Medical Laboratory science at a glance
Where does your blood go after it is collected at your doctor's office, specimen collection, or when you are an inpatient at the hospital?
These specimens and others (urine, stool, body fluid, tissues, etc) are sent to the laboratory where a series of tests are performed in order to aid in the prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. These tests are done by a group of individuals who fall under the category of Medical Laboratory Science (MLS). MLS is a multi-discipline collaborative profession that includes Medical Laboratory Assistants and Medical Laboratory Technologists.
Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLA)
Education - On average it takes an individual one year of college to graduate with an MLA Diploma.
MLAs specialize their training in the pre-analytical and post analytical processes. This is the main difference between an MLA and an MLT (Medical Laboratory Technologist) as MLTs focus mostly on the analytical phase of testing helping to report a diagnoses. Most commonly MLA's are known for their phlebotomy and data entry skills. They work in departments such as Microbiology, Hematology, Cytology, Central Accessioning, Specimen Collection and Histology.
Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLT)
Education- Diploma and Bachelor programs vary across Canada ranging from 2-4 years.
Includes five different disciplines that analyze blood, tissues, and other body fluids to aid in the diagnosis of disease. These disciplines are Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Microbiology, Blood Bank, and Histology.
Clinical Chemistry analyzes blood, urine, and other body fluids utilizing tests such as electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride), glucose (sugar), and hormones (thyroid stimulating hormone).
Hematology analyzes blood to detect hematological (blood) disorders such as Leukemias (cancer of the blood) and anemia (iron deficiency).
Microbiology analyzes various body fluids in order to detect bacteria, fungi, and parasites. This can range from detecting the common cold to more life threatening illness such as meningitis.
Transfusion Science or Blood Bank determines blood type (A, B, AB, or O) and issues blood products e.g. blood for transfusions.
Histology processes tissues from biopsies and autopsies including embedding it in paraffin wax, cutting it, placing it on slides, and staining it to allow a Pathologist to view it under a microscope and diagnose a patient.
Current Job Postings for Health PEI
Visit the Health PEI website to view current openings or external applicants. Laboratory positions are classified as Allied Health Professionals.
Are you already employed with Health PEI? Internal applicants must provide their Health PEI employee number to access internal job postings.
Are you thinking of moving up in your career, take a minute to read this article by Ashley Rego
Are you interested in becoming a Lab Professional?
Click here to see if this is a career that you could love.
Are you wondering which Educational Institutions offer these programs? Here is a great place to start your search!