A Look Inside the Lab: RPCI Honors Lab Professionals
Roswell Park patients rarely meet the team working behind the scenes – a team just as dedicated to understanding, preventing and curing cancer.
This past week (April 22-26, 2013) marked National Laboratory Professionals Week. The clinical laboratory team at RPCI is very aware that behind every sample we receive and analyze, there is a patient with a story.
The Department of Laboratory Medicine is responsible for providing over one million tests annually to the clinicians, helping them diagnose and treat our patients here at Roswell Park. Clinical laboratory testing contributes to up to 70 percent of all medical decisions, so we play a vital part in a patient’s clinical care.
Our department is committed to assisting Roswell Park’s clinicians in caring for patients. As such, we operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are literally working around the clock, providing testing and results for our patients.
My main role within the Department of Laboratory Medicine is overseeing the clinical operations within. I make sure the department functions on a day-to-day basis by administering tests and assisting clinicians and nurses with any issues they have.
Within the Department of Laboratory Medicine, there are a number of areas of specialization including our phlebotomy, microbiology, chemistry, hematology and stem cell departments. We also operate a blood bank and transfusion center, which involves the cross matching and issuing of blood products for our patients.
If you’re interested in laboratory medicine, there are a number of opportunities to explore:
- Phlebotomists are responsible for drawing and collecting blood. At Roswell Park, we consider our phlebotomists to be the faces of the department and have direct interaction with our patients. A high school diploma or equivalent and phlebotomy certification is required to become a RPCI phlebotomist.
- Clinical assistants receive and process blood samples, field phone calls and questions and are important in providing excellent customer service.
- Lab workers, the individuals who test and analyze samples, must have a two or four year degree in medical technology from an accredited institution and are licensed by New York State.
For those who are interested in a clinical rotation, we work with a number of universities in the area as part of students’ educational training. Students may come on site, observe, learn, and practice techniques before they graduate.