News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Move Over Gen Xers and Boomers! This is the Year Radiology Matches Its First Class of Generation Z Residents

It’s not just radiology. Gen Z residents will be matching in pathology and other specialties, and that means clinical laboratories should be ready to adapt their recruiting and training to Gen Z’s unique characteristics

It’s a big event in medical schools across the nation when it is time for residency programs to match residency candidates with first-year and second-year post-graduate training positions. But this year has a special twist because—for example in radiology—this is the first class of Generation Z (Gen Z) residency candidates to be matched with radiology residency programs.

The arrival of the newest generation to progress through medical school and into residency was the topic of a Viewpoint story in the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) titled, “Generation Z and the Radiology Workforce: Ready or Not, Here I Come.”  

In their abstract, the authors wrote, “This year, the radiology community will experience the beginning of a generational change by matching its first class of Generation Z residents. To best welcome and embrace the changing face of the radiology workforce, this Viewpoint highlights the values that this next generation will bring, how radiologists can improve the way they teach the next generation, and the positive impact that Generation Z will have on the specialty and the way radiologists care for patients.”

Members of Gen Z are now entering the workforce in large numbers. To recruit high-quality candidates from this generation, healthcare employers—including clinical laboratories and pathology practices—may have to adapt the way they interact with and train these individuals. 

Gen Z is generally described as individuals who were born between 1995 and 2012. Also known as “Zoomers,” the demographic comprises approximately 25% of the current population of the United States. They are extremely diverse, tend to be very socially conscious, and can easily adapt to rapid changes in communications and education, according to the AJR paper.

Although the paper deals with radiology, this type of information can also be valuable to clinical laboratories as Gen Z pathologists are poised to enter clinical practice in growing numbers. This marks the beginning of the professional laboratory careers of Zoomers, while Millennials move up into higher levels of lab management, the oldest Gen Xers near retirement age, and Baby Boomers retire out of the profession.

Paul McDonald

“Gen Z employees bring unique values, expectations, and perspectives to their jobs,” said Paul McDonald (above), Senior Executive Director at staffing firm Robert Half in a news release. “They’ve grown up in economically turbulent times, and many of their characteristics and motivations reflect that.” Thus, clinical laboratories may have to develop methods for recruiting and training Gen Z staff that match the unique characteristics of Gen Z candidates. (Photo copyright: LinkedIn.)

Zoomers Like Digital and Artificial Intelligence Technology

One of the most unique aspects of Gen Z is that they have never lived in a world without the Internet and have little memory of life without smartphones. Zoomers grew up totally immersed in digital technology and tend to be comfortable using digital tools in their everyday life and in the workplace. They lean towards being very open to artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can assist humans in analysis and diagnostic methods.

“This group of professionals has grown up with technology available to them around the clock and is accustomed to constant learning,” said Paul McDonald, Senior Executive Director at staffing firm Robert Half in a news release. “Companies with a solid understanding of this generation’s values and preferences will be well prepared to create work environments that attract a new generation of employees and maximize their potential.”

According to the AJR paper, Zoomers learn best by doing, so employers should concentrate on interactive learning opportunities, such as simulations, virtual reality, and case-based methods for teaching the aspects of the job. They are likely to expect digital and blended resources as well as traditional approaches to learning their new job responsibilities.

The paper goes on to state that Gen Z members value diversity, equity, inclusivity, sustainability, civic engagement, and organizational transparency. Their social consciousness and diversity may yield a greater range of perspectives and problem-solving approaches which may bolster their sensitivity to patient-centered care.

“The oldest in Gen Z have already seen a recession and a war on terrorism. They’ve seen politics at its worst. And now they’ve seen a global pandemic and are about to see recession again,” said David Stillman, founder of GenGuru, a boutique management consulting firm that provides insights on how best to connect with Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z, in an interview with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “They are survivors,” he added.

According to the SHRM, “Stillman says Millennials, who preceded Generation Z, were coddled by their parents. He maintains that Generation Z’s parents were more truthful, telling their offspring, ‘You’re going to have a really tough time out there, you have to work super hard,’ which he says created ‘the most competitive generation in the workforce since the Baby Boomers.’”

Gen Z Wants More than a Paycheck, They Want Purpose

The American Journal of Roentgenology paper also states that Gen Z members grew up in a rapidly changing world and tend to be resilient, adaptable, and flexible. They have experienced and witnessed many stressors and navigate these issues by focusing on mental health and a meaningful work-life balance. With respect to a profession, they are searching for more than just a paycheck, and they want a purposeful career where they feel a sense of belonging. 

In “Helping Gen Z Employees Find Their Place at Work,” the Harvard Business Review offered the following advice for employers to help Gen Z employees thrive at work:

  • Increase information sharing and transparency to help alleviate fear and anxiety.
  • Incentivize them by showing them clear paths to career progression.
  • Make sure they know how their individual contributions matter to the organization.
  • Motivate them by giving them room for autonomy and experimentation.
  • Provide specific and constructive feedback.
  • Harness community and in-person interactions to boost professional collaborations.
  • Prioritize wellness and mental health.

“Be prepared to spend time with them face to face,” McDonald stated. “They want to be mentored and coached. If you coach them, you’re going to retain them.”

Preparing to Attract Gen Z to Clinical Laboratories

As Generation Z comes of age, more of them will be working in the medical professions. Clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups would be well advised to prepare their businesses by adjusting leadership, adapting recruiting efforts, and shifting marketing to attract Zoomers and remain relevant and successful in the future.

In, “Generation Z Will Soon be Looking for Employment Opportunities in Clinical Laboratories and Anatomic Pathology Groups,” Dark Daily covered how this newest, youngest generation brings unique attributes and values to the clinical laboratory industry. Laboratory managers, pathologists, and business leaders need to understand those characteristics to work with them effectively.

Although sweeping statements about individual generations may be limiting, understanding their unique insights, values, and backgrounds can be helpful in the workplace. With a large amount of Gen Z workers now transitioning from college into careers, it will be beneficial for clinical laboratory managers to recognize their unique characteristics to recruit and maintain talented workers more effectively.

—JP Schlingman

Related Information:

Generation Z and the Radiology Workforce: Ready or Not, Here I Come

Understanding Generation Z in the Workplace

Helping Gen Z Employees Find Their Place at Work

Generation Disconnected: Data on Gen Z in the Workplace

Stressed, Indebted and Idealistic, Generation Z Pushed Further into the Workforce

Generation Z: Five Surprising Insights

Generation Z Will Soon Be Looking for Employment Opportunities in Clinical Laboratories and Anatomic Pathology Groups

Understanding Generation Z in the Workplace

Workplaces Must Screen Employees for COVID-19, Say Authorities in the US and Ontario, and This Trend Could Mean Big Business for Clinical Laboratories

As mandatory screenings for private industry workers increases, some states launch free COVID-19 testing for state employees, while engaging medical laboratories to provide such testing

Amid the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, welcoming employees back to work is not as simple as opening the company’s doors. Businesses based in some areas of the US and Canada are being required by state and provincial governments to conduct employee COVID-19 screenings. For clinical laboratories, the increase in mandatory screening programs could mean an expanding market for employee testing programs and opportunities for lab outreach programs.

But companies and medical laboratories may also face legal and regulatory risks as workplaces reopen and people return.

For example, how do clinical laboratory managers ensure their labs have the information they need to respond to new rules and regulations, and do employers have recourse should an employee receive a COVID-19 test report with an incorrect result?

Not COVID-19 Screening Can Lead to Fines, Imprisonment

In Ontario, under O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3, an amendment to the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, S.O. 2020, c. 17, workplaces are required to screen employees and visitors for COVID-19 before they enter office buildings, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported.

An Ontario Ministry of Health COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces (Businesses and Organizations) instructs businesses on questions to ask of “workers” and “essential visitors” who are being screened before entering a workplace. They include:

  • Is there existence of “new or worsening symptoms,” such as fever or chills, difficulty breathing, and cough?
  • Has the employee travelled outside Canada in the past 14 days?
  • Has the employee had close contact with other confirmed or “probable” COVID-19 cases?

A “probable” case is “a person with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 AND in whom laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 is inconclusive,” according to a blog post by Justin P’ng, Employment and Labor Lawyer/Associate at international law firm Fasken in Toronto.

“Employers [in Ontario] must now specifically comply with the requirements of the Screening Tool and to implement such screening at any physical workplaces it operates in the province,” P’ng wrote. “Failure to comply can lead to significant penalties, including potentially fines and imprisonment under the legislation.”

It is possible the new requirements may ease Ontario workers’ minds about heading back to work during the pandemic. A Canadian workforce survey of employers and employees during July 2020 by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canada found:

  • Most employers (78%) expect a return to the workplace in 2020.
  • Just one in five employees indicated they want to go back to the workplace full-time.

Michigan Makes Remote Work Mandatory

In the US, state rules enforced by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) require employers—for infection prevention reasons—to establish remote work programs for employees, unless it is not feasible for employees to work away from the workplace.

“The employer shall create a policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely,” MIOSHA said.

Similar to the Ontario law, Michigan employers are also required to establish COVID-19 screenings. The MIOSHA rules direct employers to “conduct a daily entry self-screening protocol for all employees or contractors entering the workplace, including, at a minimum, a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with, if possible, a temperature screening.”

Michigan employers not in compliance with the state’s requirements for office work may be fined up to $7,000 per violation, a McDonald Hopkins Insights article noted.

Furthermore, anti-retaliation law in Michigan prohibits employers from terminating or “retaliating against” employees who oppose violation of the law or report COVID-19 “health violations,” the McDonald Hopkins Insights article added.

However, Michigan businesses may have protection under the COVID-19 Response and Reopening Liability Assurance Act. The law states a “person who acts in compliance with all federal, state, and local statutes, rules, regulations, executive orders, and agency orders related to COVID-19 that had not been denied legal effect at the time of the conduct or risk that allegedly caused harm is immune from liability for a COVID-19 claim.”

The law defines a “person” as “an individual, partnership, corporation, association, governmental entity, or other legal entity, including, but not limited to, a school, a college or university, an institution of higher education, and a nonprofit charitable organization. Person includes an employee, agent, or independent contractor of the person, regardless of whether the individual is paid or an unpaid volunteer.”

New York Launches Free RT-PCR Tests for Transit Employees

Meanwhile, in New York, free COVID-19 tests are now available on a voluntary basis to 2,000 frontline employees of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, a news release states.

BioReference Laboratories and Quest Diagnostics are performing the RT-PCR testing.

“Quality COVID-19 testing is critical to helping our nation’s frontline workers do their jobs as safely as possible,” Wendi Mader, Executive Director of Employer Population Health at Quest Diagnostics, said in the news release.

New Special Report Available on COVID-19 Employee Testing Programs

As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic progresses, laws, regulations, and rules pertaining to COVID-19 employee testing and screening will likely continue to develop—and they will vary by area and by test type—making them a challenge to interpret, track, and ensure compliance.

Thus, to help medical laboratory managers and human resources professionals receive the critical, relevant information they need prior to launching COVID-19 testing programs, the Dark Intelligence Group has published a special report, titled, “How to Develop a COVID-19 Employee Testing Program: Essential Guidance on Legal, Risk Management, Regulatory, and Compliance Issues for Clinical Laboratories and Employers.”

Dark Daily Special Report - Covid-19 Employee Testing Program
This exclusive report offers guidance, best practices, and insights necessary to launch and operate high quality, compliant COVID-19 employee testing programs. Clinical laboratories and employers tasked with developing and maintaining coronavirus testing programs will gain critical insights and data from this invaluable special report. (Photo copyright: Dark Intelligence Group.)

Included in the report:

  • Ten regulatory essentials for launching a COVID-19 testing program
  • Test eligibility
  • Order requirements
  • Privacy
  • Contractual and liability issues
  • Infection prevention and OSHA compliance
  • Case studies

This information comes from attorneys at numerous law firms, including:

To access this timely and invaluable special report, click here, or go to: https://www.darkdaily.com/product/how-to-develop-a-covid-19-employee-testing-program-what-clinical-laboratories-need-to-know/ to download.

—Donna Marie Pocius

Related Information:

How to Develop A COVID-19 Employee Testing Program: Essential Guidance on Legal, Risk Management, Regulatory, and Compliance Issues for Clinical Laboratories and Employers

COVID-19 Screening is Mandatory in Ontario Workplaces

Ontario Workplaces Now Required to Screen for COVID-19

New Michigan COVID-19 Legislation

COVID-19 Response and Reopening Liability Assurance Act

Gov Cuomo Announces MTA to Launch Voluntary COVID-19 Screening Program for Frontline Employees

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