Career Profile: Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologist - Vivian Morales
Vivian Morales, Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologist, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Center, NIH
National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education
More on Clinical Lab Techs
Min. Education: Bachelor's
Related Careers: Nuclear Med Tech, Biological Technician
I chose this career because….
I chose to become a Medical Technologist because I always knew I wanted a career in healthcare. My parents were both teachers and education was always a priority in our house. They encouraged my brother and me to pursue a higher education and consider careers in top fields such as engineering, law, and medicine. During high school, I started to look for possibilities in the healthcare system. I discovered the Post Bachelor program for Medical Technology (MT) at the University of Puerto Rico. I liked the curriculum; it was a short but intense program that would allow me to have a professional career in a few years. It was also very competitive to get into the program. In order to meet the prerequisite courses necessary to apply, I worked towards a degree in Biology. Because my father wanted to make sure I had an alternative career in case the MT program did not work out, I decided to minor in Education, to teach science as an alternative. After completing my Biology degree, the MT applications and interviews, I was accepted into the program. I’ll never forget the first time I put on a lab coat while in the MT program. I knew then that I was on my way to a very exciting career.
My first job was in a large reference lab in Puerto Rico. We received patient samples from the whole island because our lab was the only one with the sophisticated equipment and skilled staff to do the work. As a recent graduate, I worked in several departments and learned a lot of new techniques. At the same time, I applied what I learned in school to the new work environment. After a year and a half, I felt that I needed a greater challenge. What greater challenge could there be than to move to the United States and try to conquer a new country, language, job and people.
My typical work day involves…
My typical workday starts at 7:00 am and ends at 3:30 pm. As a Medical Technologist, I work closely with other health professionals to deliver quality healthcare to the patients. I am responsible for performing laboratory tests on patient samples in an accurate and timely manner. Doctors at the NIH Clinical Center, rely and depend on these tests to care for their patients.