By John Maaske for Triage
When we hear “hero,” we think capes and rescuing citizens from peril. Guess what, dear medical lab technician, we know that you’re saving lives in your lab coat. Whether you are an experienced professional or simply aspiring to be in the field, your dedication to such an integral position should be appreciated. Unfortunately, there are many people, including those in the very building you work within, who have no clue what you do, who you are and why their lives are better because of your work.
Good news, we do and we’re ready to show the world why all you do matters.
YOU’VE GOT THE ANSWERS
If there’s one thing television dramas have added to our lives, it’s misconceptions of medical practices. Whether it’s Grey’s or Chicago Med, you know it’s the drama that has you hooked, not the accurate depiction of a medical facility. In those shows, doctors are taking and reading lab results, administering medications, assigning a diagnosis and delivering the bad news. While the doctors in primetime wear all the hats, in the real world, medical lab techs actually know before anyone else exactly what is afflicting the patient. In fact, most diagnoses have to receive confirmation from the very tests clinical lab technologists and technicians conduct. One study conducted by the Clinical Leadership and Management Review stated 94% of medical data found in the patient record was gathered by none other than laboratory professionals.
YOU ARE THE MASTER OF DETAIL AND TIME
Sure, all medical professionals have these traits, but medical lab technologists and technicians don’t just have, they embody. Sure, tasks may seem repetitive to the untrained eye, but any lab pro knows just how many projects an individual is juggling at any point in time (hint: multiple). Checklists, planners, daily schedules… your chosen tool is a work of art. Juggling samples that need immediate testing with others that demand time to culture could leave the disorganized scrambling. But that’s not you. Within the first 15 minutes of your shift, you probably have your whole day planned and are prepared to meet any surprise that might pop up (uncooperative sample sound familiar?) You’re so cool under pressure during it all that no one even realizes the insanity that is your everyday.
YOU DO THE DIRTY WORK
Medical lab technicians have a dirty job. In order to determine a culprit in their little clinical puzzle, they must examine clues and those clues happen to the patient specimen. Armed with protective masks, gloves, goggles, and training, lab techs approach infectious (sometimes odorous) human materials. Long hours on your feet, risks of illness and hectic environments don’t stop heroes and they definitely don’t deter you.
YOU’RE SCIENC-Y SHERLOCKS
Behind a great deal of the center stage careers, there are really educated craftsmen. Medical lab techs are the set crew to the theater, the screenwriter to the movie, the composer to the orchestra, the lyricist to the pop star… We could go on. Lab professionals provide the foundation of everyday medical work and in order to create a solid one, you attended an accredited program and may even specialize in something like microbiology, clinical chemistry or hematology. You may work behind the scenes, but you are the sleuth solving puzzles and preventing disease one specimen at a time.
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