The week of April 18–24, 2010, is National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. Tuscaloosa and West Alabama are fortunate to have a large number of medical laboratory professionals living and working in the area. Whether working for the DCH Health System, the Veterans Administration, physician office labs or any of the Urgent Care facilities, medical laboratory professionals are a diverse population of individuals committed to bringing quality healthcare to their community.
Many facilities are open for extended hours and several operate continuously, 24-hours per day, 7 days per week. From the clerical staff to the technical and administrative staff, many individuals function together in a wide variety of roles in order to provide easily accessible care to their community. The staff usually includes the following:
Clerical and Secretarial – perform a wide variety of clerical and administrative tasks using a wide variety of application software and communications hardware.
Phlebotomists – trained and certified staff to collect blood specimens and assist in pre-analytical processing of blood and non-blood specimens.
Laboratory Assistants – Trained to perform a variety of technical and testing functions in the various technical disciplines.
Histology Technicians - Trained to perform and assist in a wide variety of technical functions in the Pathology Laboratory
Histotechnologists – May have an Associates Degree or a BS degree, including training to perform a wide variety of functions in the Pathology lab. Prepares the tissue, cuts it, adheres it to slides, stains it, and cover slips the slides for diagnosis by a pathologist.
Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLT) – Associate degree, specialized training and a clinical practicum in each of the various technical disciplines within the clinical laboratory.
Cytologists – A minimum of a BS degree and specialized training in cytology or cytotechnology. Cytologists are often immediately supervised by a pathologist and often assist with findings in order to help make or confirm a diagnosis.
Clinical Laboratory Scientist/Medical Technologist (CLS/MT) – BS degree or equivalent clinical education. Typically includes a formal 12-month educational process involving specialized training and a clinical practicum in each of the various technical disciplines.
Pathologist’s Assistant – Allied health professionals who are highly trained, academically and practically, to provide pathology services under the direction and supervision of a pathologist.
Pathologists – Medical doctors (MD) who specialize in clinical and anatomical pathology. They have received extensive training (years) in a specialized residency program following graduation from medical school.