Friday, May 30, 2008

i guess i'm gonna stick around here for a while, then.

Huh, funny. I forgot I had a blog for a while.

Well, let's see what Auntie Andrea has here in her bag o' updates....

First off, and clearly most importanly: I dyed my hair brown again. Last time I did it, it stayed "brown" for about two days, then it looked like my natural color for a week or so, then it all faded out and it just looked like I had cheap highlights-- which was exactly the case, mind you-- but it was still a thousand times better than the awful self-done highlights I'd dyed to cover up in the first place. Maybe this time it'll hold a little longer. All I'm saying is, could my hair just remain a color which actually occurs in nature?

Sunday I'm going to Boston for the ASM national conference. Missy and I are totally stoked. It's nerd heaven, really. All manner of swag, yes of course. But even more than that, the sessions, symposiums, consortiums, and all such what-have-you will be so interesting, and exclusively specific to the field I'm most interested in (which is, of course, microbiology).

Now, on to real business:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm thinking about graduate school. Only this time, I went so far as to meet with a professor of the program I'm considering. Let me lay a bit of background by reminding you that I'm a medical technologist. That's one of the programs I graduated from at OSU. What MTs generally do is become certified post-graduation, work in a clinical laboratory, and make a career out of it. There isn't presently too much of a career ladder-- you can become a manager or a senior technologist, certainly-- but your job doesn't change a whole lot over the years.

In terms of furthering your education as an MT (as scientists-at-heart often want to do just out of a love of learning and), there currently only exists an official Master's degree (MS)-- which is all well and good, but the opportunities for MT's with a MS are really not all that different from those for MT's who just have a Bachelor's (BS). This is a well-known problem that clinical laboratory associations and societies are working on to improve.

What we, the lab people, would really like is to have more opportunities for a career span, like pharmacy for example: there are pharm techs, and there are PharmD's. We want a clinical doctorate. Someone with a clinical doctorate could potentially be a real expert on the science while still having the experience and technical knowledge that a tech would. Presently we have three very separate things: we have techs, we have scientists, and we have doctors (although doctors, pathologists namely, do know their science). The techs know the tests that they run. The scientists are experts in the hard science, and what they know is research. The doctors know clinical care. Wouldn't it be great to have a position that a.) knew the technicalities of clinical testing, b.) knew an area of science REALLY well, and c.) knew how to work with clinicians to make good patient test choices? That's the aim of creating a clinical doctorate, from what I understand.

That's something I would really like to be. And it doesn't exist-- yet.

But the people in my profession are working on it. It's been a decade in the making, but they're getting close. And the likelihood is that it'd be available for me to start by the time I finished my MS in clinical lab science, and that my work in a Master's program could be counted as work toward the doctorate. I could be one of the first.

That's kind of exciting.

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