Four years ago, the management team of St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS) N.V. started its preparations to apply for their international accreditation according to the ISO 15189 for the Medical Laboratory and the ISO 17025 for the Environmental Laboratory. SLS N.V. aims to be ISO accredited by the end of 2019. 

Being accredited requires a laboratory to have a high level of quality and competence to deliver timely, accurate and reliable results. As part of the accreditation, the laboratory’s quality management system (documented procedures of all laboratory processes) is thoroughly evaluated to ensure continued technical competence and compliance with the ISO norm. 

Currently SLS N.V. has a vast amount of documented procedures available in the laboratory as part of its quality management system. One of these documents describes the “sample collection” process as part of the “pre-analytical phase”.  A part of this document states that SLS employees dealing with the “withdrawal of blood from patients” (called a phlebotomist) are to be (continuously) certified. 

Sample collection (“pre-analytical phase”) is the first step in the process of acquiring quality results, so it is important for the phlebotomist to provide a precise and accurate sample. To ensure that SLS phlebotomists are (still) competent, a 2-week course was organized through theAmerican Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, and we are happy to report that all 15 team members who followed the course in November 2018, successfully completed either/both the theoretical and/or practical part of the exam. A few members only did the practical exam as this was needed to renew their certificate (last course was in 2016). The certificate is valid for 2 years. 

Because the theoretical exams were sent to the headquarters of the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians in the USA for corrections, the results and certificates recently came back to the lab. Therefore, on Friday February 22nd, 2019, the certificates were handed out to the members followed by a “happy hour” to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment. The entire staff of SLS N.V. is extremely proud of all 15 team members for following this extensive Phlebotomy course and successfully passing. Each person worked very hard which resulted in the positive results. Congrats!

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