Medical Lab Assisting 1A: Introduction
Medical Lab Assistant
Career Pathway Course Units
Unit 1: Introduction to Medical Lab Assisting
If you’re thinking about a career in health care, medical lab assisting could be just what you’re looking for. As the healthcare industry continues to grow, the demand for medical lab assistants increases. Medical laboratory assistants work in diagnostic labs, hospitals, clinics, and medical practices in every town, city, and part of the country. Unlike becoming a nurse or doctor, you can become a medical lab assistant in months, not years. Medical lab assistants work with a team of other healthcare professionals assisting in the diagnosis of patients and enjoy opportunities for financial and career growth. Sound interesting? Let’s get started!
Unit 2: Medical Ethics & Professionalism
In health care, difficult decisions are made each day. How does a medical laboratory assistant learn how to make the right decision? As we begin to explore patient care and what makes a lab work, we’ll look at the ethical codes, guidelines, and regulations that provide the medical laboratory assistant a way to understand the day-to-day complexities they will encounter. These frameworks ensure a smoothly running lab where accountability, respect, and trust are developed between an MLA, their colleagues, and their patients.
Unit 3: Communication & Medical Terminology
Those who work in health care seem to speak their own language. Communication is important in any industry but is especially important for those who deal with life and death. In a medical laboratory, effective communication is essential for receiving instructions about which tests are required, ensuring the correct patient and sample, and providing results at the right time to the right person. Communication is more than just talking—communication takes place when you answer the telephone, send an email, or call a physician with a lab result. It also takes place when you roll your eyes, look at your watch, or sit up in your chair and pay attention. An MLA will use communication every single day to convey information to patients and other members of the healthcare team.
Unit 4: Anatomy & Physiology
An adult human body has about 100,000 miles of blood vessels. Sure, this is an interesting fact, but why is it important to understand? Of the 11 body systems, the circulatory system is the one an MLA will work with every day. It’s time to get up close and personal with the heart, blood vessels, blood, and more. Becoming familiar with the structures and functions of the human body will help you better understand illness and disease prevention. Recognizing which tests are needed for specific diseases and which body system is being evaluated by each test will help you on the job. A solid understanding of the human body is fundamental to any career in health care, but it’s essential to your success as an MLA.
Unit 5: Safety & Infection Control
Can you imagine a hospital where no one washes their hands? Where you can dispose of hazardous waste anywhere you please? Let’s hope not! Working in health care is rewarding and fulfilling, but it is not without risk. You will come into contact with certain hazards and infections in the workplace that could expose you or others to disease or injury. Knowing how to manage these risks and maintain a safe environment is essential to anyone working in health care. Are you ready to learn about dangers in the workplace, how infection spreads, how to safely handle hazardous materials, and how to protect yourself from possible contamination or infection? And what do you do if you are exposed to a disease or dangerous substance? Let’s look into the world of safety and infection control, where you play a key role in making your workspace a safer place for all.
Unit 6: Specimen Handling
You may have heard the saying “a cook is only as good as their ingredients.” The same could be said about specimens: a specimen is only as good as the sample. A quality sample obtained by a conscientious MLA is the first step in determining the overall care of the patient. An MLA handles many different types of specimens as part of their job. You will be helping obtain them, but what happens once you have the specimen in the lab? How do you handle and store different types of specimens? Knowing how to safely handle specimens and keep the integrity of the specimen intact are the keys to obtaining accurate results, protecting you and others from possible exposure, and promoting overall safety in the medical laboratory.
Unit 7: Microbiology
The study of microorganisms, called microbiology, has a long, rich history. The fascination with microorganisms was originally centered on how they caused infectious diseases. This is still an important consideration, but now the study has become much more robust and includes practical applications of the science. As an MLA, you will be working on the identification of different types of pathogens and assisting with specimen preparation to determine the causes of illness. Different techniques are used to identify different types of disease-causing microorganisms. A basic understanding of what these organisms are, how they reproduce, and how they contribute to disease will serve to help you in the preparation of specimens for medical laboratory testing.
Unit 8: Infectious Disease & Immunology
Which creature is responsible for the most human deaths every year worldwide? Is it the great white shark? Or the king cobra? You might be surprised to learn that it is the humble mosquito! You have learned that microorganisms are on us, in us, and all around us. They inhabit every environment on the planet and can lead to many infections and illnesses. Since mosquitos feed on human and animal blood, they serve as a means of transmission of some of these pathogens, including some that cause deadly illnesses, from one person to another. Let’s learn about how specific microorganisms are isolated in a medical laboratory and how this information is used to control diseases caused by pathogens.