Technologist and technician: who is more important?

There is huge misconception regarding lab technologist and technician, which are two different professions, but most of the people don’t understand this dissimilarity.

Technologist and technician: who is more important?

There are many profession in the world that assist the people to earn money for better future and make their life easier. But some of the profession are beyond to this limit they play significant role in serving humanity like doctor, health professionals etc. laboratory technologist and technician are one of them.

Lab technologist and technician may not be as charming as much a doctor because they didn’t deal firsthand with patient and don’t directly take care of them but still knows the condition of patient and care about what change happening with them.

For the accurate diagnosis and treatment of patient doctor rely on medical laboratory technologist and technician, who spread over hospitals, health center, private laboratories, research laboratories, clinical and diagnostic laboratories.

But most of the peoples misunderstand the technologist and technician because of same nature of work, in general opinion. This article briefly describes what laboratory technologist and laboratory technician are, and their duties and differences.

Medical laboratory technologist and medical laboratory technician both profession are best on their way both play role in serving humanity. They carry out the same work “LABORATORY TESTING” that entail analyses of blood, body fluids, tissue, bacterial culture and much more and help out the doctor to diagnose what actually wrong with patients health.

Generally people think both profession coequal or synonym of each other. So verily are they same? No both terms are allied but not same. They may have same duties but different level of adeptness, education and knowledge about their work.

Comparing education of medical laboratory technician, who completes 2 or 1 year degree or diploma from respective college or hospital, their course work comprise both the practical and theoretical work but mostly accent to practical work akin diagnostic procedures, testing techniques, major laboratory disciplines and learn how to identify analyte, and they also perform hand on training.

While medical laboratory technologist, who completes 4 year degree program from university, although their course work also comprises the both practical and theoretical aspects but more emphasize on theoretical aspects than laboratory technician, which is more in depth and rigorous. Before learning testing procedure of any analyte they learn whole body system, normal and abnormal function of organs and reason behind increasing and decreasing level of analyte.

Laboratory technologist academic subjects assimilate microbiology, biochemistry, pathology, and molecular biology and others. With these lab technologist also focuses on laboratory skills that entail diagnostic procedures, safety rules, laboratory errors, laboratory management and the most important quality control and quality assurance.

Laboratory technician and laboratory technologist both are skillful and proficient worker who work in a complex system, carry or work with infectious or contagious sample, perform extremely sensitive and technical diagnostic test, operate automated machines with accuracy etc. Both may perform some similar task but their education, duties and knowledge make them differentiate with each other.

Laboratory technicians are industrious workers spend many hours on feet throughout testing. They perform rudimentary and vitally important task guide patients for testing procedure, responsible for phlebotomy, label and prepare sample for testing and other fundamental task. They perform routine test with very prudent and attentiveness, strictly follows standard testing procedure, perform daily maintenance of lab instruments, run daily control and concern about the accuracy of testing techniques and automated machines.

While laboratory technologists duties are more in-depth. They design whole laboratory management system, concern about accuracy of pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical phase of laboratory, carry out routine as well as more advanced and typical analytical test that need much concentration, good handling and great knowledge like ELISA, PCR, Bacterial culture, histology etc.

Moreover, lab technologist emphasis on accurate patient report by checkout control chart or levey-Jennings chart (LJ) impart by automated machines. LJ chart follow Westgard Rules technologist familiar and well-understood these rules by applying it detect which error occur.

Laboratory technologist are trouble-shooter easily detect when results incorrect and need to be rechecked. Some time automated machines give 0 level of calcium in test sample while control calibration opportune. Technologist facilely catch-up this error that may be blood for calcium test mistakenly collect in anticoagulant tube because they well-known about clotting system.

Lab technologist are trained to detect errors that sometimes technicians don’t, since they are not well-trained to troubleshoot errors and omissions.

Laboratory technologist also cognizance about lab instruments well-known methods through which these automated and semi-automated machines work this include but not limited to photometer, spectrophotometer, flow cytometry, electrical impedance, electrochemical luminescence etc. Whereas, lab technician generally aware about the operations of such equipment.

Technologist also aware biohazard samples and their mode of transmission thus more conscious and stringently peruse lab safety rules and also mentor lab technician about it. These safety rules not merely protect them also immobilized many lab errors.

Laboratory technician can make their career as Medical Laboratory Technologist by getting additional education. While laboratory technologist can more build their career by acquiring specialization in any specific area or field of laboratory alike haematology, microbiology, molecular biology, clinical chemistry, histology etc., which enabled them to perform more specialized test of that area and develop new methodologies.

In Pakistan, there is huge misconception regarding these two professions most of the people don’t know what actual and real difference lies between both of these professions. Because of that both the technician and technologist face the challenge in acquiring there level of jobs. Not only but also some of allied health professionals and paramedical professionals deal with it.

Besides, Pakistan introduced these two professions a long time ago by opening of medical laboratory technology departments in universities of Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Jamshoro etc., but still in many laboratories only technicians are working specifically in government hospital laboratories there is no concept of technologist only lab technicians are available.

It is solely responsibility of government and health department that they must acknowledge these differences and increase the number of laboratory technologist posts in government hospital laboratories with a higher basic pay scale. In government, as well as in private laboratories, there should be equivalent numbers of laboratory technologist and technician so that each of them can play their own role and duties and make laboratory management, diagnosis, and results more accurate and precise.