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My Career Search Part Five

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Lela has had many wonderful adventures in her life. This is my story...

Typical Teenager

My son actually resembles this model!

My son actually resembles this model!

Don't You Wish Children Came With a Set of Instructions?

After graduating from Sam Houston State University, I moved back to the one city in Texas that should have a sign board that says, “No Liberals, No Democrats, no non-religious folk Allowed.”

That was, and probably still is, Corsicana, TX. Not my cup of tea.

It was my son's only known home. I wanted to salvage what little of our relationship remained. Bill (not his real name) came to live with me in my apartment in town. The old man (his father) was in bad shape. He was practically on his deathbed and died shortly after Bill's eighteenth birthday.

Unfortunately, for all of us, these were not happy times. Bill was going through puberty, he was an angry Republican, with every nuance relating to the Right Wing everywhere. Just like his dad.

But we made the best of our time together and tried to get along. I worked every weekend, which meant leaving a teenager at home with no supervision. Please don't do this to your children! I really didn't know better. Bill never got into any real trouble, but he did a few things that were troubling to me as his mother. Unfortunately, I never considered being a parent to be a good career choice. I totally failed as a mother.

I am a “bleeding heart”, Left Wing, Liberal. Furthermore, I never should have left my only child there to soak up the influence of the Right Wing's rigid lifestyle. I can never apologize enough.

"Bill" is all grown up now, a Pilates instructor and musician in Oregon! He is happily married. He has travelled to Japan, France, and a few other places. Not only that, but he is even contemplating moving to Ecuador! I am very proud of his strength, musical ability, and living as a vegetarian. He is in great shape!

Typical Laboratorian

Typical Laboratorian

The Years Flew By

During my return to Corsicana, I did manage to land several jobs. I found weekend work in the surrounding towns, as well as weekends only in Dallas (about 50 miles away). I would drive to Dallas on Fridays and get off on Sundays. With this job, though, I did get an eight-hour break between two 16-hour shifts. By Corsicana standards, I made a good living as a “lab tech”.

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The Medical Laboratory Career

At the time, there were tiers of Laboratory Personnel (compared here to Nursing tiers):

  1. Registered and Trained Phlebotomist (mostly on the job training)
  2. Medical Laboratory Technician (formal training, with licensing requirements, equivalent to an LVN)
  3. Medical Laboratory Technologist, recently changed to Medical Laboratory Scientist. (4 years in college with a bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology, or Biology, equivalent to an RN)
  4. Medical Laboratory Supervisor and/or Department Supervisor (years of qualifying experience, or a master’s degree, equivalent to a Director of Nursing, or DON)
  5. Theoretically, a Medical Laboratory Scientist could advance up to the CEO position of a hospital, or an independent laboratory.

Duties include:

  • Drawing blood (phlebotomy), collecting body fluids for analysis, and then analyzing the blood and body fluids by various means. Each lab test has a procedure to follow, and the MLS must adhere to federal guidelines for safety and accuracy.
  • The MLS repairs equipment, runs quality control on each lab test, makes sure the test results are accurate, and does whatever is outlined in the employee’s agreement and procedure manuals.
  • Specialist in Blood Banking (SBB): An MLS can also specialize in his or her favorite area of the lab. They must pass a rigorous test and truly be a master in a specialty such as blood banking,
  • There are other Specialists exams to sit for, such as Specialist in Hematology, Urinalysis, and Coagulation; Specialist in Microbiology; Specialist in Chemistry; and Specialist in Pathology.

Supervising all laboratories is Medical Doctor, usually a Pathologist with an MD, or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy)

Where do Laboratorians Work?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics1, Laboratorians work in quite a few places, some you would not expect:

  1. Hospital laboratories
  2. Reference laboratories for bulk testing, or specialty testing like heavy metal exams, or any other analyte that can be measured by medical technology. Doctors use lab tests to diagnose and treat patients.
  3. Medical Diagnostic laboratories, Labcorp®, for example.
  4. Physician’s offices
  5. Universities
  6. Outpatient Care Centers Medical Laboratory Computer Systems and Hospital database computers

What is the Pay Scale for Laboratorians?

The best places to live and work as a Laboratorian.

The best places to live and work as a Laboratorian.

Did You Know?

Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is around April 24-30 of each year!

Visit www.ascp.org (ref. 3) to find out more.

References:

  1. U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021
  3. American Association of Clinical Professionals

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Lela

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