For the week of April 22-29, we have the opportunity to recognize the dedication and commitment of all the medical laboratory professionals out there. Their unrelenting devotion to the medical community plays a vital role in health care and patient advocacy each and every single day! While their efforts, which have saved countless lives, certainly deserve recognition 365 days a year, we’d like to encourage everyone to reach out to these individuals this week and show their gratitude.
92% of Americans believe an annual head-to-toe checkup with their primary care physician is an important part of preventative care and maintaining their health. And of the approximate 45 million that do schedule an exam, a vast majority of them have bloodwork done to test things like their glucose or cholesterol levels.
Have you ever stopped to think about all the behind-the-scenes laboratory testing that takes place before you receive your exam results? After all, each patient specimen that’s collected is someone’s parent, child, sibling, or friend, and requires the highest degree to care and attention possible.
Most people assume their physician or a nurse is the one analyzing all those microscopic blood cells to rule out any abnormalities. However, the true individual’s responsible are medical laboratory professionals.
From performing tests surrounding genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, to resolving the correct medical treatment to use when someone is battling an antibiotic-resistant infection, medical laboratory professionals are the heroes behind the curtain that play a vital role in the healthcare landscape. There are an estimated 300,000 medical laboratory science practitioners in the U.S. who have dedicated their craft towards preventing and diagnosing a wide spectrum of diseases.
Testing analysis conducted by medical laboratory professionals is a pivotal part of assessing an ailment, diagnosing a medical issue, and constructing an appropriate treatment regimen. Phlebotomists, which also fall under the category of laboratory professional, are the backbone of a functioning healthcare system; expertly gathering patient samples and ensuring they are processed and transported properly.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of technologists and technicians in the medical laboratory field is projected to grow by an estimated 13% by the year 2020. From a job opportunity perspective this means we can expect an estimated 11,300 laboratory technologist/technician openings in the job market each year. Similar to the forecasted physician shortage, the laboratory workforce is experiencing a deficit in new talent. With less than 5,000 people graduating from accredited training programs annually, the need for workers in this space is greater than ever.
There is no better time than now to begin exploring a career as a medical laboratory professional. Interested in learning more? Drop your questions in the comments below and read more about available opportunities here.