Lab technicians are professionals who determine the presence, extent, or absence of disease and provide data needed to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.
To achieve prowess in the field of laboratory technology the technician must have a sense of responsibility, with a patient-centered approach along with the ability to apply the principles of basic science and evidence-based practice.
In addition to this, he/she should also have the ability to communicate effectively, understand and apply the core concepts of clinical ethics and law in everyday practice and be able to execute daily duties with professionalism and best character.
Along with it, one should have an in-depth knowledge of the basic functioning and structures of the body, the knowledge of diseases and disorders, the vast knowledge of pathogens and pathological conditions.
A qualified Lab Technician needs to be extremely precise and disciplined in their work, and be proficient in managing delicate laboratory equipment and reactive materials.
Work of Lab Technician
On completing the degree or diploma course in medical lab technology, certified technicians will have the skills to perform a large number of clinical tests and procedures, and operate various highly intricate, modern equipment. Their responsibilities include:
- Evaluation of all body fluids, the procedures for extraction of samples, and analysis of those fluids
- Examination of various tissues of the body, methods of sample acquisition and preparation, and their microscopic examination
- Evaluation of different blood cells and diagnosis of the changes or pathology therein
- Biochemistry tests to measure blood composition, and hormone, enzyme, and drug levels
- Blood grouping, cross-matching in case of emergency and trauma
- Microbiological identification of various pathogens affecting the human body including all viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens which cause infections
In general, the medical lab technicians assist and help the doctors in diagnosis through biochemical, pathological, and microscopic examination of cells, tissues, and fluids of the body.
A career as a medical laboratory technician offers a chance to have an important impact on enduring care, without actually interacting with patients.
Safety Measures in Laboratory
The eyes see only what the mind knows.
Working MLTs cannot be safe from hazards and accidents until they are aware of them. They are always at a risk of acquiring infections through the use of contaminated or infected equipment or chemicals or wrong handling of samples or equipment.
All laboratories have a common set of laboratory safety rules which are updated or improved as per the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) requirements. MLTs are advised to follow these laboratory safety rules. These lab safety guidelines mainly comprise basic common-sense rules, safety equipment, proper signage, and safe use of laboratory equipment in case of emergencies.
In order to protect themselves, the technicians should take the following precautions:
1. Wearing a sterile uniform
- Apron for protecting patients against contamination from self and vice versa
- Mask to prevent spread and transmission of diseases
- Head cap over tied hair to prevent contamination of the sterilized work environment
- Gloves while collecting samples and handling chemicals these act as a barrier protection
- Shoe covers to prevent the bacteria shoes carry from external environments to enter inside the working place
- Eyewear to protect from harmful aerosols
2. Handling the specimens
- Avoid pipetting orally as the same may lead to accidentally swallowing the contaminated specimen. Instead, a mechanical device or bulb may be used at all times, even with water to prevent infection spread.
- Unsterilized syringes or needles should not be used for collecting specimens.
- Open cuts and wounds on one’s hands or exposed surface area on the skin should be covered with waterproof bandages while performing any experimental procedure or collecting samples.
3. Handling Chemicals
- The best way to know what is in a container is to label it, so get in the habit of making a label for glassware before adding the chemical.
- No chemicals or even specimens should ever be smelled directly as these can be dangerous or even deadly.
- If you have to dispose of chemicals, always use the appropriate waste containers.
4. Proper disposal of lab waste
- One important laboratory safety rule is to know what to do with your experiment when it is over. Before you start an experiment, you should know what to do at the end.
- All potentially contaminated trash should be disposed of in biohazard labeled containers.
- Incinerators are preferable to process waste without endangering the health of patients and staff.
5. Handling the equipment
- It is important that when using different lab equipment, they should be handled with care.
- Microscopes should be held with both hands, one underneath and one on the arm.
- When handling glassware it should be held with both hands when possible.
- If something is hot, then make sure to use tongs.
- Improper or defective equipment should not be used.
6. No eating or drinking in the lab
- The lab tables may have had chemicals on them previously that were not properly cleaned up so you should not eat or drink on them either.
- Do not store food next to chemicals in the lab as that could lead to contamination.
7. The technician must be aware of the location of fire extinguishers, fire blankets, eyewash stations, and safety showers.
8. The working professionals must wash their hands properly after leaving the lab.
9. Special precautions should be taken when handling patients suffering from infectious or transmissible diseases like HIV- AIDS, Hepatitis, and others.
The foremost reason for lab safety education lies in the fact that laboratories are filled with dangerous tools and the professionals like MLTs have to keep themselves and others safe while performing any experiment or procedure.
The need for mandatory workplace-specific training is further augmented by the emergence of highly infectious diseases.
Just a little care and knowledge helps avoid major mishaps.
A career in laboratory technology thus can be exciting, challenging, and rewarding, all at the same time.
Virohan institute of health and management sciences offers programs in most of the paramedical sciences like medical laboratory technology, operation theatre technology, and hospital administration.
The healthcare courses are taught to you in such a way that you get hands-on experience and practical knowledge.
Prior to your admission, you can go for career counseling at Virohan institute where psychometric assessments and informed guidance advise you to take admission in a field of your interest and also guide you about the scope of that field. This expert counseling helps you understand what is best for you, enables you to decide for example, whether you should take admission in the 1-year paramedical program or advanced diploma program in medical lab technology after 12th class, and offers you a deep understanding of the scope of the best job oriented healthcare programs.