Medical Laboratory Technologist - Duties and Responsibilities

by Beatrice

What are the duties and responsibilities of a medical laboratory technologist?

Medical Laboratory Technologist

Job description

Medical laboratory technologists perform a variety of laboratory tests and procedures to assist physicians in diagnosing, monitoring, treating and preventing disease.

These tests have a wide range of areas; blood banking, chemistry, hematology, immunology, and microbiology to name a few.

As a medical laboratory technologist, you will:
  • Examine body fluids and tissues for abnormal chemical levels, cells or bacteria.
  • Prepare tissue for microscopic examination by pathologists.
  • Determine blood type for transfusions.
  • Conduct medical research and analyses.
  • Operates and maintains sophisticated instruments and equipment used in the division, is able to properly set up, calibrate, maintain, operate and shut down such instruments.
  • Maintains competence in Laboratory Information System that is crucial to the quality operations of the laboratory and patient care.
  • Actively participates in Quality Improvement Programs essential to ensure that laboratory testing is accurate, timely and meets customer needs.
  • Trains and orientates new Medical Laboratory Technologists in the performance and interpretation of tests.

    Medical laboratory technologists may specialize in the following areas:
  • Clinical chemistry - chemically analyzing blood and other body fluids.
  • Clinical microbiology - culturing and identifying micro-organisms and determining antibiotic sensitivities.
  • Hematology - studying blood cells and their formation in health and disease, and investigating coagulation factors and disorders.
  • Histotechnology - preparing tissue specimens for microscopic examination.
  • Transfusion medicine - taking and testing blood to determine its suitability for transfusions and preparing blood products.
  • Cytotechnology - microscopically examining prepared cellular slides for evidence of abnormality or disease.
  • Clinical genetics - analyzing patient tissue to determine the presence of a pre-existing or neoplastic genetic condition.

    Work environment
  • Medical laboratory technologists may perform a number of different activities, or they may specialize in a particular area.
  • Those who work with infectious patients and samples or hazardous chemicals must take safety precautions to avoid infection or injury.
  • Working hours for medical laboratory technologists vary depending on the type of laboratory in which they work.
  • Research laboratories usually operate weekdays only.
  • In diagnostic clinical laboratories, technologists may work rotating shifts of days, evenings and nights including weekends and holidays
  • They can be employed in hospital laboratories, public health departments, pharmaceutical laboratories, veterinary research clinics, agricultural, industrial, government or private laboratories, post-secondary institutions, scientific supply companies.


    Medical Laboratory Technologist Program

    Required High School Courses:
  • Community Health
  • Information Processing
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Math
  • English
    Personal characteristics and skills
  • Integrity and a professional attitude.
  • Aptitude for mathematics and science and a keen interest in scientific work.
  • Ability to do detailed work and maintain a high level of accuracy.
  • Good colour and form perception (to study blood cells, etc.)
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to adapt easily and quickly to change.
  • Enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, analyzing results, establishing procedures and using computers and specialized instruments for accurate and precise testing.

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