Career as a Medical and Clinical Laboratory Specialist


Summary

A Medical and Clinical Laboratory Specialist is someone who conducts lab tests ordered by doctors and other healthcare providers. Working with laboratory machines, microscopes, and computers, they examine human tissue samples and bodily fluids in order to identify abnormalities and to determine diagnoses. A laboratory technician's work is vital to a patient's healthcare.

Medical Specialist perform laboratory tests on blood, other body fluids and tissue samples which provide information to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. They test samples for the presence of disease and potential causes, which may include bacteria, viruses or parasites. They may also run tests to determine the chemical composition of the sample and concentrations of naturally occurring components, such as testing blood to determine a blood group and the concentrations of red and white blood cells. The results of these tests can be used to assist general practitioners and other medical specialists to effectively treat and prevent disease.

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Specialist are the people who perform routine medical laboratory tests, giving physicians the information needed to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. By examining and analyzing body fluids and cells, they can determine the chemical content of fluids, look for parasites, bacteria, and other microorganisms, look for abnormal cells in blood and body fluids, match blood for transfusions, and test for drug levels in blood. Medical and Clinical Laboratory specialist use microscopes, cell counters, and other sophisticated lab equipment. They also use computerized instruments and automated equipment that can perform a number of tests simultaneously. After testing and examining a specimen, they analyze the results and relay those results to the physician.

Work Environment

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Specialist work in hospitals, medical or diagnostic laboratories, physician's and dentist's offices, and in state or federal agencies. Working hours may vary according to the type of employment setting. In hospitals or laboratories that operate as a 24-hour facility, technicians usually work the day, evening, or night shift and may work weekends and holidays. Technicians in small facilities may work on rotating shifts, rather than on a regular shift, and may be on call in case of an emergency.

When proper methods of sterilization are followed, few hazards exist. However, protective masks, gloves, and goggles are often necessary to ensure safety. The workplace is usually well-lit and clean; however, specimens and solutions used in the laboratory sometimes produce fumes.

Entry Level Education

Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology, Clinical Laboratory Science, or another life science.

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