To provide patients with accurate test results, a phlebotomist draws blood with skill and precision in order to obtain quality specimens.
The laboratory assistant aids the laboratory technicians/technologists by performing various tasks in the laboratory such as processing specimens, setting up cultures in microbiology, performing simple testing procedures, and employing chemical and hygiene safety in the lab.
Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)
Medical Laboratory Technicians work in the areas of chemistry, hematology, immunology, and microbiology. Their duties range from analyzing samples chemically on instruments to microscopically examining blood and fluids for abnormal cells or bacteria causing infection.
Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS)/ Technologist
Technologists work in all the same areas as medical laboratory technicians, but perform more complex testing. They examine blood and body fluids microscopically to examine cells for abnormalities or cancers. Technologists can also assist in identifying bacteria, fungi, or parasites causing infection.
When it comes to chemical samples, technologists analyze the samples on sophisticated instruments to determine concentrations of compounds in the body, such as glucose, cholesterol, drug, and hormone levels. Another important section of the laboratory is blood banking, where technologists type and crossmatch blood for life-saving transfusions.
A cytogenetic technologist’s job is to study the relationship of chromosomal abnormalities to specific diseases. Chromosomes are made up of a person’s genetic information, their DNA. The technologist examines slides with chromosomes from blood cells. They are looking for changes using various staining techniques. The chromosomes show a specific pattern and the cytogenetic technologists can recognize that pattern and see if it is normal.
Cytogenetics is used to look for answers. Why is that baby not feeding well? Why can’t I get pregnant? Is there a special chemotherapy that will help me beat cancer? The cytogenetic technologist working at the microscope helps the physician find those answers.
Molecular Genetic Technologist
A Molecular Genetic Technologist’s job is to study the relationship of DNA abnormalities and the disease process. They examine DNA samples using sophisticated instruments and by performing complex analyses. The DNA can be obtained from different sources and therefore the technologist works with many types of samples: blood, tissue, saliva, etc.
The molecular genetic technologist can find the single change in a gene that can result in a predisposition for cancer. They can recognize which chemical agent will best treat a cancer and identify the inherited disease that runs in the family. Molecular Genetic Technologists help patients discover their personal genetic make-up and its impact on their lives.
Managing the daily technical, administrative, and scientific activities of the medical laboratory is the job of the laboratory director or manager. These activities include data examination, creating and reviewing reports, managing staff, and ensuring the laboratory complies with government and organization regulations.
Doctorate in Medical Laboratory Science
A Doctorate in Medical Laboratory Science is currently being developed in the field. The role of the doctorate will be to provide an interface between the laboratory and physicians to better utilize laboratory testing.
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