…QC: The Necessary Hassle
When I tell people I work in a laboratory which includes chemistry they usually picture the “crazy scientist” wearing goggles and a white coat behind a bubbling flask.
This could not be further from what I do – especially in the world of clinical chemistry.
Chemistry in a hospital or clinical setting is more about numbers and charts than anything else. It is about Quality Control (QC), Calibration, standard deviation, numbers, graphs, trouble shooting and this set of rules developed by a man named James Westgard.
In a large lab with a high volume of work, values are evaluated and charted on every test every few of hours. In a smaller lab it may be done once a day. Here on the Africa Mercy we chart some tests daily and other tests weekly so we don’t run out of supplies but none the less the quality control is run, evaluated and documented very often.
QC is to make sure your instruments and reagents are working. Once the numbers are acquired they are plotted on levey-jennings charts and evaluated for patterns and outlying results. If any one of six Westguard Rules is broken (the value is too far away from the mean, the values are too much on one side of the mean, the value is too different from the previous day’s value, etc.) the problem has to be addressed and fixed until the results are no longer in violation.
Some people love this aspect of the job. For me it is my least favorite. Give me a microscope over math any day.
However, after listening to a talk the other day, I realized that just like in other industries where QC is performed on everything from cookies to cars we should be performing QC on our lives as well. In chemistry, QC is performed to ensure that results are valid. What does this look like in life?
In life, the amount of time I spend reading my Bible, God’s instruction manual and love letter to guide my life, correlates to how much I can trust my decisions and know that the results of my life are valid. Spending time getting to know my Savior is my Quality Control and He commands me to do this daily. I have to daily chose to follow him and his commands. It is not a onetime action, it is a daily commitment, a daily decision, a daily action to follow him.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross DAILY and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
Data is not put on charts and there are no calculations but the only way I am surviving each day is to daily spend time with God. The only way I know that at the end of the day the results of my thoughts and actions are valid is if I have spent time and actively made the decision to follow the Lord throughout the day, starting with a daily check in his Word.