Learning and utilization of generic skills by practitioners in the field of clinical laboratory science/medical technology.Clin Lab Sci 2006; 19(2):104-10CL
To determine whether and to what extent generic skills that are learned by practitioners are used on their clinical laboratory science/medical technologist (CLS/MT) jobs; and to determine if there are any significant differences in learning and/or using these skills by practitioners who were CLS/MT vs. Other BA/BS degree majors.
In the field (ITF) laboratory practitioners were surveyed as to whether or not they: 1) were CLS/MT program graduates; 2) utilized the following generic skills in their jobs: analytical reasoning, communication, computer use, data correlation, decision making, precision studies, problem solving, quality assessment, supervision, teaching, technical writing, troubleshooting, research and utilization review; 3) learned these skills as students or practitioners.
SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS
Data were collected from 515 CLS/MT ITF participants who were part of an ongoing longitudinal study.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Participants were asked if they were CLS/MT program graduates; whether they used the skills frequently, sometimes, rarely or never; and whether they initially learned the skills as students or developed them on the job (OTJ). Chi square analyses were performed to test for differences among groups.
The response rate was 44%. Frequencies for using the skills were generally over 90% with three exceptions reported as rarely or never used by the majority of the respondents, and two exceptions reported as being approximately equally used or not used by the respondents. A sizable minority (23% to 45%) of the sample reported never learning six of the skills. Significant (p < 0.05) chi square results occurred between learning and utilizing the following skills: computer use, participation in research, problem solving, supervision, technical writing and utilization studies. Although a consistently higher proportion of the CLS/MT graduates reported learning the skills as students and Other BA/BS graduates reported learning them OTJ, no significant differences between these sub-groups were observed for either learning or using these skills.
For this sample group, most generic skills learned as CLS/MT students and/or practitioners are applied to the ITF jobs and are generally congruent with what is being taught in CLS/MT programs. However, there are some notable exceptions.