For me, this is the time of year for grateful reminiscence about the many people who have moved through my life over the last 12 months. Without them — short or tall, chubby or slim, funny or serious, young or old, rich or poor — life would be simply boring. I am as pleased as punch — and lucky, to boot — to work here at the MLO offices with Denise DiRamio, Carol Vovcsko, and Lora Harrell. MLO is also fortunate to have five astute clinical lab experts as its editorial advisory board, along with our newest columnist, Ronald Mazer — all of whom teach us about things we never learned in school! A more agreeable and upstanding group I have yet to meet.
We welcomed our new president, Kristine Russell, earlier in the year as our new “go-to” leader in her family’s publishing business — we look forward to a prosperous year in 2011 under her guidance. And our former publisher, Vern Nelson, still maintains an office on site and, happily, visits us from time to time.
To our readers, we appreciate your continued interest in all things MLO. We thank you for your unwavering support for the past 41 years now. It is a privilege to produce this publication as well as our annual Clinical Laboratory Reference, our monthly LABline, and our online and digital versions of MLO.
To produce MLO each month also takes our Production crew, our Ad Contracts/Ad Traffic support, and our IT/Web team. And our true unsung heroes and heroines — Accounting, Circulation, Human Resources, and Marketing — certainly carry a large portion of the weight to keep NP Communications up and running so that MLO can come into your homes and offices each month.
The past year also has brought many changes to your workplace. Many of your long-time colleagues have left for retirement’s supposed greener pastures. They are being replaced by young lab pros with whom you can trade your experiential knowledge for their “savvy” about advanced medical lab technology, as do MLO’s “mad med-lab techs,” Colleen Gannon and Chuck Millstein, in our Mentoring Minute Diary. What better way to aid in the recruitment of more young people to staff the country’s labs than to have them well-versed in what is in store for them in terms of high-tech medicine in the lab?
A slew of new rules and regulations from different governmental and professional organizations means unlearning some of what you have always done — and learning what you may not be doing much longer if you are on the retirement track. New tests, new equipment, new software, new hardware, and new electronic records all mean getting accustomed to the new way of conducting lab business. New Year’s Day 2011 is the official start of the baby-boomer generation (I got here two days too soon), so there may be many other retirees on the footpath when you walk for the last time right out those lab doors.
The last statistics we published in July 2009 gave numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing 167,000 practicing clinical lab technologists in 2006, with a projected need for 21,000 more by 2016.
Contrast those figures with the education programs available in this field which have dropped from 6,000 graduates from 700 clinical lab science programs in 1975 to just over 2,000 graduates from the remaining 232 programs in 2005.
As far back as 2005, 15.8% of U.S. medical lab technologists and technicians were foreign-born immigrants to the U.S. who were needed to keep American hospital labs staffed appropriately.
Whether 2011 finds you at your lab — or finds you celebrating retirement on that comfy sofa, or taking a long-awaited trip, or recuperating from that coveted facelift — our best wishes go out to you and yours for a peaceful close to this year and a joyful beginning to the next one!