What led you to choose this career?
I wanted a chance to get into the medical field but had no idea where to start. I began researching career options that included both laboratory work and medicine combined. I found that a job as a medical laboratory scientist was the perfect combination.
What interested you in working for Cleveland Clinic?
Cleveland Clinic is a world renowned hospital organization that no matter where someone is from or where they have been, they have heard of the Cleveland Clinic. I heard about the Cleveland Clinic growing up as the go to hospital system when other hospitals couldn't get the job done.
What physical/or soft skills do you need to succeed in this career?
Manual dexterity is an important part of the medical laboratory science field. In order to properly handle small amounts of specimen, a laboratory scientist must be able to use fine manual dexterity. Other important aspects of laboratory work are the scientist's attention to detail and critical thinking skills.
What excites you about this career field?
The medical laboratory science field is constantly changing and new discoveries are being made every day. For example, Cleveland Clinic medical laboratory scientists were at the forefront of developing COVID-19 testing.
What has been your most gratifying experience in this profession?
The most gratifying experience about working in the clinical laboratory is the fact that I can leave every day knowing that I had the potential to save someone's life. Laboratory work may occur behind the scenes for the most part, but there is not a day that goes by that the results we are providing to the physician have the potential to have a direct impact on a patient's health and well-being.
What career options are there for this profession?
The career options for this profession are abundant. Being a medical laboratory scientist can lead an individual into laboratory management or education positions or even into careers involving quality improvement and sales.
What is something others may not know about this career field? What are some common misconceptions?
The most common misconception about being a medical laboratory scientist is the fact that we get mistaken for being a phlebotomist or a nurse. Sure, we are trained to draw blood if need be, and occasionally have interactions with patients, but our job is to process and analyze patient samples in order to provide the physician with detailed and accurate results so they can properly treat the patient.
How has this career field changed since you started? What does the future look like?
There are more advancements in testing and older test systems that were once a standard are now being phased out. Molecular diagnostics is a field that is continuing to show advancement and will only continue to grow in the future.
What is the #1 piece of advice you would give to interested students?
My number one piece of advice I would give to interested students is to try and talk to someone who is currently in the field to learn more about the work that is done. Also, I would try and schedule a tour for an in-person look at what this profession is all about.
- Visit the Medical Laboratory Technology and Medical Laboratory Science profile for more information on these career paths.
- Explore what Medical Laboratory programs Cleveland Clinic is affiliated with.
- Visit the Cleveland Clinic School of Medical Laboratory Science webpage