospital’s phlebotomy services and is a role model for all the phlebotomists and advocate for the patients at our facility. Our patients are primarily pediatric and require special care. During her morning huddles, Carol reminds her fellow caregivers about the importance of their job to patient safety and satisfaction. She has diligently built a team of skilled phlebotomists and lab assistants who are fully aware that the work they do is critical to ensuring quality testing results. Carol tracks phlebotomy procedures to look for opportunities to improve. Recently, she noticed a varying potassium levels for the same patients within a short period of time. She immediately talked to the phlebotomists who performed those draws and observed their processes. She found that two new phlebotomists did not collect tubes in the proper order and the patients’ potassium levels were artificially bumped up. Immediately, she instructed those staff on the importance of collecting in the proper order. Fortunately, no direct patient harm was caused through those errors, but what she did will prevent future errors, especially for patients scheduled for surgery who actually have a low potassium level and could suffer serious consequences if the surgery was performed. Carol’s investment in training phlebotomists has helped prevent errors and patient injuries and created a culture where frontline staff feel valued and understand their role in promoting optimal patient outcomes. That is a huge win for patients and staff.

The work we do in the lab affects patient care. A lot of folks don’t recognize or fully appreciate what we do so I take the opportunity to share this message when and wherever I can. I have volunteered my time on professional committees including the Clinical Laboratory Management Association’s Council on Advocacy & External Relations. Through CLMA, I have advocated for the medical laboratory by meeting with members of Congress to ask for support for issues that would adversely affect the lab. I have authored articles about the lab’s impact on patient care which have been published in magazines and peer-reviewed journals. I have spoken at several national conferences including ASCLS and AACC. While it’s an honor to be able to speak on behalf of clinical laboratories’ needs at a national level, I think it’s important to broaden awareness at the local level, too. Within my hospital system, I started a lunch and learn program for clinical staff about a year ago. Every month, we do a one hour presentation on hot topics or trends we’re seeing in our lab for physicians and nurses. One example of the things we’ve seen in the lab is a variety of ordering practices for measuring vitamin D levels. It is a real challenge for non-specialists to order the necessary tests given the wide menu of laboratory assays that are out there. We’ve addressed this through the program by creating and socializing a framework for test selection for vitamin D. But the more impactful thing we’ve done is in demonstrating how our laboratory physicians can partner with clinicians to select and interpret tests. The laboratorians have deep knowledge to select all the appropriate assays to get to the correct result and avoid potential medical errors but at the same time control costs. Prior to launching this program, the expertise of our laboratorians was underutilized. We’ve had great turnouts at every session and, importantly, we are seeing a downstream increase in communication between the floors and the lab with consultations increasing by 27% from before the program started. This has really helped position the lab as a center of excellence within our hospital and has built credibility and professional relationships to leverage lab expertise throughout the organization.

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