College of Southern Maryland Medical Lab Technician (MLT) Program Coordinator and Professor Tiffany Gill was recently named a Lab Hero runner-up by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification for her important contributions to medical laboratory professionals across the globe. Nominated by her peers, Gill was recognized for her “boundless energy” and commitment to preparing students to enter medical laboratory careers both in the classroom and via her popular YouTube channel, “Medical Lab Lady Gill” which has nearly 24,000 subscribers worldwide.
Gill has been with CSM for 10 years, and in that time has helped to build awareness of the importance of the MLT profession and create a strong pipeline of qualified professionals to enter the high-demand career. She was also pivotal in earning the maximum accreditation award for CSM from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) during each accreditation cycle. The program’s standards and results since its first accreditation in 2014 set the stage for NAACLS to extend the college’s MLT program accreditation through to April 2029.
In a recent interview with ASCP’s online news digest ‘Critical Values,’ Gill told Contributing Writer Darcy Lewis how her career goal is to increase the accuracy and safety of healthcare for all patients, and how her YouTube channel – and some pretty cool swag – assists with her outreach.
“I started the YouTube channel in 2017,” Gill explained. “At first my motivation was mainly to streamline my teaching, improve transparency, and accessibility. Standardizing the content provided to students with a high level of flexibility has freed up class time for knowledge application. The videos have enabled students to review at leisure and help me to reach students of all learning styles. Each student has “the best seat in the house” for every procedure regardless of where they were seated in the lab on any given day. My other intention was to use the videos to promote our MLT Program and the profession. If the channel helped other programs and students then that was a bonus.”
As for the swag, Gill explains that she wants her students to wear ‘lab swag’ and be ‘walking billboards for the lab profession.’
“At first, I purchased lab swag to hand out to students at the end of each semester who have passed their assessments with a C or higher,” Gill told Lewis. “In the past, it has been difficult to find prizes that were relevant and accurate. So now I’m using Medical Lab Lady Gill swag as prizes and teaching tools. When I wear one of my swag shirts in class, it helps makes things clear, like the look: ‘the right order to draw is right here on my shirt.’”
She said the swag also stimulates conversation with the community about the profession.
“Most people only see physicians and nurses as part of their care when there is a whole team of professionals performing diagnostic testing and other processes behind the scenes (there are other professions other than the laboratory as well),” she shared. “Community awareness of the healthcare team is a great passion of mine. The lab is the science behind the patient’s diagnosis and what is driving the patient’s treatment in most cases. Improving understanding of how the healthcare team works together improves the effectiveness and safety of care.”
Gill has been an ASCP member for 16 years and serves in several capacities within the association. She is an ASCP mentor to other medical laboratory professionals and program directors, a Social Media Committee member, and is in her training year of the Board of Certification’s Hematology Exam Committee. Gill began using her YouTuber role as a platform to celebrate the laboratory last year through collaborations with ASCP. In the fall of 2021, she teamed up with ASCP’s Council of Laboratory Professionals Committee to institute the largest hematology competition in history known as the “Cell Bowl.” Seventy-one medical laboratory science and medical laboratory technician programs competed to be the first Super Cell Bowl champions. This October will see the second installment of the competition. A similar gameshow is now in the works for Medical Laboratory Professionals Week April 24-30, 2022.
CSM’s two-year MLT program prepares students to perform diagnostic lab work that is a critical part of patient care. MLTs perform tests that include complete blood counts, urinalysis, cross-matching blood for transfusion, identifying pathogenic organisms, and chemical analysis of blood and other body fluids. CSM MLT graduates can apply to take the American Society for Clinical Pathology board of certification exam to obtain national certification as a medical lab technician and for the last three years, College of Southern Maryland graduates have a 100% passing rate for ASCP certification and a 100% placement rate.
Learn more about CSM’s MLT program at https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/credit/school-of-science-and-health/medical-laboratory-technology.html.