The American Medical Technologists honed their craft and met up with colleagues in the City of Lakes for the 71st annual Educational Program and National Meeting.
From June 22-27 in Minneapolis, AMT members fulfilled continuing education requirements, spent time with old friends and got to see the sites of Minnesota, including the famed Mall of America.
Attendees had a ball at the welcome party, awards banquet, dinner cruise and the president's reception. But they also learned a lot, too.
"Don't sit back. Be involved. Be an 'all out' person," said AMT President Paul Brown, D.MIN, AMT, before the Keynote Address. "The camaraderie we have within this group, you won't find anywhere else."
Not a Miracle
On June 23, US Airways First Officer Jeffrey Skiles gave a riveting speech, "Landing on the Hudson." Skiles was among the crew of Flight 1549 that landed on the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009.
AMT Executive Director Christopher Damon, JD, introduced Skiles as "a regular guy who went to work every day on a normal job. But then something rather amazing occurred, and since that time, he has had some amazing stories to tell."
After reassuring the audience he is still a regular guy, Skiles gave some details AMT members might not have read about in the newspapers. He said this was the first time in 50 years there has been a water landing without losing a single life--all 150 passengers and five crew members aboard the flight survived the crash.
Skiles, the son of pilots, said he always wanted to be a pilot as well. When he was younger, he pumped gas for planes and was a flight instructor.
Everything had gone well until Jan. 15, 2009. "Everyone has a story about their worst flight. Missing a connecting flight, maybe even sleeping in an airway terminal. Well, let me tell you a story," he joked.
He said Jan. 15 was a cold day in New York, and they were ready to fly out of LaGuardia Airport. He had only met pilot Charles "Sulley" Sullenberger 3 days before the flight, he noted. Skiles added this was his first trip as a regular line pilot on the Airbus. It was his job to load computer data and talk to the ground controller, and to set controls for take off and landing.
Once the plane was airborne and hit 30,000 feet 2 minutes into the flight, a line of migratory Canadian geese showed up in front of the plane's nose and subsequently got caught in the engines, which rolled back to idle.
When Skiles realized what happened, he said he felt "like I had a cold. My head swelled to twice its normal size and I felt like I was in a little bit of a fog."
Sullenberger and Skiles figured out their only safe option was to land on the Hudson River because they did not have enough time to safely land at the two nearest airports. There was only enough time to tell the passengers to brace for impact.
"In the back of my mind I thought, 'This could not be happening to me,'" Skiles remembered. "Every warning signal in the cockpit was going off. The final glide felt like sinking down into a bathtub."
A few moments stick out in his mind from that 5-and-a-half-minute flight. After they landed in the river and the passengers started evacuating, Skiles said a 25-year-old guy in only his boxers and socks ran up to him and asked what he should do. Skiles calmly told him to evacuate.
He found out later this man had been preparing to swim to shore, without knowing about the rescue boats. It's a good thing he didn't-the water was 20 degrees that day.
Skiles said he admired the way the passengers helped each other out and worked together. There was no pushing, no shoving-only teamwork.
He also remembers calling his wife and just telling her he was "probably not going to get home tonight."
New York Governor David Paterson coined the phrase "miracle on the Hudson," but the humble Skiles said it was no miracle and he is not a hero, despite the outpouring of gratitude from the passengers and his new "celebrity" status.
He said everyone was safe because of training, procedures, teamwork and accountability-facets medical technologists use in their jobs as well, he added.
Skiles noted there were 20,000 flight hours between himself and Sullenberger, and that pilot training has become much better over the years and pilots are better prepared to deal with accidents.
Call outs and commands are stated the same way each time as procedure, and the whole crew is always confident the others know their roles inside and out.
Skiles is back to flying and doing what he loves. He sees Jan. 15 as "an application of a lifetime of training, procedures and teamwork-not a miracle."
Motivation and Changes
Also on June 23, James S. Hernandez, MD, MS, medical director of laboratories, chair, Division of Clinical Pathology; assistant professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Arizona Campus, gave a lecture on "Adjusting Your Sails: Motivational Skills for Allied Health Professionals."
Dr. Hernandez has visited laboratories in 43 states and has been engaged in working in mentorships with laboratorians. He realizes what comes with the job of being a clinical laboratory scientist.
"Remember, what you do makes a difference in patient care.and that can sometimes be stressful," Dr. Hernandez said.
Dr. Hernandez used quotes and research to show attendees how they can deal with changes in the laboratory. He said laboratorians need to know their trigger points for stress, which can include apathy, withdrawal, depression, work dread; irritability, anger, hostility; and frustration and disorganization, among many others.
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