Clinical laboratory science is crucial to the practice of modern medicine. Physicians depend on accurate laboratory data to diagnose diseases, while nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals rely on this information to plan or implement treatment and care for the individual patient. Billions of dollars are spent each year for tests performed in clinical laboratories with volumes expected to increase annually.
They work with specialized, high-precision instruments to obtain results that are both valid and meet high standards of accuracy, precision and quality control. They are also responsible for correlating and interpreting test data, assessing and improving existing laboratory test methods and designing, evaluating and implementing new methods. They work with all types of body tissues and fluids, from blood and urine to cell samples.
Clinical laboratory scientists are experts in the disciplines of Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Coagulation, Urinalysis, Microbiology, Immunoserology, and Blood Banking. Increasingly they employ genetic/molecular diagnostics in their analyses.
A solid academic background in the sciences, expertise in all aspects of laboratory practice and the highest professional qualities are combined to develop a well-rounded professional. Having practiced the team concept throughout their course work, graduates apply these same principles to health care delivery, interacting with other health care professionals by consulting on test methods, interpreting results, and coordinating interdepartmental efforts (e.g., point-of-care testing).
Advances in technology have simplified certain lab tests to allow their performance by minimally trained workers. However, only certified laboratory professionals can perform, interpret and evaluate the hundreds of other moderately or highly complex tests necessary for today's sophisticated health care environment.
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