NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --
Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, to place from April 23 to 29, is an annual celebration that recognizes the extensive training lab professionals go through and the critical role they play in disease diagnosis and prevention and in supporting our goal of Zero Harm.
The week also provides an opportunity to highlight the men and women of the 99th Medical Support Squadron Clinical Laboratory and the important role they play in healthcare and mission readiness here.
Often the dedicated efforts of laboratory professional goes unnoticed.
“MLPW is important because we do so much and it’s a lot of behind the scenes work so most people don’t really know what we do,” said Airman 1st Class Dashawn Robinson, 99th MDSS lab technician. “We do more than just draw blood. We do a lot of hands-on work that takes a lot of troubleshooting.”
The clinical laboratory is vitally important. Even though patients may see only a few lab techs, there are many more working behind closed doors ensuring that patients receive excellent medical care building a high reliability organization.
The lab consists of several different sections with each being just as important as the next, including:
Core Lab: contains the chemistry, hematology, coagulation and urinalysis sections. Lab technicians perform a variety of tests in these sections including glucose, cholesterol, Coumadin checks, complete blood counts, and several more.
Microbiology: identifies bacteria, viruses, fungus and parasites.
Blood Bank: provides patients with much needed blood products in an emergency or during surgeries. Identifies antibodies and other clinical conditions that could cause harm to the patient when receiving blood products.
Anatomic Pathology: prepares and examines tissue to determine if a disease is present
Even though each section is specialized in the tests they perform, all of the lab sections work together to provide the best patient care. The lab operates around the clock to make sure that the patients’ needs are met and to assist the provider teams with any test that they might need done to help diagnose the patient’s condition.
“As long as the Emergency Room is open we are open,” said Staff Sgt. Heaven Hanson, 99th MDSS NCO in charge of point of care. “We are here at all times. For example, if someone is bleeding out we are here to get them blood products. It is an important job that I think a lot of people don’t really know about. They just see the blood show up but how does it get to you? How is it tested beforehand to make sure there is no reaction and such? That’s where we come in.”
The 99th MDSS laboratory professionals deliver accurate testing on a daily basis and serve as a part of the installation’s health care team. By using state-of-the art technology and instrumentation helps the detection of potential health problems. The sooner a disease is caught, increases the changes for a positive outcome. Seventy percent of medical decisions are based on laboratory testing results.
As part of MLPW celebration, 99th MDSS has several activities planned to further recognize all the hard work the lab technicians put in day in and day out.
According to Robinson, a few of those activities include several lab themed games, team building exercises, Ultimate Frisbee, potluck and a BBQ social to end the week.
“Lab Week just helps remind you that you are excited to be a lab tech,” said Hanson. “We do our job every day and it may get tedious and boring at times but, this week really lets us take the time to appreciate what we do and how we are important. I think it brings us together in that sense.”