What does a Hospital Medical Lab Technologist do? Want to know the answer!

If you're like most people you do not have a system, what happens behind the closed doors of laboratories for the local hospital. In particular, you are almost certainly not given much thought and work, nor had her in preparation for a few years. I start the medical laboratory technology, and after a fascinating program, I have been in operation as a registered medical laboratory technician in a central part of the lab a little more than a year.

I'll write about what I should do now, because few people understand. When I say I am a "technological laboratory", they think that means I'll take the blood and that's it (people to do the blood called phlebotomists, and we're not the kind of people in my Working in the lab - we have lab technicians, and even if a majority of the work of their collections in connection with blood, they have other responsibilities as well, and unfortunately, their role is poorly understood, too, but I can not here).

Most of my work is drawn in Medical Laboratory happens "behind the scenes" and takes place after the patient's blood. It is analogous to a portion of the light, and a description of the group a film set - an important, but do not know what the public sees, as is generally underestimated and neglected. It is a shame because the film is not without them, as the patient's health would be very different without the lab. You may have heard that 80% of all medical decisions on laboratory results, the laboratory of medical technology based on offer. I hope you are able to understand a small part in Medical Laboratory Technician.

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Blood Bank:

Here is the test of the blood group (ABO blood group and Rh factor) in the first place all patient samples, the station is. There are a few reasons for us to do that. One is the screening of pregnant women. If a woman with a baby is Rh negative, it means it lacks the Rh protein in its blood cells. If the baby she is carrying an Rh-positive child make the protein Rh (inherited from his father), blood cells, and if the Rh factor can be activated through the placenta into the bloodstream of the mother, the mother of the immune system and begin attack on your baby. This can lead to complications with the baby (it can be fatal), lead, especially in subsequent pregnancies.

Damage to this entry through the situation at the beginning of the blood bank, as mothers, a drug that prevents them, their babies can be given. If a patient has a blood transfusion (due to bleeding, anemia, conditions, etc.), he / she is blood that is compatible and will not cause side effects (the administration of the wrong blood type can lead to death) was added. In the laboratory, blood bank, we cross-match that the removal of a sample of the patient's blood sample and mixing with blood that has been selected for transfusion heard. The idea is that if two Bloods respond to something negative to the laboratory (in vitro) to do, they do not respond negatively within the patient (in vivo).

It is not always so easy, even if we do not cross it before the game, we check the patient's antibodies in the sample. This means that we are the patient's blood for specific proteins that lead to that person to react negatively to check on certain blood products. If you have antibodies, we have to separately identify themselves or the antibodies are there to make sure we can do to blood products for transfusion, choose not to react with antibodies. This is called "against study" and not really my laboratory. If we determine that the antibodies are present, refer to the sample of the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) study.


Hematology literally means "study of the blood" and the key criterion here is a complete blood count (CBC). CBC is actually a series of tests and the most important are as follows: white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin and platelets.

What happens to the patient samples for the CBC is to put our analyzers, which measure blood components mentioned above and many others? So we have all the results of the review of the computer before we "check" or to accept it, that he is available to the treating physician. If you results that are truly abnormal, or that are very different, as the recent history of the patient, we go to the doctor directly and / or by telephone by fax the documents immediately need. We then have a drop of blood of the patient on a glass slide, stained, dyed special hematology, and look under a microscope.

As sophisticated as our parser, we still have much work under the microscope in some patients, to ensure that nothing is left analyzers. There are some things we can learn from looking under the microscope. We have certain criteria and if they followed, the blade comes to our laboratory pathologist for examination.

CBC, you can alert your doctor about many things, such as infections, internal bleeding, reactions to the chemotherapy demerit, clot properly, etc. As with most laboratory experiments, they are often just a "piece of the puzzle" that help doctors to diagnose used and / or treatment.

It announced a further part of the hematology and coagulation, a separate department in large laboratories, but to me, coagulation is less general department of Hematology. Deal coagulation of the ability to coagulate the blood of the patient. Some people who are particularly prone to clotting medications may thin the blood, which is less likely that blood clots in the arteries. The problem is that if too thin the blood, it can put the patient at risk of massive bleeding or bleeding with minor injuries. It's a delicate balance. The most important tests that we have the PT (prothrombin time) and PTT (partial thromboplastin time) called, depending on the type of blood-thinning medicine (s) of the patients and / or in what situation it is turned on.


This is the easiest part of the basic research work in the laboratory, and deals mainly with the urine test for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) can be seen. Each urine sample, urine analysis in that we see are placed in our parser. If certain criteria are met, such as the presence of enzymes in the white blood cells, red blood cells, turbidity, bacteria, or proteins, the sample under the microscope for further analysis to see. If enough bacteria or white blood cells are visible, a urine sample sent for microbiology culture (I'll explain more micro-§).

There are a few other sediments, we have to keep an eye on a urine sample. One of the most important thing is to "throw." There are a number of different shots, and they can not prove that the prior training (not clinically significant), kidney disease (of course, much more clinically relevant).


Department of Micro-detection of infection-causing bacteria. Since I work in basic research in the laboratory, we used a base and work with enough samples to have to see the types of bacteria normally fairly predictable (not always). Nothing "really weird" is sent to a laboratory reference projects.

Examples of samples that we can build a culture of this situation are as follows: urine, faeces, throat swab MRSA ("super-bug") swabs, vaginal swabs, tampons injury, spitting, etc. Examples of the bacteria we are looking for September are: urinary tract infections, food poisoning, vaginal colonization, which can be transferred, the baby causes the disease, such as pneumonia, lung infections, and the colonization of catheters and tracheae associated with the patient.

Imagine a culture where we take our small sample and put it in a special plate for Microbiology, which contain the necessary nutrients for the growth of certain types of bacteria. And the plates were incubated at a suitable temperature and oxygen environment. The next day we look at the plates increases. The reading of the plates is a little learning curve, but in some cases, can begin to recognize what is clinically relevant, what is not.

One of the most difficult parts to play hard, that is all they can on the hard disks "bad bacteria". You probably know that our bodies are covered with bacteria inside and outside, and it is our "good" bacteria or normal flora. It can be a fine line between what is normal flora, and it is not. It may complicate the bacteria, which can be used as a normal flora in small quantities to be pathogenic and pathogenic bacteria in large quantities should be. There are several factors here, but that makes it interesting.

When we selected clinically important bacteria in sheets, we need to know what it is and also what antibiotics to patients in order to kill bacteria. To do this, we have only scratched with a plate and put it in a salt solution. This creates a liquid suspension of bacteria that we have set the analyzer. About 10 hours later, the analyzer will tell us that the bacteria on a huge database of known bacteria, based their software. In addition, the antibiotic susceptibility of the entity in question.

A Department of Microbiology, which requires the interpretation of my opinion and most of the criticisms (it can be a lot of interpretation for the blood bank and may be required). Each disc has a different look, and it can be difficult to meet the rules we apply in every situation. We have to assess each plate is a case by case basis. Many times we have our technical staff for their views, in particular a disk or a situation. It's great to be able to learn technicians with years of experience. There is always more to learn, and micro-flats, is the laboratory.


Chemistry is the automated all departments - which means that you will find most analyzers and microscopes, and not involved in any hand-interpretations. Can glucose, cholesterol, thyroid hormones (TSH and FT4), electrolytes, liver enzymes, certain medications, troponin (cardiac enzymes), etc. We here present the results of a comprehensive HEP: Some examples of the most important tests to do here monitoring of liver and kidney function is designed to strengthen, if the patient has had a heart attack.

In other words, the Department of Chemistry, we take samples for Chemistry of the patients, put them in our analyzers, to await the results, and if the results look OK, leave the files on your computer, or if the results are high or too low, we will call and / or fax the results. As with anything, it's not really that simple. Although the analyzers, sophisticated equipment we have, but do not always work like they should. We must be very carefully on the analyzer malfunction, error codes, inadequate temperature and humidity, etc.

Opening of the chemical analyzer, the spirit of opening the hood and look into the interior of your car (ie a bunch of parts and son). There are several pieces that all work properly, so that we can be confident that the results of these analyzers offer. This is a daily maintenance procedures weekly, monthly and needs, we need to do to our analyzers to operate it. Some, including sensor cleaning, monitoring / modifying reagents and routine quality control (QC).

The quality control is so important that it is worth a few words is. Is to run a QC sample results are already known (usually they are acquired company makes medical diagnostics). We put our samples, these analyzers, and if the results fall within an acceptable range, this means that our quality control, crushed, and the analyzer is working properly and safely used in the outcome of patients.

If QC fails, it warns us that something is wrong with the parser, we can not publish the results of the patient until we find what's wrong and fix it. Often requires a lot of troubleshooting, sometimes called technical support and review of QC charts. It is a kind of quality control in all units, and it is very important everywhere - in the chemical industry, but at least where I work, is the work, and it appears to the constant attention.

Most labs, if they are very small, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is where I am at work, which means I work shifts. During the day is usually about 8 technology and are often present in about 4-5 laboratory technicians. It is the day shift, technicians are expected to work alone in a department (eg hematology), but when it deals with a different department happens, we use common sense and help if needed.

Evening and night shifts, but is only a technology and a laboratory technician is employed. On the evening of the workflow is usually occupied. Some nights, even if it is so slow that is almost nothing to do, while others in the night it's so incredibly busy that it is very difficult to follow what is being prepared and it is almost on auto-pilot mode, only to get a job. We do not take breaks or dinner, if it is, but at least it's not like all these changes. Some evenings it is when we do the majority of maintenance work. Is usually not a large number of patient samples during the night, but the service that we add to last all night, depending on how it goes. Ideally, the interview went very well and takes only half of the night.

Overall I enjoyed my career as a medical laboratory technician. It is the satisfaction of knowing that help my work, offer many pieces of the puzzle that will eventually lead to a diagnosis of the patient and / or treatment. When hope is collected in my article, it is involved in this area that most people are aware of (how many jobs that appear simple on the surface). The next time you stop at a local laboratory for a blood test, you might now think about what is involved in the "backstage" and more respect throughout the process, not just the part you see.

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