Reader: MTs Should Get Out of the Basement
To the Editor:
In response to "Reader Asks: Why Bother?"
(Letters to the Editor. Sept. 26, p. 5), I have
not experienced the same issues they have,
even though I live and work in the Northwest
and have been in the field a little
longer than they have. I don't really want
to go through point by point, but will
focus on one main comment and point.
"I wonder what these different organizations
have done for us that is significantly
important for our careers? I have
not seen the effect of their efforts on my
So the key point is that we govern our
careers, and we participate in these organizations
to make them better to help the
growth and sustainability of our careers.
My main involvement was with ASMT
(ASCLS). It was mostly run by volunteers
who wanted to improve the profession.
I worked on the local and state level in
Pennsylvania. Did that person attend local
meetings or run for office? Did they contribute
to PAC funds to help lobby? Did
they help mentor the new hires to make
sure they stayed in the profession and performed
well? Did they set up tables at lab
week to show the public what we do? Did
they write in to senators when CLIA was
being voted on? I could go on.
Just compare the early starts of the nursing profession to our start and how each handled
the process -- both on the part of the nurses and the organizations that formed and the
lobbying. They have been successful and we have not. Mostly due to the fact that many
technologists didn't unify into their own group, but stayed attached to an organization run
for and by pathologists.
Please note that nursing professional groups and certifying bodies are not overseen by
doctors. Many technologists will not spend the time nor money in furthering their profession
by uniting and accomplishing goals through interaction, activism, lobbying and promotion
(public relations). Note there is special federal funding for those becoming nurses, but
not for those who want to be technologists. Ask why? The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Many med techs have not stood up and squeaked. We like to hide in the basement with our
tests and gripe to each other. The nurses get out there and get noticed.
Our own reticence and non-action has not helped us. When trying to provide meetings
and continuing education, the complaint I heard was they were not going to do anything
extra if not paid for it. That is the mindset of a person doing a job. They blame others when
the job is not where they wish it was. The mindset of a professional is that they are involved
with their career. (Back in the day, it was debated if we are a profession in the same way
that doctors and nurses are when it comes to unionizing, licensure and other legal issues.)
Today, it's also called "ownership." If you are a professional then you own it, and don't
blame others, but fix it. You don't sit back and think some organization that you are not
part of will do it.
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