Medical Laboratory Scientist Job Description
A medical laboratory scientist is a health care expert who performs tests on body fluids, tissues and cells samples to help diagnose, treat, manage, or prevent diseases. Medical laboratory scientists use sophisticated biomedical instrumentation, microscopes and computers to study samples obtained from the human body. They are also known as medical technologists, medical laboratory technologists, medical laboratory scientists, or clinical laboratory scientists.
A medical laboratory scientist should be inquiring, empathetic, methodical, patient and reliable, and have an understanding of laboratory safety procedures and the ability to follow them. They should be able to concentrate for long periods of time, work as part of a team, and communicate effectively.
Pursue a career in medical laboratory science if you have aptitude for biology and chemistry, and interest in working in a medical laboratory, testing and analyzing blood or urine samples to study human diseases.
What does a Medical Laboratory Scientist do?
Medical laboratory scientists may do some or all of the following:
- receive urine, blood or other samples for experimentation and analysis
- prepare standard volumetric solutions or reagents to be combined with specimens
- manage and operate laboratory equipment
- test and study blood, urine and other body fluids
- evaluate test results and prepare reports for physicians
- maintain laboratory quality assurance and safety standards
- cross-match blood for transfusion
- guide and supervise junior staff and technicians
- write medical articles for medical journals
Where does a Medical Laboratory Scientist work?
Places of work for medical laboratory scientists include:
- Biotechnology companies
- Food companies
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Chemical and cosmetic companies
- Veterinary clinics
- Forensic centers
- Health clinical laboratories
- Transplant and blood donor centers
Medical laboratory scientists may work rotating shifts that include evenings, weekends and public holidays, or be on call. They work in the laboratories of hospitals, clinics, health centers, etc. They may be required to wear protective clothing such as a lab coat and safety glasses.
What is Required to Become a Medical Laboratory Scientist?
To become a medical laboratory scientist, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science and complete an internship program. Medical laboratory scientists are required to be registered with the medical sciences council of their country of residence to practice.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Blood banking
A medical laboratory scientist may specialize to become any of the following:
- Clinical Biochemist - a scientist who analyzes body fluids for diseases
- Clinical Immunologist – a scientist who studies the body's immune system to test for diseases
- Cytogeneticist – a scientist who studies chromosomes
- Hematologist - a scientist who studies blood and the diseases of the blood
- Histologist – a scientist who studies microscopic tissues
- Medical Cytologist – a scientist who tests cell samples for cancer
- Medical Microbiologist - a scientist who studies microorganisms of medical interest
- Transfusion Scientist – a scientist who prepares blood and blood products for transfusion
- Virologist - a scientist who studies viruses
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Medical laboratory scientists need to have:
- accuracy and precision
- manual and finger dexterity
- good hand-eye coordination
- good eyesight and near vision
- good attention to detail
- good judgment and decision making skills
- good listening and communication skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- time management and organizational skills
- computer skills
- record keeping skills
- the ability to keep information confidential
- the ability to work calmly under pressure
- the ability to concentrate for long periods of time
- knowledge of chemistry and biology
- knowledge of clinical laboratory procedures
- knowledge of clinical microbiology
- knowledge of the use and operation of laboratory equipment such as microscopes and cell counters
Should I be a Medical Laboratory Scientist?
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