feat. Ron FitzGerald from UnityPoint Health – Peoria
“I had actually been out of school for about 10 years before I went back to become a lab technician,” Ron smiled from across the table. “My uncle helped me get at job at the hospital her worked at doing housekeeping to help me support myself, and I remember the first day I went into clean one of the medical labs and saw lab technicians and lab scientists, I thought ‘this is really cool, I want to work in here!’ That was it, shortly after I enrolled in a clinical lab scientist program.”
Who are these clinical lab scientists and medical lab technicians? Well, if you’ve ever had you blood drawn, you’ve been impacted by a lab technician. Medical lab technicians are one of the many unsung heroes in healthcare. Often unseen, but critically important, lab techs perform the tests requested by nurses and doctors, working in teams to make sure patients are provided the highest level of care.
After graduating from his CLS program, Ron worked for several years in a hematology lab testing patients blood work for cancers and other pathogens. “In the lab, the majority of your time is spent running tests, often hundreds a day, when you’re not running tests, you’re making sure the lab equipment is operating correctly; as a lab technician you really need to love science, have an eye for detail, a strong sense of customer service, and be a team player” says Ron. Why customer service? Ron explains, “As a medical lab technician, you’re only one person on one team in a lab that has around 60 other technicians at any given time, you also have to communicate with doctors and nurses who all have their own patients. It can be very stressful, so it’s important to stay professional and always remember everyone is here to work as a team to take care of our patients.”
So, what’s the best part about being a medical lab technician, “Being part of a team that can help save someone’s life is incredibly rewarding, on top of that, it’s a well paying career that you can perform with a two year degree, with plenty of opportunities to move up in the healthcare field,” says Ron. “I started as a medical lab tech and did that for several years, then I moved up to a lead tech, overseeing the work of other lab technicians, and last year I was promoted to Lab Resources Coordinator where I manage the funds and educational resources for the entire lab; I love what I do, it’s been an incredibly rewarding career.” beams Ron. To find out more about local Clinical Lab Scientist and Medical Lab Technician training programs, click here. To contact Ron with any other questions, you can reach out to him here.