While it is important for MLPs to actively serve patients and community members, there are other ways to contribute in the lab
Taking Part in Projects and Research
It may seem like a big responsibility at the beginning of one’s career to take part in projects or clinical research, but new graduates should take advantage of these opportunities. Many hospitals have opportunities in research or participation in validation studies. Performing research or special projects within the laboratory is beneficial to one’s career, since valuable knowledge and experience is gained that may be beneficial when applying for more senior positions within the laboratory. Once you have completed your research or studies, opportunities for publication are available in several Canadian and American clinical laboratory journals, such as the Canadian Journal of Medical Laboratory Science, Laboratory Medicine or the Clinical Laboratory Science Journal.
Promoting the Profession
Within the next ten years, half of the medical laboratory profession in Canada will be eligible to retire, and both Canada and the United States are currently facing shortages. For this reason, promotion of the laboratory profession to potential students is crucial, and it involves being active within the wider community outside the profession. The CSMLS has an ambassador program in which volunteers within give presentations to schools and community groups about careers in the medical laboratory. Another way that MLPs can promote their profession is during MLPW 2017 on April 23-29 in which the public can increase their understanding of the work laboratory professionals do through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Always Keep Learning
Even though it is a professional practice requirement of many regulatory colleges to maintain credentials and additional course work, continuing education should not be looked at merely as an obligation, but rather as an opportunity to become a better laboratory professional. Continuing education doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive either, as there are many opportunities available for free professional development. Many professional societies offer free courses and webinars to their members. In addition, hospitals host Grand Rounds in which staff members can attend. Finally, for those with irregular schedules or where location is an issue, several websites offer online webinars and virtual conferences that you can attend free of charge.
The medical laboratory is a quickly changing healthcare profession, due to various advances in technology and diagnostics. Laboratory professionals should utilize all opportunities available to them in order to develop themselves into the most skilled professional they can be.