Medical Laboratory Science all known as (MLS) professional mostly called clinical lab scientist or lab technologist are essential healthcare detectives that uncover and provide medical information from laboratory tests. They assist medical doctors to obtain information about the health of a patient as pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. Medical lab scientists perform chemical, haematological, immunological, histopathological, cytopathological, microscopic and bacteriological diagnostic analyses on body fluids such as blood, urine, sputum, stool, cerebrospinal fluid, peritoneal fluid, synovial fluid as well as other specimens in clinical laboratories in hospitals reference labs, and non-clinical industrial labs.
MLS profession has two major career paths based on a level of education. A Medical Technician, with three years training in a college of health science or technology, is competent in the collection, processing and analysis of biological specimens, the performance of lab procedures, maintenance of instruments, and relating lab findings to common diseases or conditions.
On the other hand, a Medical Laboratory Scientist, trained for five years in a university, has a more extensive theoretical knowledge base. He does not only perform laboratory procedures including sophisticated analysis but also evaluates or interprets the results, integrates data solves problems, consults, conduct, researches and develops new test methods.
Medical Laboratory Science encompasses such disciplines as Clinical Chemistry, haematology, immunology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology. Major courses offered include Medical Biochemistry, Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Hematology, Pharmacology, Forensic analysis, Embalmment techniques, Clinical Pathology, Biostatistics, Virology and Mycology, Histopathology and a Cytopathology, Serology, Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Public Health and Epidemiology.
In Nigeria, to be certified as a licensed professional clinical laboratory scientist by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria, an Individual must complete five years of formal study to earn a bachelor’s degree and a one year of clinical internship training in an accredited hospital.
University which offers Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BLMS) degree include University of Lagos, Calabar, Benin, Maiduguri, and Jos. Others are University of Nigeria Nusukka, Imo State University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Niger Delta University, Usman Dan Fodio University, Abia State University, Babcock University.
Requirement Needed to Study Medical Laboratory Science
You are required to have Five level credit passes in English Language, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology with a relatively high score in Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) are required for admission into the university. For the UTME subjects are Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
A graduate of Medical Laboratory Science can be self-employed or take up job in a teaching and specialist hospitals, public primary health centres, private establishments and quality control or reference laboratories, public health laboratories, forensic and law enforcement laboratories. Becoming a lab scientist or technologist requires sound intellect, good motor skills. One must also have effective communication skills, visual sharpness to perform microscopic analyses, or read procedures, graphs etc. professional skills such as the ability to work independently, manage time efficiently, comprehend, analyze and synthesize various materials, as well as sound psychological health and stability required.