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The NAACLS News

Your home base for all NAACLS announcements, news and special features

Category Archives: President’s Report

By Yasmen Simonian, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM

This is my last article as the President of the NAACLS Board of Directors. It was over twenty years ago when I started as a reviewer, site visitor, RCAP member, PARC member and then on to the Board of Directors. It has been an educational and highly rewarding journey. I have learned a lot, shared a lot, and participated in various professional presentations and meetings. Nonetheless and more importantly, I have met great colleagues and individuals that have evolved into lifetime friendships. Thank you NAACLS for this valuable opportunity.

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By Yasmen Simonian, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM

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Traditional dances in Xi’an, China


It was over thirty years ago that Frankie Gibbs presented her keynote speech addressing Blood Banking in China at our Region VIII, Intermountain State Seminar (IMSS) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was an interesting talk which I never forgot. She showed us how blood was collected and how it was distributed. I wanted to see it with my own eyes and experience something different from what we did in the United States at that time.

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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

(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/value)

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?

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By Fred Rodriguez, Jr., MD, President, NAACLS Board of Directors

Competence: the ability to do something well (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/competence)

In my last posting, I commented on “quality” (i.e., a high level of value or excellence). “Competence” may seem synonymous with “quality,” but “the ability to do something well” may (or may not) result in a “high level of value or excellence.” You can possibly be assessed as being “competent” (depending on the standards used) and not have “quality,” but you certainly cannot achieve “quality” without being “competent” (as assessed by an appropriate set of standards).

Evaluating and documenting “competence” of laboratory personnel is required by CLIA ’88, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) (and the “deemed status” accrediting agencies) mandate the assessment semi-annually for the first year of patient testing, and annually thereafter. Also mandated are the required methods for assessing “competence” (42 CFR 493:1413). These methods include:

  • Direct observation of test performance
  • Monitoring test result recording and reporting
  • Review of worksheets, QC, PT, and maintenance records
  • Direct observation of instrument maintenance
  • Assessment of test performance (PT/blind samples)
  • Assessment of problem solving skills

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by Fred Rodriguez, Jr., MD,  President, NAACLS Board of Directors

Quality: a high level of value or excellence (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quality)

For many persons, “quality” is like art. They know what they like when they see it, but when asked to specify the criteria used to determine “like”, answers are often vague and illogical. The vagueness and illogic comes from the characteristic of assigning “value” when assessing “quality”. Assigning “value” is extremely variable and personal, and is the basis for the cliché “what is treasure to some, is trash to others”. (Just watch the TV shows “Pawn Stars” or “American Pickers” on the History Channel.) 

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By Fred H. Rodriguez, Jr., M.D.

President, NAACLS Board of Directors

“The only constant in life is change.” This is an aphorism that I coined many years ago, and its truth is verified for me almost every day.

Hopefully when change occurs, the change results in improving a situation (i.e., in some way makes things better). Very often, however, we do not (or cannot) appreciate or understand why change is necessary. Hence, it is a consistent characteristic of human nature to prefer the “status quo” rather than to actively pursue or embrace change.

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By Fred Rodriguez, MD

President, NAACLS Board of Directors

 “inertia: indisposition to motion, exertion, or change”

(Merriam-Webster Dictionary, m-w.com)

Many individuals seek comfort in the “status quo.” They seek to be “inert.” They work to develop an understanding of the existing situation and “rules” in order to achieve a “comfort zone” in the here and now. There is resistance to change because change alters the “status quo.” Change forces individuals to learn new behaviors, or, at a minimum, to modify existing behaviors.

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