"I love being part of the team that helps people towards wellness"

Role Model Photo Jane Finley

Health Field: Clinical Laboratory Scientist

Number of years in the profession:
30 year

Years in College: 4 years

Professional Credentials:
BS, MT (ASCP)

How did you know this career was what you wanted to do?
I did a report for my civics class when I was in the 9th grade. My discoveries showed that this profession needed people who were liked and did well in English, science, and math. I've always had an interest in medicine and this one seemed to fit me.

What other careers did you consider?
I considered being a medical doctor.

What experiences in your life developed your interest in your career?
I took pre-med courses in college and that fostered my interest in helping people discover what was wrong with them. As a Clinical Laboratory Scientist I'm involved in contributing to 70% of all diagnoses made. Each time a pathology is discovered or confirmed I have a great sense of accomplishment that I've helped bring some closure or ease to that person.

What early preparations did you take (in high school and college) to reach your career goal?
I took as many science and math courses as my high school offered. In college I followed the pre-med curriculum along with those who would go on to med school and vet school. At the end of three years of college I went to a large hospital to do an internship that included working along side experienced technologists who worked in hematology, chemistry, blood bank, and microbiology doing the diagnostic testing on ill humans.

What things did you find to be difficult as you prepared for your career?
College tuition was always hard to scrape up.

How did you overcome these challenges?
Student loans were prevalent but worth paying back once I got a "real" job and working while still going to school during that last year. We could work as a phlebotomist drawing blood samples or in the urinalysis department on weekends.

Was your family supportive of you through your college (or other training) years?
Yes

Did you have a job and work while you were going to college or other training? Yes


Present Career as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist


Describe an average work day for you.
I teach CLS now so I plan lessons and also manage a laboratory in a specialty clinic. I must understand how the testing works and what to do when instruments or people don't work. I need to know all of the rules of managing supplies and people as well as all the latest trends in medicine so I'm prepared to share them with students as well as the doctors I serve in the laboratory.

How many hours do you work in an average week?
40-50

What kind of health care setting do you work in?
University Medical School and a Specialty Clinic lab.

What do you see as strengths needed for your career?
You should be organized, able to focus, like science, and committed to study throughout your life. You should like to work with different people within the healthcare professions and have strong communication skills.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Finding out why the human body is not functioning properly. It's like reading and solving a mystery every day.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in your career?
Use your time in high school to learn sciences like biology, chemistry, physics. Find a clinical laboratory and ask to follow someone around for a day. Do a google search for CLS to find the closest school to you and arrange to visit it.

If you could start over, would you still make the same decision to pursue education?
Yes, my career has allowed me to work in small and large hospitals, in animal research, and in clinics. I can't think of a better career that keeps me close to the helping side of health without the responsibility of the doctor. I love being part of the team that helps people towards wellness.

Do you plan to pursue opportunities for advancement in your career field?
I am doing what I want to do now which is teaching new clinical laboratory scientists and promoting my profession to healthcare and the outside world.

View Other Professionals in this Field
Finley  | Zuckero  |
Are you a current health professional?
Click here to share your experience and advice with us