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Medical Lab Assisting 1B: Clinical Lab Safety & Procedures

Medical Lab Assistant
Career Pathway Course Units

Unit 1: Clinical Lab Procedures for MLAs

When you step into a laboratory, you are surrounded by technology that has taken generations to develop. The hours spent perfecting the tools of the lab are evident from the microscopes to the beakers to the test strips. In the hands of trained laboratory personnel, these tools have led to medical breakthroughs that have cured diseases and extended human life. Learning how to perform the procedures of the laboratory is the first step in becoming part of this legacy. History is being made right now, so let’s jump in!

Unit 2: Aseptic Technique & Sterilization

Can you imagine surgeons not washing their hands before surgery? How would you feel if a scalpel fell on the floor right before it was used on a patient? Our concept of cleanliness and understanding of infections should give us pause at each of these scenarios, but this was not always the case. Surprisingly, controlling infections and microorganisms through cleaning is something that has only been understood for the last 200 years. Before then, surgeries would commonly lead to patients becoming infected. Understanding that pathogens are the cause of infections was a major step forward for medical science. The next step was to determine a way to stop these pathogens. Let’s learn more about aseptic techniques and sterilization on the job.

Unit 3: Quality Assurance & Control

How valuable is a medical lab test if you can’t trust the results? What if a physician prescribes a medication based on a result from the lab that is not accurate? Patients place a large amount of trust in the medical system; they need to have confidence that their test results are accurate. Building a reliable system of medical testing does not happen by accident. It takes attention to detail and adherence to specific protocols, but it is possible to control and assure the quality of medical test results.

Unit 4: Clinical Chemistry

We encounter chemistry every day of our lives. Our bodies are powered and guided by countless chemical reactions, often happening without our knowledge. By understanding chemistry, we can start to unlock mysteries with the human body. The laboratory becomes our tool in this process of discovery. Clinical chemistry gives us the ability to observe life in action.

Unit 5: Laboratory Measurements

Much of our daily routines can be measured. From the weight of the food we eat and the volume of water we drink to the distance we walk, most of our activities can be recorded as a number, maybe even on your phone’s app. The same is true within the medical lab, but these tasks are so precise that we need additional tricks and tools to measure them. Through proper observation and calculations, we can begin to understand even the smallest reactions.

Unit 6: Practice Management

Could you list each grooming or beauty product you regularly use and how much you have of each? How about cleaning products? School supplies? Do you keep a record of these, or have you thought about keeping one? Just like in our daily lives, supplies are essential for running a medical laboratory. Having methods to track, document, and reorder supplies in the lab helps to ensure we never run out when we need them. The lab also documents the testing that uses these supplies, so it can later be reimbursed for performing them. Maintaining accurate records and following administrative procedures ensures that even the busiest medical laboratories can operate efficiently and effectively.