CMLSO Advantages

IMPORTANCE OF CMLSOs INCREASING
By Vangie Dennis

The ANSI Z136.3-2005 Safe Use of Lasers in Health Care Facilities states that a health care facility shall establish and maintain an adequate safety program for the control of laser hazards. It also states the delegation of authority and responsibility for the supervision of evaluation and control of laser hazards to a laser safety officer. 

When operating a Class 3B or 4 laser in a health care facility it is imperative that a Medical Laser Safety Officer (MLSO) be named and properly trained. In addition to having your MLSO trained it is equally important to consider the MLSO become a Certified Medical Laser Safety Officer (CMLSO). 

There can be a misconception that becoming a CMLSO is not as important as other certifications in the medical field due to the fact that this certification wasn’t available until April of 2004. However, there are personal as well as professional reasons for becoming a CMLSO.

BENEFITS OF CERTIFICATION
Your laser safety knowledge is enhanced when you become a CMLSO. The medical industry is growing at a fast pace with each passing year. Becoming certified allows you to stay on top of the changes and maintain competency in the industry. Certification guarantees that you are recognized for up-to-date knowledge on laser safety and it provides the medical facilities a measurement of a baseline of competencies that relate back to optimization of safe practices. 
            
Confidence in an individual’s performance in the medical laser field is increased when becoming a CMLSO. It is always reassuring on a professional level to know that you are completely qualified especially when it comes to lasers. 
            
Certification ensures the public as well as the industry that individuals working in this field adhere to high standards and recognize safety factors. Most of the public does not know much about lasers and how they relate to medicine, so being a CMLSO will bring an assurance to patients that they are receiving an optimal level of care. Medical laser certification serves as a model for the highest level of professionalism and knowledge that is practiced in the field of lasers and is a guiding force in patient safety and control.

CERTIFICATION’S ROLE

Becoming a CMLSO ensures medical facilities that the individual who are in MLSO positions are properly qualified. Lasers can be very hazardous when utilized without the understanding and knowledge of safe practice. It is crucial that medical laser certification be considered by any medical institution as a baseline of knowledge and competency.  

The demand for CMLSOs will continue to grow as the use of lasers becomes more acceptable measurement of education and competencies. Gaining a competitive edge is crucial in the work force today. It is imperative that in a technology based medical armamentarium that you stay up-to-date with your occupation. Becoming a CMLSO demonstrates educational prerequisites and a certain level of work experience, it demonstrates knowledge in the area of medical laser safety, and is a way of staying one step ahead and adding one more acronym of credibility after your name.

TO BECOME A CMLSO
The Board of Laser Safety (BLS), which is affiliated with the Laser Institute of America (LIA), is the certifying body for CMLSOs and realizes the importance of this certification, as well as the education received from becoming a CMLSO. 

There are two steps involved in becoming a CMLSO. First, an individual must provide information demonstrating he or she meets certain educational prerequisites and work experience. Second, the individual must pass an examination demonstrating his/her knowledge in the area of medical laser safety. Examinations are offered in computer-based format in over 325 testing centers in the U.S. and Canada. For more information on how to become a CMLSO contact the BLS at 800-345-2737 or e-mail 
bls@lasersafety.org

Vangie Dennis, RN, CNOR, CMLSO, Gwinnett Health System, Lawrenceville, GA, (vdennis@ghsnet.org) is a course instructor for LIA.

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