By Fred Rodriguez, Jr., MD, NAACLS Board of Directors
Value: a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged; the monetary worth of something; relative worth, utility, or importance
The cost of something may have nothing to do with its “value”. It may have cost Picasso only $30 to $40 for paint and canvas for a painting, yet the “value” of his artwork causes his paintings to sell today for millions of dollars. But, the “value” of something is not constant (e.g. just follow the volatility of the stock market or the housing market). “Relative worth” demands constant monitoring and maintenance for “value” to be sustained.
What is the “value” of the diploma or certificate from your program (i.e. how are your graduates “valued” in the job market)? Do your graduates get a fair return for the cost of the education you provide? What do you do to assure, maintain, and enhance the relative worth, utility, or importance of your program?
These are important questions that each program should reflect on. There is no simple or singular answer to these questions, yet providing “value” in your program is just as important as providing “quality” and being “competent”.
What is the “value” of NAACLS accreditation to your program? Being NAACLS accredited has costs in terms of money and staff time, yet obtaining and retaining NAACLS accreditation validates that your program meets “benchmark standards” of the profession. Being NAACLS accredited also means that your graduates have successfully completed a stringent educational process which is reflected in the “value” of their diploma or certificate, and graduates from NAACLS accredited programs consistently have a higher success rate on certification examinations which enhances their personal “marketability” in successfully finding jobs. For these reasons, NAACLS accreditation is not just “a nice thing to have”, but is a significant and substantial asset to your program. The “value” of NAACLS accreditation is worth the costs. NAACLS accreditation is “a fair return for something exchanged”. These points should also be clearly understood and appreciated by the administrators of the institution in which your program resides.
I hope you agree that NAACLS accreditation has “worth, utility, and importance”. It’s important that your students understand and appreciate that attending a NAACLS accredited program has “worth, utility, and importance” for them personally. The “value” of their diploma or certificate from a NAACLS accredited program gives them a competitive edge to successfully pass their certification examinations and to successfully compete for a job. As Program Directors, your efforts to assure, preserve, and enhance your programs are reflected in obtaining and retaining NAACLS accreditation.
This will be my last “blog” as President of NAACLS. I turn this position over to Ms. Yasmen Simonian in September 2015 at the next NAACLS Board meeting. To have served as President of this organization has been a personal and professional privilege. As a pathologist with over forty years of experience in laboratory medicine, I long ago realized the “value” of professional medical laboratory scientists and other laboratory professionals to this profession. The quality of medical care and the ability of clinical physicians to take care of patients would not be possible without the graduates of your programs. I personally thank each of you for the job you do every day, often in resource constrained environments, and for your efforts to obtain and retain NAACLS accreditation as an asset that assures, maintains, and enhances your programs.