By - April 03, 2023
One of the most amazing aspects of the laboratory is how no two days are the same. As pathologists and medical laboratory scientists, our jobs require us to be in a space that changes and evolves regularly. Our jobs call on us to think creatively, to innovate, and to be prepared for what comes next.
Sometimes the “what” is a joy to behold—a new solution or discovery to a problem that had otherwise seemed unsolvable. Sometimes the “what” takes the shape of a challenge, asking us to look beyond our small piece of the laboratory, to see the whole field of healthcare, and how we occupy that space every day, with every patient. Both the joys and the challenges combine to create a unique perspective, one that enables us to see where we are, where we need to go, how we can get there, and importantly— why we, in the laboratory, need to be the ones leading the way. We cannot ignore the challenges that come our way, but we can set examples for how to handle them and the impact they have on both the laboratory and patient care.
This issue of Critical Values looks at a variety of subjects that impact the field of pathology and laboratory medicine. Publishing, for example, is an important part of career advancement for pathologists and medical laboratory scientists, especially those who work in an academic setting. The editors in chief of our two esteemed peer-reviewed journals, Laboratory Medicine and AJCP, share their tips for getting published in biomedical literature. “Effective communication is essential in most careers, including academic medicine,” write Roger L. Bertholf, PhD, MASCP, and Steven Kroft, MD, MASCP. “How do we decide which papers to accept and which to reject? For most scientific journals such as ours, it is a process that involves several steps and includes review by experts in the subject area the paper falls within.”
Understanding the needs of the medical laboratory workforce and where we are now are critical to developing advocacy and strategies that will best benefit the pathology and laboratory medicine community. The newly published ASCP Wage 2021 Survey Report provides invaluable data on wage growth across multiple demographics including gender, geographic location, job title, and more. It speaks to the importance of the laboratory that the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics reported jobs for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians is growing faster than the average rate for all occupations, with 11 percent expected between 2020 and 2023.
This issue also dives into imposter syndrome and the consequent burnout. In their article, “Imposter Syndrome and Burnout in the Workplace,” Drs. Prayson, Rowe, and O’Toole note that, “Individuals with imposter syndrome struggle with being able to accurately self-assess their performance and its relationship to their actual competence.” This can ultimately have a detrimental effect on a laboratory professional’s performance and job satisfaction. There are strategies that can help mitigate imposter syndrome, the authors explain, and share these in the article.
Since 2000, ISO 15189 has been a common standard in laboratories around the world as a way of showing a laboratory’s commitment to quality and competence. In the past 23 years, ISO 15189 has undergone revisions, and new updates were recently released in 2022. Drs. Sharma, Jain, Gulati, and Sharma look at these new changes to ISO 15189 in their article, “ISO 15189: 2022: A Primer for the Practicing Pathologist and Laboratory Professional,” and how these changes will affect the laboratory.
While we face an ever-changing environment within pathology and laboratory medicine, we face them as one. When we work together to create a field that is talented, equitable, supported, and innovative, we are STRONGERTOGETHER, and we cannot be stopped.
Thank you for your continued support of ASCP. Please send me your comments and suggestions at Blair.Holladay@ascp.org. My very best to each of you.