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From the Editor's Desk

by Dennis Ernst • February 13, 2018


 Last week I had the pure delight of directing a film crew for the revision of our Basic Venipuncture training video. This will be the third edition of the video, which made its debut as a VHS tape in 2004. The DVD came out in 2005 and was revised in 2010. Since the first edition, Basic Venipuncture has been used to train tens of thousands of healthcare professionals worldwide.

The taping could not have gone smoother. I employed a talented crew from a local television studio, two good friends to stand in as patients (one of them a lab manager), two top-notch phlebotomists and one of the best on-camera and voiceover talents I have ever met. We spent three full days knocking out about 18 hours of recording for a video that will have a running time of about 35 minutes. Eighteen hours of filming for 35 minutes of video. But that's how it goes. 

When you're filming a training video on a highly detailed invasive procedure like venipuncture, that's actually pretty good. It should have taken twice as long. My phlebotomists were outstanding and easy to direct, even though some of the equipment used in the film they had never seen before. It didn't matter. They've drawn under more stressful conditions than bright lights, hot mics and a camera crew hovering around recording their every move. I guess when you've drawn from screamers, kickers, and spitters before, "lights, camera, action!" means nothing.

If you currently use Basic Venipuncture, you will be delighted to know that this edition will be completely new. I've written an entirely new script, and refilmed every scene. Even though I could have simply carried over a lot of the footage from the second edition, why would I do that to you? You've been watching and listening to the same clips for years. You probably have every passage memorized. If I were you, I'd want an entirely remastered video, too. While some of the graphic animation will look familiar (some things just can't be perfected!), everything else will be 100% new and 100% updated to reflect the massive changes to the industry standard released last April.

What took me so long? That's a fair question. Here's my excuse: I let lots of things get in the way. Things like:

  • writing two newsletters each month;
  • serving on three CLSI committees (the skin puncture standard, a new standard on patient identification and sample labeling, and the Consensus Council);
  • Participating in a CDC Evidence Review Panel to come up with Best Practices to reduce iatrogenic anemia;
  • publishing my 5th book;
  • giving 35 presentations at 12 state and national conferences

Oh yeah, and moving from Indiana to Michigan. Other than that, I've been pretty much a slacker, and have no good excuse for not having Basic Venipuncture revised by now. But I know how forgiving you are and fully intend to make it worth your wait. There's still much to do, but I expect a June release. Not only do we have to go through all the clips and find the best takes, I have to arrange closed-captioning, resize the animation for the new wide-screen format, design the DVD covers, refilm any problem scenes (there's always one), and get the blessings of those who so generously provided educational grants, a necessity for a project of this magnitude. Namely, Greiner Bio-One and Venistat. 

This revision will take many hundreds of hours and many thousands of dollars to produce for a relatively small market. Without their support, I don't know if it would ever see the light of day. These companies know the value of education, though, and wouldn't want the industry to be without this title. Besides, they know it will be impeccably accurate, highly polished, and exquisitely produced. They, like you, know we don't produce anything less.  

Dennis J. Ernst MT(ASCP)
[email protected] 


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