Thursday, January 17, 2013

LQM: A new season begins

There are a lot of things that I get to do that I really enjoy, albeit some more than others.   I am not able to rank them one (1) to one hundred (100), but they certainly fit into a top, middle and bottle tiers.  But clearly one of the biggies in the top tier is being involved in our Laboratory Quality Management course.  This year, our 10th season, started today.
Each year starts off pretty much the same way; some folks come in within the first 30 minutes of access, others take longer, and some (grumble grumble) take a couple days.  Most have little difficulty getting access, but every year there are a small number who have technical difficulties.  This year is no different.  

Over the years the course has become more democratic.  People from many countries; mostly technologists, although the number of physicians is increasing a lot, and some scientists.  Many have family commitments with spouses and children, and lots of mention about pets (This year we may even have a talking parrot The gender split is shifting as well.  When we began, nearly all the participants were women; today it seems much closer to 60:40.  

What the group does have in common is a wealth of experience with medical laboratories and a common desire to learn about Quality as a new opportunity and possibly and new career path. 

I know that word clouds have become rather passé, but I still like them.  They are a handy visual way of depicting common interests and common themes.  One of the first tasks that we give our course participants is the writing of an introductory biography of a few 100 words to express where they are from and where they want to be in the future.  It helps me and the others to get to know each other better.  

I take the text from the introductions and combine them into s single text file and then pass them through a word cloud generator on the web.  ( There are lots available; the ones that I tend to use frequently are  Wordie, WordItOut, TagCrowd, or Tagul.  All of them allow you to set certain parameters such as how many repetitions of a word are required to get it on the list, can commonly combined words be gathered together, how many words should be shown.

The following is a good example, or the introductory thoughts and presence of people taking our course.  I suspect they are very representative of the group of people who are interested and engaged in laboratory quality management.

For me this works out really well.  I enjoy being a part of the Quality arena.  I enjoy mentoring new folks interested in becoming involved.  And I get to play with toys like word clouds.  

How fun it that!!

More later.

PS: This cloud does not represent the whole group.  Some have not come on-line yet.  But under the parameters used for the cloud, it would be unlikely to substantially change.

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