The laboratory assistant is quite a broad profession. We all had to take tests at least once in our life. Without them, they will not be able to deliver an accurate diagnosis, put in a hospital and prescribe the right adequate treatment. Whether blood from a finger or vein, a nasal or throat swab, urine or feces, pieces of tissue or fluid from cavities, all these materials enter the laboratory, where they are carefully examined for abnormalities, infection, or examination of other characteristics. This is done by specially trained people called lab assistants or laboratory technicians.
Thanks to their work, directly treating doctors can accurately say which antibiotic should be treated with pyelonephritis, what dose of insulin should be given to patients with diabetes, what infection the genitourinary system is concerned with, benign or malignant education in the patient, and much more. Therefore, now we will tell in detail about these specialists, what they are doing and in what cases they should be addressed.
Who is a lab technician?
The laboratory technician can check the quality of food, the octane number of gasoline, the presence of harmful chemical compounds in drinking water, air and ground, brightness of illumination, air humidity in the room, take X-rays, be an auxiliary worker at the university department, and much more. But we will tell about the laboratory assistant in the classical sense of the word, namely the clinical laboratory assistant.
When presenting this specialist, a girl in a white coat, gloves and without fail with a scarifier in one hand and a cotton swab in the other is standing right in front of her eyes. In fact, laboratory technicians are different, and they can not always be female. Most people hate the manipulation of blood sampling and compare the lab technician with the "bloodsucker".
When should I go to the lab technician?
Usually the list of tests is assigned by a doctor, and he also gives directions for research. But you can go to the analysis yourself. For such a service, you can contact a private laboratory or any private clinic. Laboratory tests are needed for almost all diseases. Therefore, if the kidneys or back are ill, you will most likely be given a general urine test. If you have pale skin and feel lethargic, then you will have a general blood test. If you have been examined with an enlarged thyroid gland, then in any case, you will take an analysis for hormones.
What diagnostic methods does the lab technician use?
Depending on the type of analysis, laboratory technicians can use diagnostic methods such as:
serological method (RIF, RNGA, ELISA);
polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method.
The microscopic method is used in cytology, histology, microbiology and other branches of laboratory diagnostics. Thanks to this method, you can identify some pathogens (gonococcus, chlamydia, etc.), identify eggs of parasites, as well as differentiate malignant cells from normal ones. Its principle consists in applying to the glass material, pre-painting with special dyes and subsequent examination under a microscope.
Bacteriological diagnostic method is used to determine the type of pathogen in bacteriological infections (cystitis, pyelonephritis, vaginitis, conjunctivitis, angina and other diseases), as well as determining the sensitivity of antibiotics to infectious agents. Its principle consists in growing microorganisms contained in the material, on special nutrient media, determining their types and further setting sensitivity to antibiotics.
Serological methods of investigation include various serological reactions (agglutination, precipitation, neutralization and others). Serologic methods of diagnosis, the laboratory technician uses to determine blood groups and Rh factor, the presence of certain types of immunoglobulins in the blood, the definition of some viral and infectious diseases, as well as much more.
The method of polymerase chain reaction is based on the determination of parts of the DNA of the pathogen in a biological fluid (blood, urine, vaginal discharge, sputum, semen). The PCR method is relatively new, but it is already actively used to diagnose most pathogens of infectious diseases, as well as viruses.
What does the lab technician do?
It is clear that the laboratory technicians are engaged in analysis. But what and how it is not at all clear. Therefore, we now talk about this. First of all, we want to note that there are simply laboratory assistants (specialists with secondary special education) and laboratory doctors (specialists with higher education). Laboratory assistants can have a different category (from first to higher), which they receive in special classes, referred to as refresher courses. Also, these specialists can work in different structures, namely in polyclinics, clinical hospitals, maternity hospitals, morgues and individual laboratories. It is the place of work and the level of education that determines the type of work of the laboratory assistant.
Laboratory assistants of polyclinics
Each large polyclinic has its own laboratory, where the sampling of the tests and their research are carried out. They work there as laboratory assistants with secondary education, and laboratory technicians. Analyzes are usually given on the prescription of the attending physician, who issues a voucher for the study. The main analyzes in the polyclinic are general clinical studies of blood and urine and biochemical blood tests. In women's clinics, polyclinics also give directions for tests to determine urogenital infections, cervical cervical tests and bacteriological studies of secretions from genital organs, as well as special genetic tests (screenings of pregnant women). All these studies are aimed at timely detection of the problem, differential diagnosis of the disease and the appointment of adequate correct treatment to the patient.
Laboratory Assistants of Clinical Hospitals
In clinical hospitals (not important, children or adults), the spectrum of possible analyzes is much broader. But there are several laboratories there. Usually in large institutions there is an emergency laboratory, a central laboratory, a bacteriological laboratory and a resuscitation laboratory. The laboratory technicians of the urgent laboratory, which is usually located in the emergency room, collect emergency tests, such as a general blood test, a general urine test, a blood sugar test, an urine test for acetone and some others to quickly assess the patient's condition and confirm the diagnosis . The laboratory of the reception department works round the clock. The central laboratory is engaged in a planned daily collection of analyzes from outpatients of all departments as directed by a doctor. There are already doing not only general clinical studies, but also more narrowly focused, for example, cytological examination of sputum, liquor and other biological fluids, biochemical blood analysis and others. The bacteriological laboratory performs the analysis of the tests for the microbiological flora. An example of such analyzes can be a study of blood and urine and other biological fluids on sterility, bacteriological seeding from the pharynx, nose, vagina, analysis of feces for dysbiosis and others. Also, the bacteriological department of the laboratory of the clinical hospital makes internal control of the sterility of the hospital rooms, surgical dressings and instruments. The bacteriological laboratory is usually located separately, and the entrance to it is strictly prohibited. Resuscitation laboratory is a separate laboratory, in which there is a doctor on duty to perform emergency tests. Here the laboratory worker performs general clinical and biochemical studies of blood and urine, as well as a blood test for the group and Rh factor, check the donor blood for compatibility. The resuscitation laboratory also works around the clock.
Laboratory assistants of maternity hospitals
In maternity hospitals, the organization of laboratories is similar to clinical hospitals. The only difference is the sampling of tests not only in pregnant women and those who gave birth, but also in newborns. In newborns, in addition to general clinical tests and the determination of the group and Rh factor, an analysis is also made for congenital genetic diseases. The laboratory of the maternity hospital works on duty. Here, doctors and laboratory assistants with secondary specialized education work as well.
The morgue technicians
Laboratory technicians of morgues, otherwise histologists produce and study cadaveric material to clarify or clarify the cause of death of a person. The second task of histologists is the study of surgically removed tumors (for determining the goodness or malignancy), parts of the removed organs, as well as abortive material. Histological analyzes are complex in preparation and research, so the lines of this analysis can be up to a month.
Laboratory assistants for individual laboratories
Such laboratories include private structures, laboratories under various scientific research institutes, as well as highly specialized laboratories. In private laboratories, virtually all types of tests are done. Both laboratory technicians and laboratory technicians work there. Scientific research institutes make narrowly focused studies (for example, analyzes for all kinds of hormones at the Institute of Endocrinology, a detailed blood test at the Institute of Hematology). Narrow-headed laboratories are engaged in research of analyzes of a certain type. Such laboratories can include HIV and AIDS trust offices, tuberculosis and others.
What diseases does the laboratory assistant treat?
Laboratory assistants and laboratory technicians do not cure diseases and do not even make diagnoses. They only help with the results of analyzes to determine the presence of a disease, to identify the pathogen, as well as to differentiate one disease from another. For example, due to the analysis it is possible to differentiate cystitis from pyelonephritis, hyperglycemic to whom from hypoglycemic, to distinguish malignant neoplasm from benign, appendicitis from renal colic, usual SARS from sore throats and much more.
To get a reliable result of the analysis, the most important is the correct preparation and taking of the material. For each study there are certain rules, the main ones of which we list below.
That the laboratory assistant could properly interpret the blood test should be given it in the morning, strictly on an empty stomach. In this case, for a day should be excluded from drinking alcohol, fatty and spicy foods, medicines. If you can not cancel taking medications, then you should definitely notify the laboratory assistant about this. Also, you should not take the test after active physical activity.
In order for the lab technician to correctly interpret the urine test, the toilet of the external genitalia should be carefully performed, and the material should be collected strictly in sterile dishes. Preferably use the morning urine.
When giving urogenital scrapings, you need to remember that to perform the analysis correctly, you need to exclude sexual acts within 3 days, taking antibiotics for a week, women should not syringe, and men should not go to the toilet for at least 2 hours.
Sperm collection should only be performed in the laboratory. To prepare for this analysis, you should refrain from sexual intercourse for at least five days, as well as exclude the use of antibiotics.
When you pass the feces, you need to remember that it is the fresh morning material for research that is desirable, it should be collected in a clean sterile container. It is also necessary to exclude the use of antibacterial drugs.
When bacteriological analysis of any material is very important is the availability of the freshest material, which must be collected strictly in sterile dishes. Before taking the test, you need to exclude antibacterial drugs for at least a week.
If you follow these simple rules, the lab technician will perform the analysis qualitatively and on time.
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Medical expert editor
Portnov Alexey Alexandrovich
Education: Kiev National Medical University. A.A. Bogomolets, Specialty - "General Medicine"
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