Jenny Myers has joined the call for greater recognition of medical scientists. She sees science as a vital mission enabler within healthcare.
As a clinical diagnostic scientist specialising in Oesophageal Function, Jenny’s work involves daily interaction with patients, the interpretation of complex data and making pivotal treatment decisions which inform medical teams how to provide appropriate treatment.
Jenny Myers is emphatic that medical scientists have a big role to play in health.
“Diagnostic physiological tests are important because they provide the basis for correct diagnosis and inform treatment/ management decisions for a patient's debilitating symptoms. Medical officers rely on medical scientists to identify and characterise the physiological basis of the medical condition.
The correct diagnosis is vital to avoid unnecessary presentations to the healthcare system and to enable appropriate and cost effective treatments.”
“The embedding of clinical diagnostic scientists within medical teams is invaluable, as it brings specialised diagnostic expertise directly to the directorates.”
“This work is very different to that of pathology scientists, who perform their diagnostic work on specimens, while the clinical diagnostic scientist interacts directly with the patient and the team administering treatment and care.”
Every day, scientists in our hospitals perform vital clinical functions in extremely specialised areas.
They work as part of very small teams or even as sole operators in areas such as thoracic, endocrine and neurology, within a number of different directorates including medicine and surgery.
Within these areas, medical scientists make pivotal determinations which the public assume are being carried out by doctors. Some Professional Scientists Australia members have even reported occasions when a hospital’s own administration has made such a mistake.
Numerous issues arise as a result of performing work without having ones professional expertise recognised.
A clinical diagnostic scientist works autonomously, often with undefined professional reporting pathways. This makes tasks, such as employing assistants, submitting paperwork and applying for reclassifications, quite difficult. Also, as there are few [and often no] individuals in the chain of reporting who have the same professional needs, opportunities for professional development and career advancement are missed.
Additionally, opportunities for the hospital to capitalise on the scientist’s expertise can go unrealised.
It is not uncommon for clinical diagnostic scientists to be world renowned in their field, but undervalued and often unseen by hospital administration.
For medical science to have a strong future it is vital that scientists stand up and be heard. The reason medical scientists are largely overlooked is simply because they remain out of the spotlight, while other medical professionals have a strong history of joining together and standing up for their professional needs.
The good news for clinical diagnostic scientists is that their most recent efforts to be heard are beginning to pay off.
Professional Scientists Australia members in the Central Adelaide Local Health Network have used planned structural changes within their directorates to spur themselves and their colleagues into action. Members have been holding meetings with Professional Scientists Australia and management, making the case for better recognition of their vital roles. While discussions are only in the early stages, management have indicated their support for working with members towards better professional recognition.
This is very promising news for clinical diagnostic scientists in South Australia, but medical science as a whole, still has a way to go.
Professional Scientists Australia is continuing to shine a light on the many and varied ways that Medical Science supports the Healthcare System, and why members are calling on their colleagues to join together with them for a stronger professional voice.
Now is the time for all medical scientists to join together and work towards winning the respect and recognition they deserve.
Add your voice – join Professional Scientists Australia today.