Competency testing: Can it be fun?

From:"Morken, Tim" <>

Believe it or not I just ENJOYED at talk about competency testing! It was
given here at the CDC by Daniel Haun, of Medical Center of Louisiana in New
Orleans, who you may remember had an article on the subject in a recent
Laboratory Medicine (A journal of the US American Society of Clinical
Pathologists), "Taking Care of Momma." He is a very dynamic and humorous
speaker and there was no one dozing in this lecture! I highly recommed him
as a speaker to any state histology society who wants a great talk on this
subject (his contact info is below).

His main emphasis was on the fact that competency testing is generally way
too easy to identify weaknesses. He gave examples from his own lab wherein
their pass rate was near 100 percent but major mistakes were still being
made. When they instituted difficult tests the pass rate dropped
dramatically and they were able to make amends through focused training
(training those who needed it), and their failure rates also dropped. He
especially recommended extending testing to "support" personnel who have do
deal with lab issues even though they have no lab training.

Another emphasis was on those in the lab who, wrongly, have a high opinion
of their abilities. They found most of the mistakes were made by people who
had little knowledge of the problem they had to deal with and took on
responsibilites far beyond their actual abilities, and rarely asked for
help. He recommends tough oversight and "counseling" to "recalibrate" their
awareness of their abilities.

Anyway, I was wondering how histology labs are handling competency testing
these days? 

Daniel E. Huan
Director, Client Services
Medical Center of Louisiana
Pathology Dept
1532 Tulane Ave
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 568-2989

Tim Morken, BA, EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
Infectious Disease Pathology Activity
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333

PH: 404-639-3964
FAX: 404-639-3043


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