The identification, diagnosis, and treatment of disease require a skilled detective, someone who knows what clues to look for and can communicate their findings to provide insight on the best course of action. This skilled detective is the Medical Laboratory Scientist. 

A Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) has been trained to proffer solutions and aid in diagnosis through the analysis of biological specimens- from cells to blood and other body fluids, with the use of biomedical instrumentation and technology. 

These professionals do everything from providing your cancer testing results to predicting the correct antibiotic to prescribe, to typing the correct blood for surgery, etc. MLS professionals provide answers to life-and-death decisions every day, they are among the most integral parts of healthcare teams. 

In a regular healthcare setting, the patients go for a consultation and laboratory test(s) are requested depending on the patient’s health condition, patient’s samples are sent or taken in the lab., the MLS does the recommended test and then sends out results. This makes the MLS have little to no interaction with patients, rather, they interact with the patient’s samples after which the results are sent to the physicians or doctors.

Despite occupying such an important part of the diagnostic and treatment process, MLS are considered to be among the most unrecognized healthcare workers — a hidden profession because they do not engage in face-to-face communication with patients like other healthcare professionals.

Due to the little interaction of the patient with the Laboratory Scientist, the general public is largely not familiar with the work they do. This unfamiliarity has led to misconceptions about the role, including about the specifics of what MLS does on a day-to-day basis. A stereotypical image of a scientist is the person in a laboratory coat surrounded by test tubes & burners, whipping up a new formula to change the world. 

In addition to this lack of understanding of Medical lab scientist roles, the public is unfamiliar with their importance. Because patients often don’t see medical lab scientists, it can make it difficult for them to understand the crucial work they do. 

This has dimmed the spotlight on the scientist. Just like in movies where actors are given the accolades for a work well done with little or no appreciation to the directors, scriptwriters, videographers, etc who work behind the scene, it’s the same way other health professionals like nurses and doctors are given the accolades for the work being done by the scientist. 

This lack of appreciation could sometimes diminish the morale and self-motivation of the scientist.

Also, because the MLS does not interpret or explain results to patients, the scientist depends on the physician for an accurate interpretation of the work done by the scientist. The amount of information that can be gleaned from these lab results span from early disease detection and prevention to providing insight on how to treat cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. If in any condition there is a misinterpretation of the result, the work done by the Scientist is put in jeopardy. 

This has also resulted in Medical Laboratory Scientists being viewed as inferior in the ranking of health professionals and sometimes not fully rewarded for the work they do. 

But what will the Medical world be without laboratory results and people who are intimately familiar with them?

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  1. Good one💯💯 This will encourage more people to run tests before commencing treatment.

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