A tremendous challenge faced by clinical laboratories is the availability of enough qualified personnel to meet their staffing needs. It can be difficult to fill open positions, which means that many laboratories struggle with being understaffed. For clinical laboratory scientists this often means working more than one job or putting in extra hours to try and fill the gap.
The outlook for the workforce shortage is not expected to improve in the foreseeable future, as about 40% of current personnel are expected to retire within the next 10 years. The U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics predicts a workforce shortage of more than 150,000 clinical laboratory scientists in the United States.
MedicalLab Management magazine published an article titled, “Laboratory Staffing and a Faltering Connection.” In addition to the current and impending workforce shortage, it discusses the dramatic reduction in the number of accredited clinical laboratory science academic programs over the years. The number of clinical laboratory scientists graduating from these programs is not sufficient to meet staffing needs. Clinical rotations are another important component of a medical laboratory scientist’s training, but resource and budget constraints have led hospitals to cut back in this area.
The article provides a specific example of these challenges. It describes the obstacles faced by Critical Access Hospitals in the state of Idaho, where remote areas, long distances between hospitals, and rugged geography present unique challenges. A survey of these hospitals was conducted to enable further study of the impact of staffing shortages. It looked at the effects of retirement as well as education and training for current laboratory professionals.
With clinical laboratories doing more with fewer staff members, poorly performing or unreliable storage equipment is the last thing they should have to worry about. Helmer Scientific supports the efforts of clinical laboratories by providing reliable medical-grade cold storage products that our customers can depend on.