Be a LabVocate
Everyone is an advocate. When you talk to people about the work you do in the lab, it’s the first step in advocacy and raising awareness about the profession. Teaching the public about the important work you do for patient care increases the understanding and value of medical laboratory professionals within the health care team.
The website medlabprofessionals.ca was created with the public in mind. It provides an interactive overview of the medical laboratory professions and the types of tests run in the lab, and it reinforces the impact of the lab on patient care dimensions.
The 5Es of Science Communication
Are you eager to share your passion of all things medical laboratory with the world? You’ve come to the right place. We have Jason Tetro’s 5Es of science communication to help you create and disseminate effective science-related messaging that is accurate, more agreeably received by the audience and adheres to audience values. These 5Es are education, enrichment, engagement, entertainment and empathy.
Take a look below to see each “E” described in detail.
Science communicators must share accurate, evidence-based knowledge.
This approach is all about making sure that the information you provide is practical and can be used by your audience.
The objective of engagement is to fuel a two-way connection that encourages the audience to participate.
Like the engagement approach, there isn’t just one way to entertain an audience.
By definition, empathy is all about being able to understand what a person is going through.
Be sure to check out Jason Tetro’s full article “Learning from History to Increase Positive Public Reception and Social Value Alignment of Evidence-Based Science Communication” to learn more about effective science communication!
Science communicators must share accurate, evidence-based knowledge. While it might seem tempting, avoid dumbing down or leaving out details, as this could result in less than pleasant outcomes, like your message being manipulated by other people to match their own view if you didn't include a clear-cut conclusion. If you must use jargon, put it into perspective and always use the acronym or term accepted by the profession. For example, “Staph” for Staphylococcus.
A useful tactic is to provide the backstory of whatever you are sharing, especially if it is a highly-detailed experiment, mechanism or term. You can also make use of visual aids, like videos, figures or games.
This approach is all about making sure that the information you provide is practical and can be used by your audience. The information must be socially relevant but should not attack personal beliefs. Reviewing media outlets can help you determine the social issues that are less likely to stir unhelpful emotions, like economics and individual health.
Be warned there will always be some naysayers when you talk about social issues. If you encounter them, remember to stay positive.
The objective of engagement is to fuel a two-way connection that encourages the audience to participate. More than one option for engagement exists, and it’s up to the science communicator to choose which one to use. Engagement can be in person, but it doesn’t have to be. Options of engagement include but are not limited to social media, Q&A at the end of live talk and/or a contact address, like email. Doing so creates a connection between the audience and the communicator. While social media is an accessible platform, it can be a hostile environment, with trolls intending to wreak havoc for the sake of creating upheaval. It is up to the communicator to learn how to determine what is negative yet constructive feedback versus what is a trolling comment. It’s best practice to ignore trolls.
Like the engagement approach, there isn’t just one way to entertain an audience. A helpful tip is to use your own skills and act accordingly when sharing your message in a fun way. If you’re talented in comedy, consider using humour. If you’re knowledgeable in other genres, like sports or movies, use references from them that can build relatable context while still adhering to the evidence-based knowledge you are sharing.
By definition, empathy is all about being able to understand what a person is going through. If you use empathy, the audience might be more agreeable and receptive of your message. It can also help your message match the audience’s values.
For science communication, it might be helpful to do a little independent research to determine how to resonate with your audience. Do this by engaging with the everyday person that represents your target audience, such as friends and social media users. Be honest with them, and ask them to be honest yet helpful in return, creating a link between you and the audience.
One of the easiest ways for people to understand the work in the lab is to show them. These videos are available through the CSMLS Youtube channel and can be emailed, shared on social media or embedded onto websites.
In the Lab
Your host Andrew Chapman illustrates the importance of the medical laboratory profession by giving you an inside look at the inner workings of a busy laboratory in both a hospital and private lab. We’ll go behind the laboratory doors at Toronto General Hospital at UHN and LifeLabs to speak with medical laboratory professionals who complete the health care picture.
We Are Lab – Documentary Series
The best way to advocate for your profession is to start with the world around you - your friends, family and community. The tools below can be used for giveaways and community or workplace presentations. They can even be added to waiting rooms.
CSMLS hosts Adopt-a-Donor-Centre donation events across the country. At these events, CSMLS volunteers provide special giveaways and treats to donors. The volunteers then take the time to tell each donor how medical laboratory professionals are part of the blood donation system. They emphasize how blood and blood products are kept safe through rigorous lab testing and how the products are tested for patient compatibility before use.
The CSMLS Adopt-a-Donor-Centre events are a unique way for members to talk directly to the public about the impact laboratory work has on patient care and the blood donation system.