Archived Story

Bill Bradford: By way of the South Shore line

Published 8:27am Thursday, August 6, 2009

That first college class in chemistry was a disaster.

Dr. Chen began the course lectures with the assumption that each student already had completed a chemistry course in high school. I had  not.

English was a second language for him and he had not mastered the English diction.
I could not  understand his speech.  Early on, not being fond of the prospective “F” grade in chemistry, I withdrew from  the course.

When I registered for General Chemistry under Dr. Blue at a different college, the change was like going from night to day.

There was no supposition of perquisite high school chemistry and I could understand his native English speech. It was wonderful !

Perquisite courses for Clinical Laboratory Science majors were the same as for  pre-medicine. Eventually, I completed courses in organic chemistry, quantitative analysis and biochemistry.

After completing the senior year clinical laboratory courses we sat for certification and licensure examinations.

In 1988, Congress enacted legislation which mandated the licensing of all clinical laboratories and established qualifications for those who were employed in those laboratories.

When you have a specimen of  blood, urine or body tissue analyzed in the hospital laboratory or in a laboratory at the physician’s office, the analysis is done by persons who are qualified to do so.

They have completed training in chemistry, hematology, urinalysis, bacteriology and the other laboratory sciences required.

The laboratories in which they work; the methodologies they use; and the records of patient reports and quality control are inspected on-site regularly.

There were 235,000 full-time laboratory positions in the United States in 2000.
Many of the people who fill these positions are members of the national associations which provide continuing education for their members.

Most of the days of last week, two of these national associations held their yearly conventions in Chicago.

The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and the American Association of Clinical Chemistry sponsored the seminars and meetings which were located in McCormick Place and the Renaissance Hotel.

There were more than 400 companies sponsoring exhibits to promote their products.
Analyzers,  reagents, reference services and recruiters were all present vying for your attention.

Two of the state licenses in clinical laboratory science which I maintain require continuing education in the clinical sciences.

Attendance at the convention’s seminars partially fulfilled those requirements.

So that is why I was up early and home late by way of the South Shore line last week.

In addition to attending lectures on the sciences, I collected about four dozen ball-point pens and a bag full of various candies.

The exhibitors give away the freebies as part of their strategy for gaining a few moments of your attention to their products or services.

Next time I will try to give you insight into the newer concepts gained in the lectures.

Bill Bradford retired to the rigors of a small farm in Pokagon Township.

He has served as director of clinical laboratories in physician group practices and hospitals.
For a decade he was an educator in clinical laboratory sciences at Andrews University.

Bill Bradford retired to the rigors of a small farm in Pokagon Township.
He has served as director of clinical laboratories in physician group practices and hospitals.  For a decade he was an educator in clinical laboratory sciences at Andrews University.

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