American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
From ASCLS-ND President Brooke Solberg
I recently reviewed some employee satisfaction survey results from a North Dakota laboratory. While most of what I saw was expected, one result in particular caught my attention (and not in a good way) - that a fair number of employees did not feel what they did on a daily basis made a significant contribution to patient care. My lab heart broke as I thought about this sentiment. We do such an important job, and patient care is impacted by the results we give – so how could my fellow laboratorians feel this way?
In trying to answer this question, I realized that the lab is one of those things in life that people take for granted. I am reminded of a recent power outage, and how I kept trying to turn the lights on out of habit, only to have nothing happen. Each time I flicked the switch and remained in darkness, I found myself realizing just how much I relied on those lights. Isn’t that a good analogy for the lab? We are the epitome of the saying “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”. It’s a catch-22…people won’t appreciate us unless we aren’t there, and we, being the dedicated lab professionals that we are, would never let the lab not ‘be there’.
The idea of the lab not ‘being there’ does bring up an interesting image, however. What would healthcare look like without the lab? Stop and think about that. Think about the young baby brought to the ER in the middle of the night because she is having difficulty breathing, and how the positive RSV test issued by the lab gives the parents and physicians involved an answer and a course of action. Think about the patient whose heart attack is identified early through diligent lab testing, thus reducing long-term damage and preserving quality of life. Think about the hopeful couple that finds out they are expecting a baby with a positive pregnancy test. Think about the patient whose lab results show they are ready to go home after a lengthy hospital stay, and can be with family again. The list could go on, and on, and on. And the message is the same with each scenario – what we do in the lab IS making a difference for patients, even if they don’t necessarily realize it.
Accolades for the laboratory likely aren’t going to come from the patient, or the physician, because they don’t know what it would be like without the lab, and thanks to laboratorians like you, they hopefully never will! But that does mean we must provide our own compliments. We must remind ourselves and our co-workers of our worth on a daily basis. In doing this, we will boost morale (and maybe even increase those employee satisfaction survey results!), which will help ensure that no patient will ever have to appreciate us because we are gone.
Hello ASCLS-ND members! Thank you for electing me to serve as your President for the next year! I really have enjoyed getting to meet many of you over the past year as President-elect, and hope to get to know even more of you in the months to come! For those of you that don’t know me, here is a quick run-down:
Well that is enough about me…let’s talk about YOU! First off – thank YOU! Thank YOU for spending your hard earned money on a membership with ASCLS. I guarantee you we do not take this lightly. The money YOU spend to pay for a membership is the reason that this organization exists. YOU are the reason ASCLS has as voice on important issues such as PAMA or the CMS ruling about nurses/other healthcare professionals performing lab duties. What I am trying to say is that we need YOU and we are thankful for your support!
Of course there are obvious benefits to being an ASCLS member, and I hope that you are getting to take advantage of some of these including: continuing education opportunities, journal and newsletter access, networking, and discounted rates for meetings, symposiums, and conferences. Another benefit that is sometimes forgotten is that YOU have the opportunity to give back to YOUR profession just by joining!
One thing I have learned as an instructor is that when a session gets too long – people tune out, so I think I will wrap this particular message up! I do want to leave you with an assignment though (in true instructor fashion). Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to go out and try to recruit one person to join ASCLS. Just one person – that’s easy, right?! And by doing this one thing, YOU will be helping someone become more connected/involved with their profession, and YOU will be helping to make the voice of ASCLS stronger!
From ASCLS-ND President Sharon Reistad
Well as the song says "the weather out side is frightful" and Christmas is just around the corner. I hope this finds everyone safe, warm and ready for the season. ASCLS-ND is offering you a "gift" with membership. If you renew by Jan 1, 2017 your name goes into a drawing for a free state meeting registration. If you renew by Feb. 1, 2017 your name will go in to a drawing for a 1/2 price state meeting registration BUT you must let me know that you have renewed...So fill out this coupon once you have renewed and send it in, or send me an email with your renewal date and I will get your name put in.
I am thankful for all the members we currently have and hopeful that we will continue to grow as an organization in the new year.
Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year celebration. Stay safe and warm!
Happy Fall Ya'll!
With all of the beautiful weather it is hard to believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner with Christmas close on it's heals. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful organization. My ASCLS family is so special to me. My favorite thing about this time of year is that I get to give my family gifts (which makes me very happy). So keeping with that family giving spirit ASCLS-ND is offering every member who renews by January 1, 2017 an opportunity to win free registration to the state meeting which will be held in Grand Forks on April 24-25, 2017. Or if you renew by Feb 1, 2017 you will have the chance to win 1/2 off your registration to the state meeting. So fill out this coupon once you have renewed and send it in. If you like you may email it back to me at [email protected]. Have a wonderful holiday season!
Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you are all getting ready for winter as I think it is coming. Wanted everyone to know that we will now be posting the Newsletter on the ASCLS.org website under the North Dakota Society Community Page. We are also sending it out via email at this time since the posting to the website is new. You can also find it on our ASCLSND.org website. I would love to see some pictures of you or your lab decorated for the Halloween season. So if you have some please send to me so we can share. Have a safe and happy holiday!
Sharon Reistad ASCLS-ND president
August / September 2016
Let me introduce myself. My name is Sharon Reistad. I am the 2016 ASCLS-ND President. That's me in the picture, second from the left, accepting an award for ASCLS-ND (2nd place - membership % increase) at the National Meeting in Philadelphia in August. Thanks to all the members who made this award possible!
I am a generalist currently working for The Center For Family Medicine in Minot, ND. We are a family practice residency program owned and operated by the University of North Dakota. I have worked for them since graduating in 1996.
I would personally like to invite you to the 2016 Region V Symposium which is being held Thursday and Friday Oct 6 & 7th in Fargo, ND at the Baymont Inn and Suites! Continuing education classes begin at 12:30 on Thursday with "10 Things You Should Know about Zika Virus", and end after the last speaker at 12:00 on Friday - "Disruptive Belief: Memes, Mission and the Mythos of the Slimy Salesman", with much more in between. For full schedule and registration check the ASCLS-ND homepage. I hope to see you there!
From ASCLS-ND President Nicole Lemieux
Picture (starting in the upper left-hand corner going clockwise):
This is the last message for 2015-2016 ASCLS-ND President Nicole Lemieux:
I have a lot to thank ASCLS for. I became a member in college for the sole reason to apply for the scholarship (which I received, thank you!). Looking back now, it really has been one of the most worthwhile decisions I've ever made. Through ASCLS I have:
- Lobbied on behalf of laboratorians
- Traveled to Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, and Aneheim
- Made friends throughout the country
- Learned invaluable leadership skills
- Been a meeting speaker
But even more than all that, I've grown. You don't expect to keep growing after college, but with ASCLS I've grown into a more confident and assured person. I know for a fact I would not be where I am today if not for my time with ASCLS.
I would like to thank all of ASCLS-ND. Our membership is the highest I've seen since becoming a member. I don't take the credit for it, but I will thank you all for helping that number grow.
I would like to thank my board members. I still think of myself as a rookie ASCLS member. The mentorship more experience members provide is invaluable. I'm sure some of you got sick of my emails, but I couldn't have made it this far without your help. And I look at our younger board members and am just in awe of how readily they step up and take on new challenges. Thank you.
Thank you to the committee chairs, contacts, and website chairs. There's no way one person could do all the work that needs to get done and so I thank you all for stepping up to the plate.
What's next for me? Well, some of you may already know, but I'm 317 days away from graduating from PA school (but who's counting?). I sometimes feel like a traitor for leaving the lab, but I also look at it as another way to promote our lab profession. Not only has the lab prepared me for my new career (you wouldn't believe the times my classmates have said, "I wish I had your background"), but it gives me a chance to educate other providers about the lab. My clinical preceptor already uses my lab test tube knowledge for add-ons. :)
This time next year I'll be preparing to start my new career, likely in a small town where one of you work in the lab. Please say hi! And don't worry, my days with ASCLS are far from over. You never know, you still may see me popping up at state meetings as a speaker or to take in a session or two.
With the Spring Meeting in Bismarck this year, I thought I'd share some of my favorite things to do in Bismarck! And a couple things that are still on my bucket list :)
Places to Eat:
Places to Shop:
What to do:
P.S. How was everyone's Lab Week? Anyone else do the Lab Week Run?
It's time to celebrate National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week! Not only is Lab Week a great time to celebrate the lab, it's also the perfect time to educate the public about the lab! And so I challenge you to take Lab Week and the entire month of April and use that time to make a difference. In fact, why not do a 30 day challenge?
Every day of April ASCLS will have a challenge question on their Facebook and Instagram accounts (@IAMASCLS). You can post back straight to them or take the opportunity to post on your own social media accounts! Just be sure to use #Lab4Life.
Day 1: Write about your first job or internship
Day 2: List 5 things you love about medical laboratory science
Day 3: Write about your average day at work or school
Day 4: What gives your career meaning?
Day 5: What one thing did someone do for you that made you know you were appreciated professionally?
Day 6: How did you find out about a career in MLS?
Day 7: What are your career goals?
Day 8: Thank another healthcare professional
Day 9: Name a laboratory practice that carries over into your personal life
Day 10: Post a self portrait in your lab coat
Day 11: What’s in your lab coat pocket?
Day 12: What do you get excited about at work or school?
Day 13: Write about someone who inspires you in your career
Day 14: Write about your best day at work or school
Day 15: What is important to you at work or school
Day 16: Name a few of your strengths
Day 17: Write about someone who helped you when you were struggling
Day 18: Post a silly photo of you and a coworker or classmate in the lab
Day 19: Say something nice about your coworkers or classmates
Day 20: Give us your best advice to a new employee or graduate
Day 21: What do you do to improve your skills?
Day 22: What is your favorite test to perform?
Day 23: Name 3 things you’re grateful for at work or school
Day 24: What do you do to relieve stress?
Day 25: What shift do you work and what do you like best about that shift.
Day 26: What is the weirdest question you’ve ever gotten in the lab?
Day 27: Share something funny that happened at work or school
Day 28: What made you become a medical laboratory professional?
Day 29: What is your most recent accomplishment?
Day 30: Correct a common misconception of medical laboratory professionals
This year's state meeting charity is the Ronald McDonald house. While I myself have never used the RMHC's services, I do have friends who have and was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer at a home during college. A friend of mine lost a sister to cancer at a young age and shared her story of how the Ronald McDonald home had helped her and her family throughout. It's a heartbreaking story that shows just how important a Ronald McDonald house can be during a time of need. Here's a little bit more about RMHC taken straight from their own website:
It’s something we see every day – children healing because they’re surrounded by their families. And while RMHC may not be able to make the medicine taste better or erase the pain of a much-needed treatment, we have helped lessen the burden for nearly 5.7 million families in 2014. Since 1974, our network of local Chapters have been making children happier and healthier by keeping families together – giving them a place to rest and refresh. A place that feels like home. These programs, tailored to meet the urgent needs of each community, can now be found in more than 60 countries and regions across the globe.
The Bismarck Ronald McDonald home (pictured) opened its doors in July of 1992, giving the community a place for families to stay and receive comfort during the time they need it most.
Attendees of the 2016 ASCLS-ND state meeting have the opportunity to benefit this home and it's occupants. Check out the RMHC wishlist for the Bismarck location here.
By contributing items on wishlist, YOU can make a big difference in the lives of people going through difficult times!!
It's time to start nominating for the ASCLS-ND open board positions! Openings are:
President - Elect (3 year term)
Secretary - Treasurer (2 year term)
Nominations (1 year term)
New Professionals (1 year term)
Board Member at Large (2 year term)
National Meeting Delegate
Nominate yourself, nominate someone else! It's an easy way to get involved, meet other laboratory professionals, and learn more about ASCLS! And some of these positions include traveling to the national meeting in Philly this summer!
Send nominations to [email protected] and look at The Connection for more information!
For January, ASCLS - ND would like to highlight PAC - Political Action Committee. Read below to learn a little bit more about PAC as taken from the ASCLS PAC web page.
Healthcare in the United States has unfortunately evolved into a complex and intricate network of legislation and regulation. Legislation approved today can vastly change the future course of a profession — our profession. It is the responsibility of the profession itself and its members to keep lawmakers fully informed and cognizant of the key issues that may directly impact us.
To provide the needed information to our lawmakers, it is necessary to gain access and attention. ASCLS/PAC is designed to do just that — to gain access and obtain the attention of lawmakers.
By providing campaign contributions to a carefully selected number of candidates, ASCLS/PAC helps ensure the re-election of lawmakers who have been sensitive to the needs of the clinical laboratory profession. Our support for these candidates guarantees that ASCLS is well-represented in Congress.
The acronym PAC stands for Political Action Committee, a voluntary nonprofit organization created to provide financial and educational support for the election campaigns of responsible candidates for Congress. All PACs are legal, ethical and strictly regulated by federal law, which limits the amount of individual contributions and requires full and regular disclosure.
ASCLS/PAC offers members a simple, convenient way to influence the elections process and actively participate in the federal decision-making process. Through the PAC, ASCLS members are able to unite together to gain the attention of candidates for national political office.
In another sense, your support and generous contributions to the ASCLS/PAC represents your Positive Action and Commitment.
Make sure to check out the upcoming newsletter to learn more about PAC and about how YOU can help make a difference in YOUR government!
As the year comes to a close I'd like to take a stroll down memory lane (as with these warm temps I can't go for a Winter Wonderland Walk!).
In March myself and Jozey Keith attended the Legislative Symposium in Washington, D.C. I always leave the Legislative Symposium feeling so empowered. It really is awe inspiring what a grass roots member can accomplish and the Legislative Symposium is a perfect example of that persistence.
In April we all came together in Minot for the spring meeting. There were games with the vendors, great speakers from the Air Force base and around town, and times spent catching up with old and new friends alike. I head to the spring meeting every year excited for the speakers and maybe some fun swag from the vendors, but when I leave I get a little sad knowing that it could be another year before I get to see some of my lab family again.
In July our ASCLS-ND delegates took to Atlanta, GA for the national meeting. My first ASCLS national meeting was what got me hooked in this organization as a student. It's an experience I wish every one of our members could experience. It's the best opportunity to learn about ASCLS and see everything it can do for you in person.
In October we met as a region at the Region V Fall Symposium in Alexandria, MN. While the Arrowwood Resort is in an absolute stunning location along the lake, I'm excited that we will again be rotating the meeting, starting with our very own Fargo next year.
And lastly we have December. In December I'd like to wish you and yours Happy Holidays from myself and everyone at ASCLS-ND! We can't wait to ring in the new year with you!