Medical laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and other procedures used in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the human body.
Duties and Tasks
Medical laboratory technicians may perform the following tasks:
- set up equipment used in the laboratory and maintain it in a clean condition
- prepare and stain slides of microorganisms for microscopic examination
- under supervision, collect blood samples, perform blood counts and carry out tests to determine bleeding, coagulation time, blood types and other characteristics
- communicate results of tests to the medical officers who have requested them.
Some areas in which medical laboratory technicians may work are:
- Anatomical Pathology where they process samples of tissue that have been surgically removed from the body so that the pathologist may make a diagnosis.
- Clinical Chemistry (Biochemistry) where they test blood and body fluids to determine abnormalities in the blood, often using specialised instrumentation.
- Cytology where they prepare and stain smears of body tissues or fluids and examine them with a microscope, looking for cancer or cell changes that may lead to cancer.
- Haematology where they examine blood, work out its type, perform blood counts and generally assist in the study of blood and its disorders in order to diagnose diseases such as leukaemia and iron deficiency anaemia.
- Medical Microbiology where they receive samples such as wound swabs, urine and faeces, help to isolate and identify microorganisms associated with various diseases and infections and examine samples for evidence of these microorganisms.