A laboratory assistant works along side laboratory technicians and technologists. They work in several types of settings from hospital labs to independent laboratories. The job description of a lab assistant is limited to the amount of experience and training she receives. As she becomes more experienced, her duties within the lab increase. According to Payscale, laboratory assistants make around £7 per hour at entry level.
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A degree as a lab assistant is available in many colleges. A lab assistant learns basic pharmacology, laboratory procedures and medical office management. The training for a lab assistant takes between six and nine months to complete. Course requirements include clinical laboratory procedures, clinical operations and aseptic concepts and infection control. Upon graduation, a laboratory assistant receives a diploma and is prepared to enter the work force.
A lab assistant works directly with specimens by receiving them into the lab via mail or hand delivery. She then opens the packages and charts the specimens by putting date and time stamps on each one.
Recording the specimens into the computer or log is also part of the assistant’s job. She puts the patient information and specimen type along with the identification number into the computer. She also does a preliminary preparation of the specimens including staining slides. When the report is complete, the lab assistant files it in the correct location.
Also, cleaning of the lab is a responsibility of the assistant. This includes disinfecting centrifuges and benches. Hospital laboratory assistants clean and organise supplies. Also, if equipment needs repaired or replaced, it is the responsibility of the lab assistant to make sure it is done.
After learning the ropes, a lab assistant begins performing and analysing tests of specimens in a hospital lab. In a clinic, she performs clerical duties as well as the collection of specimens by finger sticks or skin punctures. She is also expected to work directly with patients making appointments and retrieving records.
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