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Career Profile: Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologist - Chris King

Career Profile: Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologist - Chris King

Chris King, M.S., Medical Technologist, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health

National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education

• Imputing information into the Laboratory Information System (LIS) – LIS is a computer database system that stores all of our laboratory protocols, and the patient data we generate each day. Through this system, health care professionals may order specific laboratory tests and can automatically retrieve the results once completed. I routinely update the protocols and services for the system. For example, if we begin to offer a new laboratory test, I enter the information into LIS so that it too becomes available to health care professionals by request.

More on Clinical Lab Techs

Salary: $49,7000r
Min. Education: Bachelor's
Related Careers: Nuclear Med Tech, Biological Technician

• Performing laboratory tests – When short of staff, I perform laboratory tests on patient blood, urine, and other body fluids.

• Checking for accuracy – Since much of our work is highly automated, we spend a lot of time checking that lab results are accurate. We are very conscientious of the quality of our work, as many doctors depend on the results for diagnosis, and other decisions about patient care. I routinely check that test results are accurate, that the instruments are working accurately, and that all data is being recorded properly. All laboratory equipment downloads it’s data each day into LIS. I review the LIS data each day to ensure that it is accurate, and to check the routing of patient data.

• Troubleshooting – Sometimes while checking instruments and lab results, I may discover a problem. This is when I work like a detective. For example, if lab results appear unusual, I need to discover the reason for the unexpected results. It could be a problem with the way a sample was drawn, or with lab equipment. We need to rule out these possibilities. I talk with the patient’s nurse or doctor about the results and look for clues about how the results were obtained. I review how the laboratory test was performed, and check the equipment used. Sometimes the lab test must be repeated. If an instrument is not running properly, I try to fix it.

• Answering questions – As the team leader and technical expert for the chemistry section, I often respond to related inquiries from other medical technicians, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

• Training people – I have trained nurses and doctors how to carryout lab protocols at the bedside. Sometimes there is need for them to get results quickly. I also help new employees by providing an overview of our routine protocols, and instructing them on equipment use and care.

Equipment I use in my work includes…

• Automated Urinalysis –quantifies and identifies the types of cells present in a urine sample, and displays them on a computer screen.
• Cell Counter –counts the cells in a blood sample, and sorts them by type, shape and size. Information we gain can be indicative of certain types of diseases.
• Chemistry Analyzer – measures proteins levels, kidney, liver and cardiac functioning, cholesterol levels, and drug levels in patient body fluids.

Find out more about clinical laboratory technologist careers!

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