WHAT IS MEDICAL LABORATORY TECHNOLOGIST?
A Medical Technologist is a healthcare professional who performs Chemical, Hematological, Immunological , Microscopic and Bacteriological Diagnostic Analyses on body fluids such as Blood, Urine, Sputum, Stool, Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF), Peritoneal Fluid, Pericardial Fluid, and Synovial Fluid, as well as other specimens. Medical laboratory technologist work in clinical laboratories at hospitals, doctor’s clinics, reference labs, biotechnology labs.
Medical Technology (MT) typically earns a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science, medical technology. In most four-year medical laboratory degree programs, the student attends classroom courses for three years and clinical rotations are completed in their final year of study. In clinical rotations, the student experiences hands-on learning in each discipline of the laboratory and, under supervision, performs diagnostic testing in a functioning laboratory.
Most Medical Laboratory Technologist is generalists, skilled in all areas of the clinical laboratory. However some are specialists, qualified by unique undergraduate education or additional training to perform more complex analyses than usual within a specific field. Specialties include clinical biochemistry, hematology, coagulation, microbiology, bacteriology, toxicology, virology, parasitology, mycology, immunology, bloodbanking, histopathology,cytopathology, genetics, cytogenetic labs. Medical Laboratory Technologists specialty may use additional credentials, such as “SBB” (Specialist in Blood Banking) or “SH” (Specialist in Hematology). Medical Laboratory Technologist can be certified and employed in infection control. These professionals monitor and report infectious disease findings to help limit iatrogenic and nosocomial infections. They may also educate other healthcare workers about such problems and ways to minimize them.
A Medical Laboratory Technologist may pursue higher education to advance or further specialize in their career.
Master of Science, Master of Health Administration for specialization, education and management roles.
Doctor of Philosophy for management and directorship roles in the clinical laboratory as well as for academic research and professorship.
Medical Laboratory technologist work in all areas of the clinical laboratory including blood banking, chemistry, hematology, immunology, histology and microbiology. They perform a full range of laboratory tests ÔÇô from simple prenatal blood tests, to more complex tests to uncover diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and cancer. They are also responsible for confirming the accuracy of test results, and reporting laboratory findings to pathologists and other physicians. The information that a Medical Laboratory technologist gives to the doctor influences the medical treatment a patient will receive.
A Medical Laboratory Technologist analyzes human fluid samples using techniques available to the clinical laboratory, such as manual white blood cell differentials, bone marrow counts, analysis via microscopy, and advanced analytical equipment.
Medical Laboratory Technologist must recognize anomalies in their test results and know how to correct problems with the instrumentation. They monitor, screen, and troubleshoot analyzers featuring the latest technology available on the market. They performs equipment validations, calibrations, quality controls, “STAT” or run-by-run assessment, statistical control of observed data, and recording normal operations. To maintain the integrity of the laboratory process, the medical laboratory Technologist recognizes factors that could introduce error and rejects contaminated or sub-standard specimens, as well as investigates discrepant results.
Common tests performed by Medical Laboratory Technologist are complete blood count (CBC), electrolyte panel, liver function tests (LFT), renal function tests (RFT), thyroid function test (TFT), urinalysis, coagulation profile, lipid profile, blood type, semen analysis (for fertility and post-vasectomy studies), serological studies and routine cultures. In some facilities that have few phlebotomists, or none at all, (such as in rural areas) Medical Laboratory Scientists may perform phlebotomy on patients, as this skill is part of the clinical training.
ROLE IN HEALTH CARE PROCESS:
A Medical Laboratory Technologist’s role is to provide accurate laboratory results in a timely manner. An estimated 60 percent to 70 percent of all decisions regarding a patient’s diagnosis and treatment, hospital admission and discharge are based on laboratory test results.
Program Learning Outcomes
i. Graduates will evaluate clinical laboratory data and relate that data to various disease processes.
ii. Evaluate media, reagents, and standards according to established criteria.
iii. Establish basic quality control procedures, confidence limits, and normal ranges for new procedures or methods.
iv. Assess the reliability of laboratory results through correlation of data with common physiological conditions.
v. In prescribed instances indicate the need for additional laboratory tests for definitive diagnostic information
vi. Graduates will apply knowledge of entry-level skills to accurately perform testing in all areas of the medical laboratory.
vii. Apply systematized problem solving techniques to identify and correct procedural errors, identify instrument malfunctions and seek proper supervisory assistance, and verify the accuracy of laboratory results obtained.
viii. Operate and maintain laboratory equipment, utilizing appropriate quality control and safety procedures.
ix. Perform comparison studies on new or existing procedures and report results according to conventional scientific formats.
x. Provide clinical orientation and supervision for students and new or less skilled laboratory personnel. Lecture or provide class demonstrations.
xi. Graduates will demonstrate the elements of professionalism to operate as respected members of the health care team.
xii. Graduates will employ interpersonal communication skills in relaying laboratory test information and when interacting with patients, lab personnel and other health care professionals.
xiii. Graduates will comply with laboratory safety regulations and standards.
xiv. Maintain focus on the patient to provide quality laboratory services.