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What are some tips to be successful working as a technologist in a clinical laboratory #Spring24?

I am receiving my Masters in Clinical Microbiology this summer and have no hands on experience in a clinical lab! I am looking for some advice to prepare me for my clinical rotations starting next month!

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margaret’s Answer

Hi Abby,

Madi's answer is very comprehensive. The only thing that I can add is that you should look for opportunities in your university to develop practical skills. Even getting skills in a research lab that works with microorganisms can be helpful, and will be useful in building your resume. This could be done through an internship or through volunteer work. I have gone directly to labs in my university, and volunteered to work in order to get experience. Internships are possible, but competitive, and can be sought through obtaining a linked in LinkedIn account. Glassdoor is a place that you might be able to look for internship as well. Be bold and try to stand out using your resume. Don't let rejection be an obstacle. Persistence pays off. Practical experience opens doors to life work.
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Madi’s Answer

Congratulations on your upcoming Masters in Clinical Microbiology! Here are some tips to help you succeed as a technologist in a clinical laboratory, especially as you prepare for your clinical rotations:

Familiarize yourself with laboratory protocols: Review and understand the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and protocols specific to the clinical laboratory you will be working in. This includes safety protocols, specimen handling, quality control procedures, and instrument operation.

Stay updated with relevant guidelines and regulations: Familiarize yourself with guidelines and regulations set by organizations such as the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These guidelines provide important recommendations for laboratory practices and safety.

Develop strong foundational knowledge: Review key concepts and principles in clinical microbiology, including the identification of microorganisms, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, and interpretation of laboratory results. Strengthen your understanding of laboratory techniques, such as microscopy, culture methods, and molecular diagnostics.

Practice good laboratory techniques: Pay attention to detail and practice good aseptic techniques, pipetting skills, and proper handling of laboratory equipment. Accuracy and precision are crucial in a clinical laboratory setting.

Emphasize quality control and quality assurance: Understand the importance of quality control measures in the laboratory. Familiarize yourself with internal quality control procedures, proficiency testing, and documentation practices to ensure accurate and reliable results.

Develop critical thinking skills: Clinical laboratory work often involves troubleshooting and problem-solving. Practice critical thinking skills to analyze and interpret laboratory data, identify potential errors, and make appropriate decisions.

Communicate effectively: Effective communication is essential in a clinical laboratory setting. Practice clear and concise verbal and written communication with colleagues, supervisors, and healthcare professionals. Pay attention to detail when documenting results and ensure accurate and timely reporting.

Embrace a collaborative mindset: Clinical laboratories are often team-oriented environments. Foster positive working relationships with your colleagues, supervisors, and other healthcare professionals. Collaborate, seek guidance when needed, and contribute to a supportive and respectful work environment.

Stay organized and manage time effectively: Clinical laboratory work can be fast-paced and involve multiple tasks simultaneously. Develop good organizational skills, prioritize tasks, and manage your time effectively to meet deadlines and maintain efficiency.

Seek opportunities for continuous learning: Clinical laboratory science is a rapidly evolving field. Stay updated with the latest advancements, attend relevant conferences or workshops, and engage in continuing education opportunities to enhance your knowledge and skills.

Remember, clinical rotations are an excellent opportunity to apply your theoretical knowledge and gain hands-on experience. Be proactive, ask questions, and seek feedback from your supervisors and mentors. Embrace the learning process and enjoy the journey of becoming a skilled clinical laboratory technologist. Best of luck in your clinical rotations!

Whether you’re starting college or finishing up your studies, Access Your Potential Career Readiness and Digital Skills curricula are available to help you grow and discover what you want for your career. Visit http://accessyourpotential.pwc.com/.
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