April 23-29, 2023, marks Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, celebrating medical laboratory professionals’ hard work, contributions, and vital role in healthcare and patient advocacy. This year’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-designated theme is “The Future is Lab,” recognizing how lab professionals protect our future by adapting to our health challenges through innovation, dedication, and expertise.
History of Progress
The clinical laboratory became a standard component of medicine at the start of the 20th century. However, the evolution of medical diagnosis and the examination of specimens dates back much further. Tests were performed on human urine before 400 BC., and the first notation of hematuria was recorded around AD 50. Today, the work of lab professionals is key in diagnosis and treatment.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, lab professionals performed approximately 13 billion laboratory tests in the United States each year, impacting two-thirds of all physician-made medical decisions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates more than 300,000 lab professionals work in the U.S., with a 7 percent job growth in the next eight years. Unfortunately, like nursing, labs are facing a critical workforce shortage, and also, like nursing, lab professionals are suffering from burnout. According to The American Society for Clinical Pathology’s survey, over 85 percent of respondents reported burnout, and an additional 36.5 percent complained of inadequate staffing. This is all the more reason to celebrate and show appreciation this Medical Laboratory Professionals Week.
Celebrating Med Lab Week
The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute has plenty of activities and resources to celebrate Lab Week, and the CDC encourages all to use their The Future is Lab digital toolkit to honor, showcase, and reflect on laboratory professionals’ valuable contributions and impact on public health and patient care.
Facilities can also:
- Set up a Lab Week photo booth
- Decorate their break room
- Order catering or have a potluck
- Hold an open house for high school students to showcase medical laboratory work as a career.
- Handout gift cards
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