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FEATURE Laboratory ManageMent


“A vast amount of knowledge and expertise must go into successfully managing a medical laboratory”


by Integration and Self-Control’. Needless to say the book sat on my bookshelf, unopened, for many years. I was too busy being a laboratory manager to read any relevant books! I trust that the following will be useful to anyone with a senior position in a medical laboratory setting, especially laboratory managers. If you are reading this and you have already decided the topic is too ‘touchy-feely’ for you, then I suggest that you keep going anyway because you probably need to read this more than anyone else. The lay persons’ perception of medical laboratory folk can be rather amusing. I’m referring to the image of the ‘mad’ scientist mixing colorful solutions or looking down a microscope in a back room somewhere. I enjoy any opportunity I can get to remind people of the importance of these ‘mad’ scientists who work within rigid quality standards to provide test results that directly influence patient care and management. There is more to managing a laboratory than just doing tests. A vast amount of knowledge and expertise must go into successfully managing a medical laboratory. The Clinical Laboratory Management Association identifies ten domains of body of knowledge for medical laboratory management (see table 1). This article addresses some aspects of Human Resource management that I consider essential for successfully managing laboratory personnel.


I


had the privilege of speaking at the Medlab Laboratory Management Conference as part of the 2011


Arab Health Congress in Dubai. My topic was ‘The human side of laboratory management’. It seems that the subject matter struck a nerve with the delegates, perhaps because it had not featured in earlier Medlab conference programs. So when I was asked by Medlab magazine to submit an article, I was only too pleased to write


about what has been one of my driving passions over the past three decades. In 1993 I was promoted from Head of Biochemistry Department to Laboratory Manager in a middle-sized private medical laboratory with 120 employees. Having been thrust into this position without much formal training - which I suspect is fairly typical for many laboratory managers reading this - I went out and bought myself a book by George S. Odiorne entitled ‘The Human Side of Management: Management


EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP There are many theories and definitions of leadership. You won’t be disappointed if you Google the word. I certainly will not be reviewing all of these here. Suffice it to say that your leadership style will largely determine how effective a leader you are. If you are an authoritarian (autocratic)


manager, you are making all the decisions and you do not allow your subordinates to participate in the decision-making process at all. 


MedLab Issue 2 2011 11


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