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What is a Medical Laboratory Scientist?
Medical laboratory scientists are qualified by academic and applied science education to provide service and research in clinical laboratory science and related areas for rapidly changing health care delivery systems. They perform, develop, evaluate, correlate and assure accuracy and validity of laboratory information; direct and supervise clinical laboratory resources and operations; and collaborate in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Medical laboratory scientists have diverse knowledge and multi-level functions in the principles, methodologies and performance of assays; problem-solving; troubleshooting techniques; interpretation and evaluation of clinical procedures and results; statistical approaches to data evaluation; principles and practices of quality assurance/quality improvement; and continuous assessment of laboratory services for all major areas practiced in the contemporary clinical laboratory.
Medical laboratory scientists possess the skills necessary for financial operations, marketing and talent management of the clinical laboratory. They have the requisite knowledge and skills to educate laboratory professionals, other health care professionals, and the public in laboratory practice.
The ability to relate to people, a capacity for calm and reasoned judgment and a demonstration of commitment to the patient are essential qualities. Communications skills extend to consultative interactions with members of the health care team, external relations, customer service and patient education. In addition, medical laboratory scientists demonstrate ethical and moral attitudes and principles that are necessary for gaining and maintaining the confidence of patients, professional associates, and the community.
View this educational video from the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor projects that the employment of clinical laboratory workers is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average for all other occupations. An increase in the aging population will lead to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer or type II diabetes, through laboratory procedures.
Careers in medical laboratory science are available in hospital laboratories, forensic laboratories, reference laboratories, molecular diagnostics, public health, veterinary offices, doctor’s offices, management, industry, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, medical sales and education and research institutions.