A medical laboratory scientist is a person who conducts tests on bodily fluids and tissues in order to diagnose and treat diseases and conditions. A person who chooses to work in this field looks for drugs and chemicals in blood, urine, and other samples, as well as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. A person who works as a medical laboratory scientist usually works in a hospital or a medical office. This type of person is frequently found working in biotech laboratories.
The exact responsibilities of a scientist in a medical laboratory vary depending on where he works; these professionals can be found in a variety of medical fields. These scientists could work in immunology, hematology, or even blood banking, for example. A person working in this field may conduct tests to diagnose serious diseases like cancer. He could also assist in the diagnosis of chronic conditions like diabetes or the detection of parasites like those that cause malaria. A person in this field may also test blood samples for couples who are planning to marry or ensure that blood products are safe for transfusions.
A medical laboratory scientist may also be responsible for ensuring that the results are accurate, in addition to performing tests. He usually informs other medical professionals, such as doctors, surgeons, and pathologists, about his findings. He is an important member of a medical team because his findings frequently influence the treatment methods used doctors for their patients. An incorrect result could cause a patient unnecessary distress or even lead to incorrect treatment.
A scientist in a medical laboratory typically uses a variety of electronic equipment and precision instruments in the course of his work. He also makes extensive use of computers in his work. Because medical laboratory instruments and technologies are updated on a regular basis, a person working in this field must spend a significant amount of time learning how to use new devices and tools.
A bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as medical technology, life sciences, or clinical laboratory science, is usually required to become a medical laboratory scientist. Depending on where the aspiring medical laboratory scientist wants to work, an internship may be required. This type of training usually lasts about a year. Licensing or certification may be required or preferred in some places. A person interested in this field must usually pass an exam and meet other requirements in order to become licensed or certified.