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The Way We Were 

(More Musings on TM history) | By Pat Letendre

For several reasons, I'm more than ever motivated to promote blogging and wish more transfusion medicine (TM) professionals would blog to share what they've learned over a lifetime.

The blog's title derives from a Barbra Streisand classic. 

Blogs are a good way for TM professionals to share experiences, knowledge, skills with the next generation, a relatively easy way to foster succession planning. Blogs can convey information that's seldom, if ever, in journals and textbooks. If no one records these experiences, they will be lost forever.

At a minimum, blogging is a way to share historical tidbits from which lessons can be learned. And likely they will provide many a laugh at 'the way we were' by today's practitioners.

Longtime TM professionals have much to share. One example:

Advice to colleagues: No need to worry about revealing weakness. Consider what I write about my early career under '1. Career in transfusion medicine' in the blog:

Sure, nutty things happened in TM's history. Why not acknowledge the past? Today, people like me would never get into the field. In a way, my path says a lot about the value of on-the-job training. But today's employers want fully credentialed and trained professionals. 

Where I once worked, MLS at the University of Alberta, has a wall devoted to pictures of each year's graduating class. I'd often observe students chuckling over hair styles and photos of grads who were their current instructors or technologists in the clinical lab. They don't seem to realize that one day future grads would view them with similar derision. 

Pretransfusion testing has transmogrified over the years. Initially, testing focussed on detecting ALL red cell antibodies, regardless of clinical significance. Think about where we are now. It's a sea change.

British TM professionals have been global leaders. Many of you came to NA and excelled as the 'British mafia.' Others stayed at home and created a world class blood system. As a Canadian who appreciates history, I've love if you blogged snippets of what you experienced in the early days.


The song that best fits this blog is the 1973 classic by Barbra Streisand and the title song of a movie of the same name.

As always, comments are most welcome. 

Pat Letendre is the webmaster for the TraQ website of the BC Provincial Blood Coordinating Office in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Pat specializes in developing transfusion-related websites and managing mailing lists for health professionals. She has extensive experience as an educator and clinical instructor. 

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23 Jan 2020
1:16 am