Bodily fluid and blood analysis are typical tests run by the med lab tech. Most patients that visit a clinic, doctor or hospital will be required to complete one of these tests, if not both. Most diseases and other medical problems cannot be diagnosed with just a blood test, but specific symptoms can be found, which can lead the doctor in a specific direction.
What is a Blood Test?
Most people have had some sort of blood test in their lives. Blood tests do not normally require any preparation, but depending on the type of blood work done, the patient may have to fast for 12 hours prior to the drawing. Typically, a med tech or phlebotomist will draw the blood. Blood is typically drawn through the vein, but in some cases, it can be drawn from an artery. It is then taken into the lab to be analyzed. Med techs will either test the whole blood, or they will separate it from the plasma. The blood and/or the plasma can be tested for possible inconsistencies.
Blood Test Results
Once the med lab tech finishes the blood analysis, the blood report is sent to the doctor. The doctor will review the complete blood count (CBC), blood glucose level, lipoprotein panel and other appropriate data to determine what is within the average range of the patient. The average range can vary depending on factors such as race, sex, age and location. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides individuals with a chart of average ranges to expect from a blood test.
The med lab tech completes routine blood work, which is usually all that is needed by the doctor or hospital. Routine blood work consists of collecting, processing and analyzing the blood. Med lab techs are also responsible for performing similar work for other bodily fluids, maintaining instruments and following proper lab protocols. Those who opted to earn baccalaureate degrees are considered med lab scientists. The scientist, if called upon, can conduct more advanced molecular testing, and individuals in this role are more likely to move into a managerial position.