In high school I knew I loved science but I did not know how to turn this interest into a career. That was until I discovered there was a field where I could not only learn more about science, but also take my knowledge to the next level and use it to help others. I pursed my bachelor’s degree in medical technology and now work as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist.
What attracted me to majoring in clinical laboratory science is that school prepares you for a specific career. Upon graduation you can choose from many different areas of laboratory science to work in. The number of laboratories is great and immensely varied. Even within this one profession there are many different types of work; from working with different kinds of instruments, to completing testing entirely by hand. Work in the clinical lab is rewarding because the work you put in gets translated directly into the patient’s diagnosis and treatment. Lab results are a vital piece in the diagnostic puzzle. Each day I come to work I know I am making a difference because the results I report help aid the physician to make a decision in how to treat the patient.
I work currently in the Mycobacteriology and Mycology Laboratory. In this area of microbiology, most of our testing involves growing cultures of patient specimens. We then monitor the cultures for growth. The primary means we use to identify the organism growing is by its morphology. Each organism whether it be mycobacterium, fungus, or yeast has a distinguishing color, texture, and rate of growth. The most infectious of the organisms I work with is Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, the causative agent of Tuberculosis. This disease is spread through the air and for this reason, most of the testing I perform must be done in a biological safety cabinet, and with respiratory protection.