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Inside the Lab Profession, Training and education

Leading for Change

As members of the medical laboratory, we are offered the chance to affect change in health care every day. We touch almost every part of a patient’s journey, providing the critical thinking and diagnoses that will help steer their course of care – and potentially save their life. To hold that kind of influence is both powerful and intimidating, but it is an essential part of the role we, as pathologists and medical laboratory professionals, play in patient care.

Getting to that place of influence, however, doesn’t happen overnight – and it isn’t always a simple path. It is through dedicated leadership that the laboratory has become an authority. The men and women of the lab who advocate for the profession – who raise their voices to educate and inform both patients and clinical colleagues – are sitting at the table and helping to guide care.

We have seen and felt a maelstrom of change over the past year. If it has taught us anything, it is that laboratory professionals can and should pride ourselves on our leadership capabilities. We are leaders, each and every one of us, in our own ways. Leadership can take myriad forms in and outside the lab, and it is up to our profession to ensure that we continually seek out and encourage rising leaders.

We deepen our impact on patient care when we collaborate. We become better leaders when we support each other.

As a new group of pathology residents start their training and new laboratory professionals enter the field, the landscape of health care looks decidedly different than it did even two years ago. It’s exciting to see how these potential young leaders will grow and how their perspectives will help shape the field of pathology and laboratory medicine – and health care overall. It is critical that those who are already established in the profession connect with those who are new to it. Each of us can learn from each other. We are #StrongerTogether when we share our knowledge. We deepen our impact on patient care when we collaborate. We become better leaders when we support each other.

With great leadership comes great responsibility – and the medical laboratory is well versed in shouldering vast amounts of responsibility. We are, after all, responsible for 70 percent of the information on a patient’s medical chart. It is imperative that the laboratory continues to lead in health care to drive change and contribute the guidance needed to provide high-quality care. Embracing our role as leaders isn’t a question; it is a must.

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About the Author

E. Blair Holladay

CEO of the American Society for Clinical Pathology

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