The value of continuing education

May 1, 2009
I am honored to be asked to write to you concerning
and our continuing education (CE) experiences. It is exciting to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the journal. MLO has been long standing in providing interesting, current information to its readers. We at Northern Illinois University's (NIU's) College of Health and Human Sciences have enjoyed many years of interacting with MLO's editor and staff to facilitate offering our colleagues CE opportunities. Over the years, we have worked with many of you in the profession, as well as those outside our discipline, to bring you challenging and new knowledge through continuing education articles and tests. For many years, these could only be accessed in the print publication. This process served us well and allowed many medical laboratory professionals to maintain their certifications and licenses.

More recently, we were fortunate to work with the
staff and our excellent
e-learning staff at NIU to be able to offer the articles and tests
online. Shortly after we went online, however, the plan was to omit from
the journal the test following the article. Those test takers who still
preferred the paper format could still print out an online MLO .pdf
version at home or work, complete their written work, and submit the
results via mail. We have re-evaluated that decision, and MLO
will resume publishing the test within its pages for those who want to
detach and mail it in.

As the dean of NIU's College of Human and Health
Sciences, I would like to emphasize the importance and value of
continuing education. Why should we consider continuing education, other
than it being mandatory in some areas? As professionals, we must strive
to be lifelong learners and to stay current in our fields. The easiest
way to accomplish this goal is to complete CE offerings throughout the
year. MLO allows us to access continuing education each month.

Continuing education should be challenging and help
us to maintain current information. Within the healthcare field,
technology and treatment protocols can change daily. We all have
demanding jobs and often find it difficult to travel to events. MLO
is ideal for us because the staff is always tapping into sources eager
to share their expertise. The articles are well written and include
objectives to guide us and identify the goals intended from reading the
article. The tests used to measure our success in understanding the
information are well crafted and allow us to verify our comprehension of
the material. The content author and test composer is not the same
individual, but both have knowledge and expertise in the topic field.

We derive many benefits from CE offered in both
print format and online. We have immediate access and can
study at our own pace, allowing us to balance all of the other necessary
tasks in our lives. If we prefer the online version, we do not need to
install any special software, and we can use any Internet-connected
computer. The MLO CE test articles are offered at an affordable
price. Upon successful completion of a test, a certificate can be
printed immediately if the test is completed online, or it can be
received by mail within approximately one month of submitting the
written test. While we may not be working as a generalist in the lab, we
still have an interest in being aware of changing information in other
specific areas of the lab. These articles allow us to stay familiar with
the diverse, current, and relevant content of these changing areas. If
we should change areas of laboratory-testing emphasis, CE articles can
help us update more quickly.

We hope you will continue to enjoy CE access through the partnership
of MLO and Northern Illinois University. We would like to hear
from you, and should you have any problems, you can contact MLO
or NIU's College of Health and Human Sciences. MLO and NIU want
to thank you for your support and hope you will share with other
colleagues this resource for continuing education and excellent reading
on other topics.