A model for international clinical/biomedical science programs
This project sought expert consensus regarding the feasibility and substance of international certification and mutual credentialing systems for laboratory professionals. It also examined a potential transatlantic student exchange program for laboratory sciences students. The study addressed key problems confronting the laboratory profession, such as workforce shortages, mobility issues, and the limited number of international study opportunities for clinical/biomedical science students, through an international survey of laboratory program directors. This lead to the development of a transatlantic exchange program between four European and four American partner institutions. The survey sampled 234 undergraduate clinical laboratory science/medical technology programs accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) in the United States and 46 BSc degree biomedical science courses accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) across the United Kingdom and Australia, with a response rate of 37.1%. Among other findings, the results indicated that only 10% of programs were currently engaged in international student exchanges but 47% of the respondents expressed an interest in starting student exchange programs and the majority considered international professional certification important and that American and British credentialing agencies should consider mutual credentialing for their program graduates. Based on these findings, a Globalization Task Force was created to explore the feasibility of internationalizing the credentialing process and examine the possibilities for mutual recognition agreements between the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. Following this, a model international clinical/biomedical science student exchange program was designed to expand students' technical skills, foster cross-cultural competencies, and promote a global citizenry. A course has been chartered for laboratory regulatory and credentialing agencies to bridge the gaps on international harmonization of credentialing standards and credentialing systems for laboratory personnel. By accepting the findings of this project, laboratory stakeholders have many options by which to develop international practice standards and ensure consistency in the quality of laboratory personnel, globally.