By Lt. J.G. Fae L DeForrest, MSC, USN, Department of Pathology, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
In honor of celebrating the 38th annual Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (April 22-26) I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to learn about laboratory professionals. Who are we? Usually located in the basement of medical facilities, we tend to be forgotten about. Of course when there is a problem, we are found.
National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week originated in 1975 as National Medical Laboratory Week, or NMLW, under the auspices of the American Society for Medical Technology, now called the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS).
NMLW is sponsored by more than 13 societies and organizations. The role that the laboratory plays in patient care is a very important one. The medical team relies on the testing results for their patients’ course of treatment. The laboratory, along with other ancillary departments is essential in quality health care. According to ASCLS, there are approximately 300,000 practitioners of clinical laboratory science in the United States.
At Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda, we have many different missions within the department which include: specimen collection and accessioning, surgical pathology, cytopathology, autopsy pathology, infectious disease testing, transfusion services, blood donor center collection and screening, and clinical and reference lab testing. More than three million reportable tests are done per year here in our labs at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda.
For more information about Laboratory Professionals and how to become one please visit American Society of Clinical Pathology’s website at www.ascp.org. Another resource that is available for further information is www.CAP.org.