Job Title: Medical Laboratory Department Manager
Type of Company: I work for a community hospital in southeastern Connecticut
Education: AS, Medical Laboratory Technician, Manchester Community College (Manchester, CT) BS, Biology, Bridgewater State College (Bridgewater, MA) MA, Teaching, Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT)
Previous Experience: I worked as a microbiologist in the medical laboratories of a number of clinics hospitals (diagnosing patient infections and determining proper antibiotics) and was eventually promoted to "Charge Tech." I then pursued a management position at a busy local hospital.
Job Tasks: I am the manager of the forty phlebotomists at a local community hospital. Phlebotomists take blood from patients for laboratory testing. I also staff four out-patient laboratories where patients can walk in and drop off specimens or have their blood drawn for testing.
Most of my day is consumed with staffing issues, ensuring we have the proper amount of staff on all shifts in all locations. I also am responsible for yearly performance evaluations, education of staff and, in the event they don't follow procedure, staff discipline. I investigate new equipment with the sales staff and set up trials to test it out. I am responsible for ordering stock and the materials needed to perform the phlebotomy lab work. (This includes twenty different kinds of test tubes, gauze, tape, tourniquets, special needles, and equipment needed for infants such as heel lancets.) I ensure communications between staff using cutting edge technology called Vocera and handheld computers and wireless printers.
At times, if I have a patient complaint, I try to help out by giving them the best service possible, and compensating (hopefully) for any problems that have occurred. At times, I will also help to draw blood specimens if help is needed.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is seeing our staff complimented by patients or other departments. I enjoy sharing their triumphs. This is especially true when a child has had to have blood drawn and the parents are happy because the child was not afraid, and did not feel a prick from the procedure.
The worst part of my job is having to discipline my staff for doing something wrong. My staff are trustworthy, they have the best intentions, but sometimes when they don't follow the simple rules, serious mistakes happen. I discipline my staff to remind them of the rules and to protect the patients that we serve.
Job Tips: I've worked my way up to this position, but there are many avenues to it. I would suggest you take science and math courses in school. You may want to pursue a certificate course in Phlebotomy after high school, then continue to get a degree. The more degrees and/or experiences you have, the more doors will open for you.
Additional Thoughts: I have always wanted to help people, but I'm very shy. As a medical tech I have the opportunity to be instrumental in helping patients get better, but I don't have to feel uncomfortable because of my shyness. I seldom have to interact with patients themselves.
In the lab, you must be detail-oriented. You must pay close attention to details. It also helps if you like to solve puzzles!
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