By - July 17, 2023
As a high school student planning for college, Diana Kremitske, MHA, MS, MLS(ASCP), knew she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. She liked helping others, solving problems, and learning about science, so when a family member introduced her to a medical laboratory scientist who worked in a hospital laboratory, Ms. Kremitske took the opportunity to shadow her at work. That experience immediately showed her how critical laboratory medicine work was to patient care, and to diagnoses and testing processes. She saw how much clinical education, training and responsibility that comes along with this profession, as well as the many opportunities for advancement, and it felt like the right fit. Here, Ms. Kremitske shares more about her career experience, including her involvement with ASCP, and advice she shares with those interested in forging their own path in the laboratory.
I have always been a member of the ASCP throughout my professional career. I first became involved as a local volunteer with ASCP through the local representative network in the Mid-Atlantic region. I attended an ASCP workshop in Philadelphia and met Barbara Caldwell, MS, MASCP, MLS (ASCP),SH, who was the regional representative for that region. A social was held at the workshop venue where participants could learn about volunteer opportunities with the ASCP. Barbara was wearing a button that said, “Ask me about becoming an ASCP local rep.” We had a nice conversation about the ASCP local representative network, its purpose and how it was connected to the Council of Laboratory Professionals. I was at a stage in my career where I was expanding my scope of leadership in my organization and was interested in giving back to a profession that I love. I liked the idea of being part of a larger effort through the ASCP that is committed to promoting the importance of all laboratory professions in healthcare and attracting interested students into the field. I took the next step and became a volunteer. I have been active with the ASCP ever since.
The volunteer roles I had of being a member of a group striving to achieve something for the good of a community, or profession taught me that it is important to be open to different perspectives, ways of thinking, and how to get something accomplished through working together. The leadership lessons of listening to needs of a community, or members on a large scale, understanding those needs, and taking action to address them requires much communication, coordination of resources, and follow up. This involves many skillsets from many volunteers who graciously give of their time and talents. Another lesson learned is that the ones who are successful deeply appreciate those who serve as volunteers and find ways for volunteers to get to know one another as they work together. You get a sense of this is where I belong. You feel like part of a family committed to a larger purpose. This is very powerful.
Seek ways to explore the various disciplines in the laboratory to gain a good understanding of the type of work in this field and how it can change your life to provide a satisfying career. Remember, you shape your chosen career. Only you can determine how far you would like to take your career. Ways to explore this career include taking advantage of an immersion program or a job shadowing experience that includes the medical laboratory that may be offered in local health care organizations. ASCP also has a useful website with information on laboratory careers found at What's My Next.
A career as a laboratory professional today provides more opportunities than ever to learn something new and potentially find yourself at the forefront of diagnostics. Technology in laboratory testing and applied testing algorithms are rapidly evolving. These are exciting times that require different skills and present opportunities for advanced training for our workforce.
Personally, reflecting on this question there is not a single, quick answer. Also, the word, legacy tends to focus on individual actions instead of shifting the focus to others and the connections it takes to make something happen. Building bridges between people and successfully working with others helps anyone to accomplish remarkable things. In my organization, I hope that I can continue to build those bridges of providing support to emerging laboratory leaders as they desire to grow professionally. Outside of my organization, I hope to work successfully with others to contribute to the profession that I love through my volunteer roles at the ASCP. I have been fortunate to be part of developing the Leading Laboratories program and desire to continue to elevate the quality and promote the value of the laboratory on a broad scale.
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