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If you are looking for a career with lots of challenge and plenty of rewards in the medical field but you’re not ready to take the big step of becoming a doctor or a nurse, you should consider studying to become a medical laboratory assistant. This is an interesting career that has lots of room for variety and challenge.
Medical laboratory assistants often find work in research facilities and hospitals. In research facilities, they are more likely to be involved in assisting scientists in their research but in hospitals they will do work that will help diagnose patients and find proper treatments for them.
What Skills Will You Need to be a Medical Laboratory Assistant?
Medical laboratory assistants must have excellent comprehension skills. That means that they must be able to read well and understand what information is most important. They need to be able to read and find specific information in the body of a text. They must also have excellent listening skills because there is not always time to write information down and the assistant must give their full attention to the speaker and retain the important points and ask questions that are relevant.
Other skills that are necessary for medical laboratory assistants include:
- Problem solving
- Math skills
- Time management
- Monitory of yourself, others, and equipment
- Good verbal communication
- Thinking skills - decision making, critical thinking, analysis
- Good understanding of science
- Knowledge of medical terminology
- The ability to learn quickly and retain information
These skills will all help you perform your duties efficiently.
What are the Duties of a Medical Laboratory Assistant?
There is a great deal of variety in the duties of a medical laboratory assistant. They might start the day by setting up and adjusting the lab equipment. Throughout the day they may make adjustments and at the end of the day they will likely do some cleaning of the lab equipment.
Throughout the day they are likely to perform many different analysis tasks. This could include doing analysis on bodily fluids like urine and blood samples or analyzing the results of experiments and test using electrical or mechanical devices. They will also record and analyze data from tests that will then be compiled into graphs or charts or written in a text format.
Medical laboratory assistants may also be responsible for collecting sample of bodily fluid from patients and then performing test on it. They will need to know how to store these samples properly so that they are not contaminated so that they can be used in the future, too.
Medical laboratory assistants will work with other lab staff to ensure that all of the details of their work are done carefully and perfectly so that the results of studies are not skewed. They will need to have a great eye for detail and they will need to communicate with other staff members in an efficient manner. They may have to provide information and instructions to other lab assistants so they must have excellent speaking skills.
If you are ready to get started in a career as a medical laboratory assistant your first step is to get the right training. You can find many schools throughout Canada and the United States that offer medical laboratory assistant courses. If you take courses full time you can be ready to get into the work force in less than a year. If you need to continue working you may be able to take part of your course work online but it is always a good idea to find a school that offers practical teaching as well, so in class time might be required.
Look for a school that gives you a jump start on your future career by setting you up with a work practicum. Work practicum or work placements give you the chance to learn in a real life environment and they give you experience that can be very helpful when it comes time to start your job search.