Clinical laboratory scientists' view of the competencies needed for current practice.Clin Lab Sci 1999 Mar-Apr; 12(2):98-103CL
To provide a current description of competent clinical laboratory scientists (CLSs) that can be used as a guide for educators, practitioners, and students.
A survey of clinical laboratory science (CLS) practitioners was developed to assess current work settings and important competencies in those settings. The survey also addressed graduate school enrollment and the impact of multi-skilling on current practice.
SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS
135 graduates of the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1987 to 1996.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Participants' responses to questions about their current job titles, clinical specialty, type of institution, multi-skilling, graduate school enrollment, and the competencies they considered important for their jobs were analyzed to provide a description of current practice.
The response rate for the survey was 73%. The majority of the respondents were employed as staff CLSs in medium to large hospitals. Thirteen percent of the respondents indicated that they had graduate degrees and an additional 13% were currently enrolled in a graduate or professional program. Fourteen percent of the respondents reported that they were working in the laboratory profession and were performing some health care skills not included in the CLS program. The graduates described 15 major areas of competence important for current clinical practice. The skill or competency mentioned most frequently by the respondents was interpersonal skills followed by flexibility. Competence in technical and scientific skills was ranked third and problem solving abilities was ranked fourth.
The results of this study describe a CLS practitioner who is able to communicate well with others as a team member; flexible and open to change in the work environment; technically component; able to solve problems and correlate clinical information; organized; and involved in the management and leadership of the clinical laboratory. This description can help educators design curricula, guide practitioners' self assessment, and inform students who are considering a career in CLS.