What are the Attributes of a Good Medical Laboratory Technician?

After getting a job in the laboratory field, how do you take the next step to becoming a good Medical Laboratory Technician? After working for several years in the field I was able to ascertain the qualities that make up a good lab tech. I have listed below a few of the qualities that make a Medical Laboratory Technician or Medical Laboratory Scientist stand out.

In order to be a good Technician or Scientist you need to have a strong desire to learn. Having a Medical Laboratory Techniciandesire to learn entails showing up to work every day eager to learn something new. I have been working in this field for several years and I am still learning new things. I have a notebook that I write down everything I encounter during the day and make sure I understand it thoroughly before I move on. If and when I encounter the situation again I am able to complete the task or solve the problem by referencing what I wrote down earlier. If you have a strong desire to learn you will not get complacent and will likely do more high quality work during your shifts. I have witnessed several students that intern in a clinical setting that do not write notes and it shows in their level of work.

Another attribute of being a good Medical Laboratory Technician or Medical Laboratory Scientist is being organized. Being organized to me means that another worker can come in right behind you and step into work without missing a beat. This skill is not developed in a lot of Technicians. I have worked with some disorganized people and I have worked with some organized people. I understand it is not everyone’s strong suit, but in the long term your fellow Technicians will appreciate you organization when they take over your work station. Some tips to help with the organizational process include racking specimens, batching specimens and keeping papers in a pile to help make sure your work station is not cluttered. I routinely rack my samples and print pending logs to make sure I am caught up.

The last thing I think is helpful in a strong Technician is to be flexible. This pertains to many things in life, but an overall flexibility will make you a more rounded MLT or MLS. In my work as a generalist I find myself working in different departments and with different people. In doing so I am able to keep my knowledge up in many aspects of the medical field and will not likely forget things. Another aspect of being flexible is working different shifts. I work primarily 6-2:30 but I have worked every shift possible. You learn a lot of different aspects of your job and experience different situations when you try different things. Having an open mind and being flexible can enrich your experience and make you a better Technician.

By having a desire to learn, being organized and being flexible will allow you to be successful in the laboratory. Not all of these skills are innate and some need to be developed and improved over time. With time and effort you can become a great Medical Laboratory Technician or a Medical Laboratory Scientist with the skills to teach someone else how to be successful in the field and to make your work environment be a great one.