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April 24-30 is National Med Lab Week (NMLW), a time to celebrate the laboratory profession and showcase the critical role its staff play in delivering effective healthcare.
Most patients never meet the technician who finds the perfect match for their blood transfusion, or the technologist who prepares their biopsy sample for a diagnosis. So, this is a week for laboratory professionals to draw attention to what they do and show why it's important.
"The work done in medical laboratories can connect across all areas of a hospital," says Dr. Runjan Chetty, Medical Director and Anatomical Pathologist, UHN Laboratory Medicine Program (LMP).
"From the first time a patient has their blood drawn, to follow up exams years after treatment, laboratory staff are there along the way to deliver effective testing and accurate results."
Because most lab work is conducted behind the scenes, LMP staff will be on the front lines this week, sharing the ins and outs of their profession at a different UHN site each day. Staff from various LMP departments will be offering details on how their lab works and how it may connect to you.
Stop by the NMLW booth between 9 a.m. and noon, and learn how the work done by LMP staff contributes to UHN patient care.
Schedule as follows:
Booth visitors will also be able to speak with Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT) students enrolled at the Michener Institute of Education at UHN. They will be on site celebrating NMLW alongside their LMP counterparts, with a mock phlebotomy station where patrons can learn how blood is drawn, and can receive advice informative material on pursuing an education in the lab.
"It's exciting to see this kind of collaboration so early in the integration between Michener and UHN," says Chris Cursio, manager, Point-of-Care Testing, and clinical coordinator for MLT students. "It will be a great opportunity for booth visitors to meet future lab professionals, and there's a lot we can learn from MLT student's fresh perspective on laboratory science."
The scope of UHN labs
Laboratory testing has an impact on nearly every patient that visits a UHN hospital. With roughly 500 staff, LMP's team of laboratory experts conduct thousands of tests daily to help provide accurate and timely diagnoses to UHN patients.
When a patient is told, "we're sending your sample to the lab," LMP staff become responsible for the handling and testing of that patient's blood, tissue, or other bodily fluid. Between routine blood analysis, rare disease biochemistry testing, next-generation DNA sequencing, and pathologist diagnoses; laboratory staff help lay the foundation for an estimated 60 to 70 per cent of medical decisions made during a patient's hospital visit.
"It takes the work of all LMP technicians and technologists to deliver timely test results to UHN patients," says Dr. Chetty. "Our key focus is patient care and our staff provide what's needed to make the best decisions as patients move forward on their hospital journey."
This is just the beginning…
The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) organizes a theme for NMLW each year, and because "a lot happens between giving a sample and getting results," CSMLS has aptly named this year's theme: This is only the beginning.
For a comprehensive look at how the laboratory is involved with your health, visit the CSMLS National Med Lab Week site