dcsimg

Career Story: Medical Lab Technician In A Hospital

Medical Lab Technician In A Hospital

Job Title: Lab Office Tech

Type of Company: I work for a small not for profit hospital in northwestern Vermont.

Education: BA in History and Chinese, Middlebury College

Previous Experience: I worked as an aide in a residential community care home. I realized that working in the local hospital would give me access to health insurance and second shift work. This was more important to me than working in my field.

Job Tasks: I'm responsible for obtaining, labelling and preparing specimens for medical testing. So, I poke people with sharp needles (phlebotomy) to get blood samples, give them containers to collect urine and/or feces and help respiratory therapists obtain sputum samples.

I care for a wide range of people: infants who need routine newborn screenings, pediatric patients, outpatients coming in for a variety of testing, and inpatients who vary greatly in the severity of their illnesses. Often I'll deal with an eighty year age span in the course of a shift. This variety keeps me interested but it also means I'm constantly having to shift my focus to make sure I meet the needs of the different populations. Because I work in a hospital setting I also have to be prepared to help out in emergency settings, if there are multiple victims of a car crash or some other accident I might be called down to the ER to draw blood or deliver blood or just be the extra pair of hands.

I research different tests to make sure we're getting the right specimen: some blood tests are done on whole blood, some on serum, others on plasma. Temperature and light exposure can also effect the results of some tests.

To prepare the specimens for testing I log them into our computer system and print out bar coded labels. Accuracy is very very very important. Mislabeling a specimen could result in harm to a patient or, although this isn't likely, even death.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is dealing with so many different people. I also like the phlebotomy. It's kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack in the dark which makes it challenging and interesting. Most people hate getting their blood drawn so if I can reassure them and make it a painless experience that's always good. I also like that I can work second shift which supports my other interests.

The worst part is that you're dealing with pee and poop and sputum and other even less attractive bodily fluids. The pay isn't great either.

Job Tips:
1. volunteer in a hospital to see whether you're really interested in healthcare work.

2. While you can take courses, many places do allow on the job training. Even if there isn't a job in the lab, take whatever hospital job you can find as it's often easier to do an internal transfer than apply cold.

3. Make sure you have a thick skin. Folks getting there bloodwork done are under stress and apt to take it out on you.

Popular Schools offering Medical Laboratory Technology Programs

quickinfoClick the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .

Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school

Matching School Ads

American Career College (ACC) offers hands-on training that will prepare students for careers in the healthcare industry at three campuses in Los Angeles, Ontario, and Orange County, California.

  • Programs: Associate of Occupational Science in Surgical Technology
  • Degrees: Associate

Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers industry-relevant knowledge and training for in demand careers in healthcare.

  • Programs: A.S. - Healthcare Technology and Systems, Diploma - Healthcare Technology and Systems
  • Degrees: Associate, Diploma
North-West College
Santa Ana, West Covina

  • Programs: Surgical Technology
  • Degrees: Certificate

San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

  • Programs: Degree - Surgical Technology
  • Degrees: Associate
Platt College
Alhambra, Anaheim, Ontario, Riverside

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Medical Assisting, Hemodialysis Technician
  • Degrees: Associate, Certificate
Unitek College
Fremont

Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. 

  • Programs: Medical Assisting
  • Degrees: Certificate
Brightwood College
Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Clovis, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego, Vista

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

  • Programs: Patient Care Technician, Medical Assistant , Healthcare Assistant
  • Degrees: Diploma, Associate
UEI College
Anaheim, Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Encino, Fresno, Gardena, Ontario, San Marcos, Stockton

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

  • Programs: Medical Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
  • Degrees: Diploma
California College San Diego
National City, San Diego, San Marcos

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

  • Programs: Medical Specialties (AOS)
  • Degrees: Associate

Since 1977, Keiser University has provided quality student-centered, career-focused education.

  • Programs: Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Science
  • Degrees: Associate
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Medical And Clinical Laboratory Technicians

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Medical And Clinical Laboratory Technicians, including:

Back to Top