Friday, August 30, 2013

The Science of Bully Management in a School District; F- What a failure!

Bullying is a serious issue 

 Days after Suicide allegations arise about school district ignoring warning signs of bullying abuse!

Like it or not, realize it or not, bullying behavior is everywhere.  There is bullying in the workplace, bullying in College, and bullying in primary and secondary education.  Have you ever visited a nursing home? You will find bullying there too!  Nursing home residents may not recognize family members or be able to tell you what is on the dinner plate in front of them but rest assured when you go home they go on a bullying mission or get bullied by others and get hurt. Slips and falls, scrapes and bruises, minor skirmishes? Yeah right.  I know because I have been there, seen it, and well it is not pretty.



Bullying in the workplace is a high stakes game though  

 

The stakes are high because listen we are all adults here - adults play for keeps.  Sooner or later the habitual workplace bully is going to wind up in a dumpster because most adults don't stand for that kind of behavior.  Every year stories fill the pages of newspapers of someone murdered, left for dead, and everyone is clueless as to why such a thing would happen.  Ever think that the "Victim" was a victim of retribution?  Goin' Postal is the term for a workplace incident of violence but not like the Dr. Nidal Hasan kind of violence.  I mean the guy who has been pushed so far he doesn't care who is in the way - the goal is to get the bully target.  If the bully steals your lolli-pop you go get another pop.  When the bully steals your pay raise, bonus, vacation, benefit, etc, it can get real ugly real fast.

It is a sad reality that young people can viciously and relentlessly bully schoolmates till a grievous end.  So hence we have another story of a child suffering at the hands of bully(s) until a disastrous end of the story is reached.  A suicide committed by a young person in such a despairing condition it is hard to realize the anguish this child must have endured to inflict such a retribution on ones self just to rid oneself of the bully(s).  I am talking about the case of a 15 year old student attending school at Greenwich High School who committed suicide after attending first day of school post summer vacation.  How sad...   Of course, school district officials  have no idea how such a thing could happen.  They are just tickled pink the bullied student did not neutralize the bully permanently on school property.  They are head scratching and searching desperately for answers so this will not happen to any of the other students.  "How could this happen?"  "What can we do to prevent in the future?"  Let me tell you from experience how this can happen.  I am not trying to tell anyone here that I have cornered the market of bully victimization, No- by no stretch of imagination.  I can give first person account of bully activity in middle school, continued to high school, and then again in the workplace.

School Bullying is not a secret 

 

School bullying is not as secretive as school officials make it sound that they had no idea little Johnny was being bullied, or little Jane has been having her lunch money stolen by the same kid day after day after day.  The big kid in the class copying test work in class from other smaller meek students. Being manipulated by another person in any shape or fashion is bullying. Some bullying is often overlooked as Kids just getting along and settling into social network.  Situations such as kids having books knocked out of their hands, getting locked in your own locker, embarrassment, ridicule, coercion and theft by taking.  These situations are often overlooked by school officials, staff, and teachers which are treated as non-incidents of social behavior.  "The kids just have to learn to get along".  Well, kids are not the same now as when I was in their bullied shoes way back when.  Social media, electro-magnetic communication devices (Cell-Phones), and computers bring a large world down to a smaller size.

Unfortunately, these mediums also make it easier for the bully to become even more insidious, more aggressive, and even more dangerous.  There have been cases recently where parents of students have bullied other students at the same school by way of twitter, facebook, and other social media platforms.  When this happens and nothing is done, the victim is helplessly in a downward spiral of despair, depression, and self blame.  The child can think that there is something inherent in their nature, their disposition, or personality that warrants bully(s) to bully them.  When there is no resolution, no relief, no improvement in condition, drastic measures are taken.  In this case, there was social media evidence that something was wrong.  There was even warning that something was going to happen.  Something did happen.  The bully won.  The victim lost...but did he?  Maybe he is now in a far better place than a school building full of adults and school mates that turn a blind eye to see what the bully is doing today and chuckle at what the bully has just perpetrated.  Teachers looking the other way with self reflection "I wish these kids would just get along - maybe by next week they will be texting each other?"  Stupidity!  A oozing festering wound of  systemic mis-management, malfeasance, and incompetence leads to the death of so many of our children mandated to attend school districts that harm and permanently affect young people for life.  Some resources indicate that up to 75% of students in public schools witness bullying.  20% of students report bullying incidents or admit they have bullied others.  That is a lot of bullying going on.

 

Yes - I am talking about the Public School System in this country


We are not teaching young people how to be self assertive, smart, self reliant, productive adults in public schools.  No - we are teaching them tricks like how to get away with bad behavior, survival of the fittest,  and kill or be killed.  There is no discipline anymore.  Years ago we were ashamed to get into trouble.  Now, parents teach their kids that they can do whatever they want, not get in trouble, and the school officials reinforce that social pathology.  The hallways of these schools are retched battlefields full of rogue individuals equivalent to Genghis Khan, renegades pillaging and raping the innocence from our children.  It cannot be stopped.  Not with present School Administration techniques in place to help administrators manage a system out of control, spending gobs of money, completing satisfaction surveys to prove good is happening overall for the "average" student in attendance.

What a bunch of malarkey!  Here is a short little touching school story.  I had my head punched so hard one day in middle school I dropped my books and fell helplessly to the floor only to look up and see a teacher walking away that was just walking toward me a moment ago.  This bastard teacher was actually running from me after I was assaulted!  I guess he was on his way to lunch and could not be bothered.  I did have one good day in two years of middle school though.  Instead of a teacher coming to my aid, a fellow student that I knew of just an acquaintance in class, stood up after I was slapped in the back of my head by the bully [same one all the time]; and then proceeded to pick the bully up and throw him over some desks.  He used to lift weights and could bench press a small car! Gee-Whiz the teacher did something then!  He dragged my hero down to the principles office for "causing a disturbance" in class.


This is a tragic story about a young man bullied to the point of no help, no return, total despair, and desperation. It is not about me.  But what disgusts me as well is the stance of the school officials where this student attended school.  "We don't know how this could have happened"?  We are deeply concerned for the student body and will take steps to make sure this does not happen to any other students?"  Well let me tell you something about this school district...
  • Student body = 8,800 students total
  • 2013-2014 budget = $142 million up 2% from 2012-2013 budget
  • Psychologists are assigned to each school building
  • A RISE (Racial Imbalance) task force is in place because minority students are greater than 25% of student population
  • A Harris Survey process costing $42,000 per year is administered to ascertain student, faculty, parent, and taxpayer satisfaction with the school district
  • For the April 2012 poll  - Only 33% of parents completed the survey
  • Only 66% of teachers completed the survey
  • 94% of grade 3-5 students  completed the survey
  • 86% of grade 6-12 students completed the survey
  • Average Satisfaction of the school district was -2.57% less than Harris Benchmark
  • The School District website was last updated with a general school news report on 7/18/2008
  • On April 13, 2013 an executive school board meeting was conducted with presence of the Chief and a Sergeant from the Greenwich Police Department

If I was a resident living in Greenwich Connecticut I would be pissed!  I don't live there and I am still pissed.  That school district spends over $16,000 per student and can't figure out that the kids are so miserable they [students] are destroying themselves literally.  A school staff so hell bent on making sure kids don't draw a picture of a gun on paper, and carry a key chain to school, that they don't pay attention to what the hell is going on down the hall.  Oh ok, the staff can't keep a full set of eyes on the playground activities but what about that social media.  This poor kid was miserable for years.  Every school year picked on, bullied, suffering immeasurable anguish and nobody knew a thing?  The student posted on social media a final music request for his impending funeral service.  This is not just an aberration of the poor school district of Greenwich Public School.  How terrible, the school district was caught up in such a tragedy.

What bunk!  It is school districts that foster an environment of hostility, aggression, and neglectful behavior amongst students so much so that kids are driven to extreme emotional distress day after day.  Students these days have to protect themselves from teachers; the abuse, the groping, the sexual advances.  And society tolerates this.  These school officials see these kids walking the halls, head down, emotional distress on their faces day after day and do nothing.  These are kids for goodness sake.  When I was bullied I not only wanted to hurt the bully bad I also wanted to kick that teacher in the groin for running away from me.  What did that teach me?  Don't rely and you can't rely on institutions in general to look out for your safety and well being even though the hogwash in worthless charters says the safety of students, the well being, and the supportive environment of the school is most important.  I want to puke.  So what advice do I have with this rant?

 

 Teach Your Child Not To Be Be A Victim

  • Teach your children they have to rely on you and themselves for their own safety
  • Get your children trained to protect themselves with nothing more than their hands and feet
  • Teach your children to use those skills judiciously and efficiently and say nothing afterward 
  • Instruct your children to Say Nothing!  That will force an overzealous school official to call you promptly when there is trouble and little Johnny or Janet clams up.
  • Teach your children to stand up for themselves and to be resourceful in different situations
  • Lets face it the school is a lions den of danger; don't kid yourself.
  • A resourceful kid, confident, respectful, and able to protect himself or herself from the pint sized bully or the molesting teacher, all the same.  Protect self, inflict damage where necessary, clam up until Mommy or Daddy arrive.
  • Most of all teach your children to be respectful.  Even when there is trouble headed their way.  Teach them to be calm, act swiftly, and again say nothing post trauma.
  • Run practice drills with your children, repetition will reinforce necessary action and taper response to protect only and not permanently injure.  Yes this is serious stuff.  Treat it like such.
  • Seek professional training of you can afford it.
  • Maintain a relationship with a good attorney, you may need that as well.

The poor student who committed suicide telegraphed his intentions days before he took his own life. He communicated his anguish thoroughly that someone - Anyone should have stepped in and intervened.  Life is precious.  The innocence of a child can never be returned whole after being devastated by school based violence, coercion, bullying, and the insidious heinous  act of child abuse at the hands of school officials, teachers, and parents.

Take care of your children.  Don't be fooled by school officials telling you the school is safe.  Nothing could be more contrary from the truth.

Scott R. Mayorga  A.A.S. BS MT(ASCP)H CLS

Thursday, August 22, 2013

She's wearing a see through blouse - Are you kidding me?



Playing the role of a manager in any industry requires quick reflexes, change on the fly decision making, and having "wherewithall" to quickly assess a situation and intervene appropriately.  Reacting to a bad situation unprofessionally can set up a bad series of events leading to staff disciplinary action, your own disciplinary action, or decreased morale amongst general staff members.  Being able to assess quickly and react soundly is a chief attribute of a good manager.  Dealing with sensitive water cooler topics such as sexuality can be hazardous in the workplace.  Reacting poorly to such occurrences can land a manager into hot water fast.

One such issue came about which I will describe below and what is the proper way to handle such a situation.  Managing a huge staff of professionals is a daunting task.  Most of the time my major issues involved scientific questions and situations that effected the scientific work going on in a clinical laboratory.  When situations involve extreme emotion, despair, or horrific distress of an employee care must be taken to handle the employee with dignity, care, and respect.  Sometimes just sending an employee home is not appropriate.  In extreme situations of stress or distress it is wise to send an employee home with someone of the same sex to make sure the staff member is ok and makes it home safely.  Then there is verification from the accompanying employee that safety is insured.  That last thing you want as a manger is to send someone home only to make it half way  and die in a traffic accident or kill someone else in a horrific auto accident.  So be it, some situations are not as serious but still must be handled with dignity and smarts.  I give you the story of the "Lady with the see through blouse".

On a busy weekday in the ole lab, the hustle and bustle of specimen receipt and accessioning, all staff were on deck wearing gloves, lab coat, and face shields.  That PPE was hiding one little aspect of one particular employees appearance that day.  After, the specimen receipt process was over, staff routinely took breaks for the morning.  Well that is when the raucous started.  I was sitting in my office reviewing documentation, answering emails, and what ever, when a female staff member came startling in and said; "You have to do something about "Hortense -I'll call her".  I asked what was wrong?  The staff member blurted "she is wearing a see through nude blouse with a see through bra - Nothing is hidden"....  "Everyone is gawking at her".  I just said, "You have to be kidding me? Hortense"? The reporting staff member walked away satisfied she had done what she thought needed to be done.  And she did.  What's a manager to do?...Now I could have confronted the staff member out in the lab and assessed the blouse myself in front of other staff members.  That would not be good.  That could turn out to be very embarrassing for me and the employee if it really was an issue of virtual nudity.   I could request the employee to come to my office but that would also be risky if there really was virtual nudity and the employee intended to walk around in a provoking manner.  That one on one situation could quickly escalate to a sexual harassment claim.  Don't want to go there either!  What is the proper way to handle it?
Gather up another management level same sex (as the troubled employee) co-worker and carefully interview the staff member.  This would also be valid for addressing a complaint of workplace vulgar language complaints, inappropriate website surfing, etc.  The key is you don't want to address an issue such as this alone and certainly not two same sex managers interviewing an opposite sex offender if you can avoid it.  Well with that startling claim of virtual nudity, I indeed gathered up another female manager to assess the employee. Right!
Upon, requesting "Hortense" to come to my office I did not immediately notice "anything" with a half opened lab coat she was wearing.  However, when she arrived at my office without the lab coat that was a different view.  If anything can be said about the outcome of this issue it is that the employee apologized and fixed the problem immediately.  Weeks later she was able to again say she was sorry and laughed about how she did not realize what she looked like.  With the 2nd female manager in my office with the employee I was able to safely assess the situation, point out to the staff member that the clothing of the day was inappropriate, and that some options were available to remedy the situation.  First, Hortense was displaying virtual nudity.  Graphic display of chest anatomy is an understatement of the actual situation.  A sheer nude colored blouse with a sheer nude colored bra is not proper attire for any workplace.  Hortense was somewhat surprised about that when I told her that her appearance was inappropriate with see through clothing.  As she looked down at herself, her face turned white as a ghost, she looked at the female manager who then affirmed that "Yes honey - Your clothing is see through leaving nothing to the imagination".  With that; profuse apology followed from the employee.  The discussion about what needs to be done followed.  Options included going home on vacation time; going home-coming back appropriately dressed on vacation time; and lastly - put on a sweater or a change of clothing and don't take it off the rest of the workday!  Hortense picked wore a sweater all day buttoned up to her chin.  That was the best option under the best conditions.  No need to get HR involved.  No lost time for productivity.  We were all adults and that was an adult fix for the situation.  Incident over with minimal stress on the employee, I won points for handling the situation adeptly, and no one got hurt.  Yes- there were some rumblings around the workplace during the day followed by chuckles but that was to be expected.  "Nudal frontity" unintended in the workplace is funny and as in this case was innocently perpetrated.  However, what if "Hortense" had a fight with husband that morning at the house.  Wore barley nothing to work to make him mad and intended on poking someones eye out with genitalia? What would you do to address that situation?  Luckily this was an innocent mishap with an employee that was extremely embarrassed and willing to cooperate fully.
Workplace behavior is extremely important to productivity, morale, and emotional stability of individuals on the workforce who can easily succumb to workplace stresses.  Letting bad behavior go in one instance can perpetuate more bad behavior and easily become a mitigating issue for a trouble causing employee when approached with disciplinary action.  Unfair treatment to one is showing favoritism to another.  Ignoring bad behavior from one staff member unfairly affects the rest of the staff who do their job, cause no problems, and work productively.  Real serious issues can escalate from favoritism and there is nothing more destructive and pervasive to workplace cohesiveness than illicit sexual behavior and or sexual affairs between employees in the workplace.  I have seen this happen from the top down from management.  When top leaders are engaging openly in this behavior the resulting degrade in morale is so pervasive that many staff members think they can get away with anything.  When this happens, the workplace is totally out of control, rules are not followed, and staff start leaving in rapid succession leaving behind sour exit interviews.  Not good.  Yours Truly.

So I have a saying, a Mayorgism if you will...
The talent that is mistreated and forced out will haunt the establishment for years to come; treat staff fairly, keep the loyal~Scott Mayorga

With that I say Good day to you - be smart - assess the situation - may you always make the right choice of action.

Scott R. Mayorga A.A.S. BS MT(ASCP)H CLS

The talent that is mistreated and forced out will haunt the establishment for years to come; treat staff fairly, keep the loyal~Scott Mayorga - See more at: http://hematechstraighttalk.blogspot.com/2013_07_01_archive.html#sthash.2UkfyVg0.dpuf

Monday, August 19, 2013

Name that Organ! Adventures in Autopsy Science


During my employment as a Lab Assistant while attending school for my bachelor's degree in Medical Laboratory Science, I was lucky and intrigued enough to assist the Laboratory Pathologists with assigned autopsies. I was employed by State of New York Dept. of Mental Health, Clinical Laboratory division as a entry level Lab Aide. Among the various duties assigned to me this was the most interesting and uncommon for a student in between degrees. I studied Anatomy and Physiology in early college and believe me there is no better refresher course than assisting the autopsy with a Pathologist. Over the time of my employment at Dept. of Mental Health, I assisted with about a dozen autopsies. At first the experience is very unpleasant, daunting, and well just gross! The smell of a dead body is horrific. Up close and personal to the subject matter is very tough to handle. With regard to odor, some autopsies were worse than others. Depending on how long post-mortem the autopsy was performed. One thing that never got better was the smell recollection. Even though I worked part time, ran to school for classes late day and evening at college, the smell recollection would linger for several to many hours. Sitting in class I thought I was next to the autopsy table.

The Autopsy: Subjects as I will call them aka “the stiffs”, patients, customers? Would be brought out of the morgue to the table. I would need help from another lab assistant or Lab Tech moving the body from the morgue tray to the gurney and then to the autopsy table. Once on the table, a rubber block would be wedged under the neck of the body to support the head; that was important because you did not want a floppy head when the bone saw was applied to the skull. At this point readers if you are squeamish or affected by gruesome details of cutting up a body into chunks then you should click the red X now and vacate this post. You have been warned. An autopsy is performed to make determination of how a person died and/or the reason a person expired. The patients housed at Dept. of Mental Health were psychiatric patients. The patients who were autopsied died at the facilities. I do not know why autopsies were performed other than concerned family members of the deceased wanted to know.

Once placed on the autopsy table any bed linens covering the body were removed. Tools of the trade were arranged on a rolling table beside the autopsy table. The bone saw was plugged in and at the ready. Before moving the body from morgue to table, PPE was donned. PPE is known as personal protective equipment which included a disposable lab coat, shoe covers, and gloves. Once the autopsy process started, I placed a full face mask on my head. Depending on the Pathologists preference either he would start at the head or the body cavity upper chest. Most times I assisted, the Pathologists started at the chest and ended at the head. This accomplished two things to save time. Working the body cavity first allowed the Pathologists to complete work there so I could start with my tasks while he worked on the skull. Basically, the process was a search and biopsy adventure with any apparent pathology necessitating additional biopsy specimens, organ chunk collections, and or fluid collections. Gruesomely, a long incision was made at the top of the sternum continuing down the chest ending to about just below the navel area. A horizontal cut was made just under the breast tissue creating a giant T cut into the trunk of the body. Once the flesh was peeled away to expose rib cage, the bone saw was grabbed to cut through the bone of the cage. The idea was to remove the rib cage like it was a vest to expose all the organs underneath. Once the organs were visible that is when the lesson sometimes started. Pathologists would point and ask “So what is that organ? I would answer heart! He would then follow up with Yes – but which side of the heart is that? Then he would explain the architecture and function of the heart. Moving on to asking about the liver, and then the lungs I would get a visual up close anatomy lesson. Then some of the more obscure organs like spleen, upper intestine, and all those “female parts”. You know what they say down at the auto-parts store...Parts is parts! Once the geography lesson was over it was back to business at hand. Organs were removed one by one systematically layer by layer. On the autopsy table was a cutting board. That is where whole organs were placed measured, sliced, cut, and then chunks removed for analysis. The pathologist would slice up the heart into its four functional chambers carefully removing pieces that would eventually be processed onto glass microscope slides. It was a methodical process; each organ would be removed from attaching blood vessels and connective tissue, weighed on a scale in grams, measured in centimeters, then cut on the board. From there the organ went into a large plastic bag. Each organ would wind up in the bag after weight and size measurements and samples taken. Once the organs were removed from the body cavity, pieces of the spinal column were removed as well. Reproductive organs would be last to come out of the cavity. Breast tissue was removed from females, testes removed from males.  Each organ was inspected carefully to look for signs of disease.  Sometimes heart disease, liver disease, lung disease was apparent as well the effects of years of smoking.  Stomach contents would be inspected and sometimes the contents looked like what you might find in an old coat pocket; coins, paperclips, screws, pebbles, and whatever else that patient decided what non-nutritional item was on the menu.  After the organs were analyzed and sampled then the Pathologist moved onto the skull and thus the bone saw was revved up.  This grizzly device as seen above made a raucous racket and ear deafening screech while just turned on.  When cutting through bone the noise created was muffled slightly by the medium at which it was applied; skin tissue, bone, and brain matter within the skull.   Of all the procedures performed during an autopsy this was by far the most gruesome and shocking visually to observe.  Strategic cuts in the skin framing the forehead were made first so the skin could be peeled back to expose bare skull.  Then the bone saw would be applied to cut through the skull.  The bone saw blade would oscillate back and forth rapidly with jagged teeth that would cut through the skull with a ferociousness like no one has seen before.  Surprisingly, for so much racket and blade oscillation there was not alot of mess kicked up? Anyway - Might I digress... Once the skull was cut, the cap was removed to expose the brain.  Upon inspection of the brain it was apparent in some of the oldest of the older patients that someone had been there before removing brain matter.  Usually, there was a drilled hole in the skull that gave a clue that the patient was not all there literally.  The brain was then removed, measured, weighed, and samples were taken.  Sometimes the brain was kept and sometimes it was replaced back to its nest.  All the Pathologists either replaced or kept just depending on the case at hand and what was found in the autopsy process.
After the finding and exploration was complete then it was time to "tidy up".  With a big sewing needle and cord all of the cut skin was sewed back together.  I have done sewing by hand before to repair a shirt, torn seem, or replace a button but nothing like this.  All the pieces were sewn back together.  Oh, and that bag of organs...that was placed back in the body cavity.  Parts is parts you know!  Anyway, I wanted to give a first hand experience into postmortem analysis via the Medical Autopsy which is quite different than the Forensic Autopsy.

There were some antics played out though...I have great respect for Pathologists.  These are the folks who discover what has caused death of our loved ones.  Pathologists also determine how death came about in criminal cases.  Pathologists run the clinical laboratory, hold the license issued for lab operation from local State Governing bodies, and also hold the CAP (College of American Pathologists) certification that all clinical laboratories strive to maintain every year.  But, some Pathologists are wacky, some are funny, and some just carry around morbid humor.  Once such wacky experience I had with a Pathologist while assisting the autopsy was a shocking incident.  This Pathologist was busily trying to cut some bone from the spine on a patient when he slipped with the scalpel blade and jabbed his finger.  A gloved hand is not going to keep a sharp blade from penetrating so when he pulled his hand out of the body he was working on and pulled off the glove, blood was spurting and dripping all over the floor.  He rinsed his hand in the "clean" sink, wrapped his finger with gauze tightly, gloved up again and continued on.  Some expletives were uttered in a foreign language I am sure of it, but he carried on till the end.  With another Pathologist on another case, the good doctor came into the morgue smoking a cigarette.  With the body on the table, tools all laid out, he puffed on his cigarette, said "lets get started", placed the cig on the edge of the autopsy table, and began his work.  He picked up that cigarette a couple of times for a puff while engrossed in autopsy work. That was wacky!  By far the saddest cases I observed were the patients that had holes drilled in their skulls with very apparent sizable brain matter missing usually from the front of the brain.  The procedure carried out on these patients was called a Frontal Lobe Lobotomy.  It was thought years ago that removing certain regions of the brain of a person exhibiting crazy behavior might just curb that behavior and make the patient more docile.  Maybe some of our prominent government figures could benefit from such a procedure to help them cope with the daily grind of "political mishaps"?  Anyway - might I digress?

The adventures I experienced as a young laboratory scientist in the morgue were a valuable cache of knowledge and life experience.  Don't knock it.  The autopsy process has been brought to the headlines of today's newspapers and TV news.  It is gruesome but a necessary part of medicine we all benefit from.  It is a great learning experience to observe an autopsy.


Saw Photo Courtesy of Dr. Ed Uthman  http://web2.airmail.net/uthman/autopsy_tools.html

Take care friends.  Be well and be happy.

Scott R Mayorga  A.A.S., BS MT(ASCP)H CLS

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Going for Employment? You will probably be drug tested. What you should know.

Gainful employment is exciting, rewarding, and is patriotic.  Being able to support oneself and family without public assistance is quite patriotic in this present economy where so many are under-employed or out of work completely.  Seeking employment can be stressful as well as hard work.
Once a position is offered to a candidate a series of checks are completed by the employer to make sure the candidate is who they say they are and meets hiring standards for that organization.  Credit checks, criminal record background checks, driving records, credential checks can all be included in the checks process.  Commonly one of the hiring standards is a no drug policy but can include no tobacco use as well.  Many organizations will send perspective employees to a reference lab to have specimens collected for drug screen testing.  Many health care facilities will perform some or all of the screening tests within the organization facilities.  What you must know is if you are abusing drugs you will test positive.  If the organization has a No Smoking policy screening tests for tobacco use may be performed as well.  Perspective applicants will be rejected based on the outcome of these screening tests.

The Drug Screen:  Drug screens can vary by laboratory or what an employer is specifically looking for as abused drugs or for prescription drug use.  Years ago there was a great amount of folklore about drug testing, what can cause a false positive, how to avoid testing positive when abusing, and even common dietary intake that can cause a false positive.  Today, drug testing is very sophisticated and thorough.  The most common drugs of abuse employers test applicants for are:
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamine 
  • Methamphetamine (also Ecstasy)
  • Benzodiazepines (Valium)
  • Methadone and Opiates (also Heroin)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • ETOH (Alcohol/booze)
Some employers are taking a no tobacco use stance and are within their rights to refuse employment to any applicants testing positive for tobacco use.  Unfortunately, for tobacco users the test for tobacco use is very inexpensive, very accurate, and very sensitive.  A urine specimen is all that is required to test for the tobacco metabolite Cotinine.  Blood nicotine or the metabolite cotinine can linger in the blood stream of a smoker for weeks.  Urine tests can detect cotinine for several weeks to more than a month after a person ceases exposure.  I say exposure because it does not matter whether the tobacco products are inhaled, pipped, chewed, patched, E-Cig, or the exposure can be environmental (2nd hand smoke).

Employer administered drug tests can be performed on blood, urine or both.  Rarely will employers go through the expense of testing saliva or hair.  Hair testing although expensive, can show exposure to what ever is tested for up to six months or more. Some employers can use a reference lab to administer the testing or the employer themselves can use a disposable testing cup which has testing strips contained that will screen for many different drugs of abuse.  Some of these products are available to general public so individuals can test themselves or minor loved ones for the presence of drugs.  The tests available in whatever format or testing medium are accurate, reliable, and sensitive.  If you are going to be drug tested and have used any of the drugs being tested for within the last 24 hours - Bingo you are going to score a big positive.  If drug use was in the last 24-48 hours you may or may not score a positive.  Depending on the drug type, half-life of drug metabolism, etc. a positive screen can occur within the last 2 weeks of exposure or intake.  Alcohol dissipates rather quickly from the body and may not be detected  in less than 24 hours after last exposure.

What should you do if you are accepting an offer of employment?  Expect that you will be screened for drug use.  Expect that if abusing, you are going to score a positive.  If you think you will be able to "fool" the test(s) and/or prepare to test negative while abusing; don't fool yourself.  Drinking large quantities of water to "dilute", excessively exercising, taking other drugs to mask drug abuse,  substituting, are all methods that can get you into hot water.  Testing methods are sophisticated.  Facilities used during the specimen collection process are prepared before the arrival of the applicant and checked after the collection process is complete.  The screen testing available today is inexpensive.  If urine drug screening tests are administered, precautions taken to prevent a non-legitimate or adulterated sample being submitted  are many, well thought out, and will include prevention methods just short of direct observation of the specimen collection process.  Although, direct observation of the urine collection is not out of the question.  I we can walk into a public restroom and pee into a urinal or toilet in font of bystanders, then a supervised urine submission is not out of the question.  Blood testing is 100% impossible to fool the testing via an adulterated specimen because there is a medical person (phlebotomist or nurse) actually performing the needle stick to collect blood directly into blood collection tubes.

The bottom line is if you are seeking employment and are really serious about landing that job if offered to you; stop abusing well before you start looking for a job.  Once an application is submitted for employment the process can progress slowly or rapidly escalate to an offer depending on the needs of the employer and the efficiency of the hiring process.  Don't be caught off guard. Don't abuse.  Commonly, once the offer is made, the applicant is given a period of time to submit to testing and usually that time period is 3 days or less especially if you have to go to a collection facility for the testing to be performed at a clinical reference lab.  Usually, an offer will not be made at the end of a week.  This would give an abusing applicant 2-3 days extra to clean up.  During my search for my current job, immediately after my 2nd interview I was asked to submit to drug testing by the hiring manager.  Before I had left the premises just minutes after the interview ended, I had submitted both blood and urine samples for the screening tests.  I had nothing to worry about.  Now, how embarrassing would it been if I said "no I cannot submit samples that day - I will come back though".  I could have said no.  But, that would probably have jeopardized my efforts of becoming employed.  That is what you can expect if seeking employment at a health care facility especially one prepared and equipped to perform the testing on site.

Bottom line - don't abuse, be clean and be proud to pass a drug test when asked to submit.

Take care friends - be clean

Scott R. Mayorga A.S.S, BS MT(ASCP)H CLS

  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Whiten Smile More - Professional Teeth Whitening Review and Giveaway

As per Federal Trade Commission Regulation,  16 CFR, Part 255; Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising - A Teeth Whitening Kit was provided by Whiten™ Smile More for Review and Giveaway.  I am personally not obliged to write a positive review of any products at any time.  My written views are my own and are not provided by anyone or any entity.

A fantastic smile is the one feature about a persons face that really grabs attention and holds focus of those listening to us in conversation.  I know I pay attention when my Grand-doggy "Charlie" barks and flashes a full mouth of pearly white dangerous fangs and canines in her mouth.  She is healthy and it shows in her beautiful teeth.  But have you seen some folks out on the street these days?  Black or gray teeth, jagged pieces of enamel, missing teeth!  Come on you know you see it, avert your eyes and try not to pay attention.  We all want a great looking healthy mouth full of teeth, white, clean, and with smooth surfaces.  There are some easy ways to get great looking teeth.  Want a tip?  "Only floss the ones you want to keep" - That is what my dentist says.  A great looking smile frames a persons face makes them appealing looking and attractive.  A great looking smile is not only nice to look at but also shows good health.  Poor dental health can be attributed to countless medical conditions far beyond gum disease such as; heart disease, vascular disease, tissue breakdown, loss of bone, and even septicemia.  Take care of your teeth for general overall good health!

White teeth are a natural attribute of human biology.  My grandson has his baby teeth and they are white as can be.  We are all born with white teeth.  Because of the biology of teeth which are made up of special compounds they show up in our mouth true white, hard, durable, and healthy.  Teeth are not bone, not cartilage, and not epidermis.  They are perfectly designed to look and function as needed (thanks God).  Teeth discolor and become dingy because of many reasons including ingested foods, ingested medication, and poor dental health.  It is a fact of life.  The food we eat has a major impact on the color of our teeth. Direct staining of teeth occurs as we ingest foods that have staining properties such as grape juice, wine, coffee, tobacco etc.  Indirect staining can occur as a result of the chemical properties of items we ingest such as medications like antibiotics and especially some periodontal rinses provided by the dentist.  These chemicals can react with the internal biology of teeth and dull teeth from within.  Some staining can be removed by visiting the dentist for regular cleanings and polishing.  Some staining cannot be easily removed.  That is where the professional teeth whitening industry has made great strides to improve products for "scrubbing" tough stains off the surface of teeth.  Cleaning products specifically made for scrubbing teeth stains away are main-stream and widely advertised.  They all work to some degree, some more than others, and for some people they are a little harsh.  I have tried professional teeth whitening products available only from a dentist and it was painful!  After treatments, my gums were sore, my teeth were hyper-sensitive, and mildly cool or hot foods and beverages would cause aching pain for several days.  A few years ago, that was how you knew the products were really working.  Because you were in agony for days after the treatments.  Now, teeth whitening products are different.  Science of teeth whitening has evolved into a more gentle but efficient process without the agony of pain and sore gums.  Today's teeth whitening processes not only use a gentle chemical process but also a high intensity light that reacts with the whitening agent to accelerate scrubbing and chemically clean teeth like no brush and toothpaste can.  Welcome to smart teeth whitening.  Welcome to the Whiten™ Smile More professional teeth whitening process.

Whiten™ Smile More is a company located in USA that manufactures a complete kit designed to be used in the home but has the technology of teeth whitening products available by dentists and expensive "Health Boutiques".  You see the advertisements at shopping malls, in newspapers, magazines, and at  your dentist office.  Whiten™ Smile More is a product developed with scientists and dental professionals which is endorsed by one of the top dentists in America.  Whiten™ Smile More is manufactured by The Whiten Group, Whiten LLC.  With over 100 years manufacturing experience and 14 years in development of the teeth whitening product they were at the forefront of teeth whitening process development.   The Whiten™ Smile Moore kit is perfected as a home use kit which is safe, efficient, effective, very reasonably priced, and does not give the user painful agony post-treatment.   Welcome to Whiten™ Smile Moore and beautiful white teeth.

I was provided a Whiten™ Smile More Kit for two from Whiten™ Smile More to try in privacy of my own home.  I shared this kit with my wife; owner of Leslie Loves Veggies.  I will be awarding a Whiten™ Smile More Kit to one of my readers.  The kit is complete  and contains all that is needed to whiten your smile in as little as 5 treatments.  You will be able to see results like you spent hundreds of dollars at the dentist or an expensive boutique.  One lucky entrant will receive a complete teeth whitening kit for one. 
The Whiten™ Smile More kit for one includes the following:
  • 1 Whiten™ Luminator base
  • 1 USB charger
  • 1 Mouthpiece with case
  • 12 Single-treatment gel tubes
The kit is easy to use, portable, and most importantly has the technology and science to get your teeth shades whiter with a cleaning process that is safe.  Best of all, the Whiten™ Luminator base and mouthpiece will last for years.  Treatment gels can be purchased from Whiten™ Smile More for a regular maintenance program to keep your teeth white and healthy.  Lets face it, the less time you spend maintaining your teeth the more time you are going to spend in the dentist chair to fix problems.  Regular maintenance of your teeth should include regular brushing, flossing, go between brushes, rinses, and regular visits to the dentist.  The Whiten™ Smile More teeth whitening kit should become part of that dental maintenance program for your self.  Here is why.   The treatment gel contains Carbamide Peroxide in a 22% concentration which is proven to be a safe teeth whitening agent.  When exposed to the luminator high intensity 470 nm LED light source, the Carbamide Peroxide breaks down into Oxygen, water and hydroxyl radicals which enter the pores and crevices of teeth surfaces to chemically clean and remove stains on and below tooth surfaces.  The gel also disinfects the gum line surrounding the teeth which removes bacteria that can cause disease and bad breath.  The cleaning action is gentle and takes only 10 minutes but is effective leaving your teeth shades whiter and your gums healthier.
Recently, I went shopping at the local mall for some shoes.  While strolling past the hustle and bustle of weekend shoppers I came upon some curtained partitions in the middle of the mall floor.  Behind the partitions people were sitting in reclining chairs with mouth pieces sticking out of their mouths.  Attached to the mouth pieces were devices emitting a bright blue light  lighting up the mouth pieces for everyone walking by to see.  These were people having their teeth whitened.  They were paying good money to sit in the middle of the mall and advertise how easy it is to have teeth whitening.  These portable boutiques show clients to everyone on purpose.    To me that is embarrassing. Everyone now knows those "clients" have dingy teeth, those "clients" paid a fortune to have their teeth "whitened", and having your teeth whitened at the mall is not ideal conditions conducive to satisfactory results.  You must start the whitening treatment with clean freshly flossed, brushed teeth which need to dried just prior to treatment.  If the whitening agent cannot get down below the surface of the teeth these clients are just paying lots of money to be humiliated and advertise business for the mall boutique.  Be smart. Do this at home the proper way; the Whiten™ Smile More way. This teeth whitening kit will show shades of improvement within 5 treatments.  Use the rest of the gel tubes in the kit for maintenance by whitening once every week or two weeks as needed to maintain a fresh white gleam in the mouth.

I took before and after pictures of my teeth as seen below.  After 5 treatments there is noticeable improved whiteness in  my teeth.  I did not experience discomfort, pain, or gum soreness.  On the third treatment I sat watching TV news (riveting) and did not notice the Luminator turned off and that about 25 minutes had elapsed.  I still did not experience discomfort after that prolonged treatment.


Thank you Whiten™ Smile More from The Whiten Group, Whiten LLC for a great product which is safe, effective, and a wonderful complement to my overall dental health.  You can find Whiten™ Smile More on Whiten Smile More, @WhitenSmileMore and Whiten Smile More.

a Rafflecopter giveaway One of my readers will win a complete Whiten™ Smile More kit for one.  This giveaway will end on Saturday August 24, 2013 at midnight EST.  This giveaway is open to US and Canadian entries only, please.  Winner will be contacted directly via email address provided.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond to winner email.  If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected.  No purchase necessary - void where prohibited by law.  This giveaway is brought to you by Whiten Smile More and is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated by Facebook.

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