"The most rewarding part of my job is providing the necessary information for medical professionals in other areas to treat patients appropriately"

Role Model Photo Florence Zuckero

Health Field: Clinical Laboratory Scientist

Number of years in the profession:
30 year

Years in College: 4 years

Professional Credentials:
Medical Technologist, B.S. Mt(ASCP)

How did you know this career was what you wanted to do?
The description of the courses required and the anticipated work based in the laboratory sounded like something I would enjoy doing.

What other careers did you consider?
Pathologist, teacher of biology or English

What experiences in your life developed your interest in your career?
Enjoyed biology and chemistry; had an interest in medicine

What early preparations did you take (in high school and college) to reach your career goal?
No preparations at all

What things did you find to be difficult as you prepared for your career?
It was hard overcoming a slow start in college because I had never learned to discipline myself to study. I felt less qualified in some areas because there was a limited curriculum at the high school I attended, and I was reluctance to ask for help when needed. I was also unable to afford books for some classes.

How did you overcome these challenges?
I learned to study and prepare ahead of time. I failed one chemistry course because I didn't attend class and ask for help when needed. I learned to go to ALL classes. I also learned that some books are essential and some are not.

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? No


Present Career as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist


Describe an average work day for you.
Laboratory work involves a variety of responsibilities in several fields. Many tests are performed on automated instruments, but the results are frequently reviewed by a lab professional before they are reported. Some tests require personal judgment and hands-on work, such as microscopic examinations of urine sediment and blood or Gram's stains. Blood banking (preparing units for transfusion) is one area that requires especially critical judgment since mistakes can cost lives. Many different types of specimens are tested and a large variety of dfferent tests may be performed by any one technologist.

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

What kind of health care setting do you work in?
hospital

What do you see as strengths needed for your career?
great precision in all work; willingness to follow instructions exactly; willingness to envision alternate paths to get work done and make adjustments quickly; ability to work without supervision guided by personal integrity to provide professional work

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
providing the necessary information for medical professionals in other areas to treat patients appropriately

What advice would you give to those who are interested in your career?
If you enjoy working in a job that gives much personal satisfaction and chances for working in a variety of settings, laboratory medicine may be a good choice. If you need recognition or an outstanding pay scale, this is probably not your field. (The pay is not horrible, but is less than many other professions with similar credentials.)

If you could start over, would you still make the same decision to pursue education?
Yes, I would. I very much enjoy the work and the autonomy accorded to most technologists to do quality work essentially in their own way. I also like the controls built into this type of work that allow me to say with almost certainty that a result is valid. (Notice that laboratory personnel rarely ever say CERTAIN.) There are opportunities to work in a variety of settings, several of which I have expereinced in the 34 years I have worked. (hospital laboratory, private laboratory, physician office laboratory, teaching lab students)

Do you plan to pursue opportunities for advancement in your career field?
I may pursue education for personal satisfaction, but not especially for career advancement because of family responsibilities. When those responsibilities end, I would be interested in advancing to laboratory management or possibly teaching. (I already have a M.Ed. In Secondary Education.) I also will consider working temporary assignments that require travel to a variety of areas.

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