doctor working in a laboratory

Medical Laboratory Technologists are important members of your health care team. These scientifically trained professionals use sophisticated instruments and techniques to interpret the changes within your body. These changes are monitored through testing of blood and body fluid samples as well as microscopic examination of cells and tissue. To help you understand our role in health, here is a description of some of the areas we work in:

Phlebotomy: This is the place where it often begins...the taking of the blood sample. Phlebotomy staff have the responsibility of obtaining quality samples which will help ensure that the test results your physician receives will be accurate. Never a painless task, they do their best to make your experience as pleasant as possible.

Clinical Chemistry: The technologists in this area use analyzers to measure chemical and enzyme components of blood and body fluids. Blood samples are tested for level of such things as: glucose (sugar), cholesterol, therapeutic drugs, cardiac enzymes and hormones.

Hematology: This science involves examination of the blood and blood forming tissues to detect diseases such as anemia and leukemia. Also performed in this area are investigations of clotting mechanisms for bleeding disorders and tests to monitor those taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin.

Transfusion Medicine: This is the discipline that studies blood typing and matching of donor blood to ensure safe transfusions. Blood products such as: red cells, plasma or platelets are prepared and provided for patients in need.

Microbiology: The technologists in this area isolate and identify bacteria that causes infections. The bacteria can then be tested against antibiotics to determine the most effective antibiotic therapy. Special branches of microbiology include study of viruses, parasites and fungi.

Cytology: This involves the preparation and examination of various kinds of samples to identify and classify normal and cancerous cells. A familiar test processed in this area is the PAP test.

Histology: Tissue specimens from surgery or autopsy are received in this area and processed to determine or confirm diagnoses. The samples are examined before being prepared for mounting and staining on microscope slides. Our Pathologist can then perform a microscopic examination to aid in diagnoses of diseases, such as cancer.

Types of Positions

micro-hands laboratoryThe largest group of medical laboratory professionals is Medical Laboratory Technologists. They perform sophisticated medical tests in body tissues and body fluids, such as urine or blood. They are graduates of accredited college and university programs.

Medical Laboratory Assistants are employed in the laboratory to perform certain routine functions. These assistants are usually graduates of community college training programs.

Medical Laboratory Scientists work in both medical and research laboratories. They are graduates of university science programs, often at the postgraduate level.

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