Student perceptions of the clinical laboratory science profession.Clin Lab Sci. 2009 Winter; 22(1):16-21.CL
The purpose of this paper is to describe the attitudes and perceptions among college biology and CLS/CLT students. These students were on selected college campuses at Texas universities in Houston, Dallas and the Austin/San Antonio areas for the Spring 2007 semester. Specifically, students were questioned on factors that influence their choice of field of study, career expectations, legislative measures which might be used to attract individuals to the career, and factors that will be required to keep them in the field of practice.
This study was part of a larger qualitative study which included exploratory discovery and inductive logic regarding the attitudes of four focus groups in Texas.
Focus groups took place on college campuses or in hotel conference rooms.
(1) junior/senior-level college biology students and (2) junior/senior-level students currently enrolled in CLS/CLT programs.
Focus group discussions using a standard set of questions; group sessions lasted about 45 minutes.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE
This study was a qualitative study which included exploratory discovery and inductive logic regarding the attitudes of two groups in Texas.
College biology and CLS/CLT students find the clinical laboratory science profession to be interesting and exciting as a career prospect, however, many do not see themselves remaining in the profession and perceive it does not have good prospects for career advancement. The majority of students must work to support themselves through their college education and would welcome additional grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness programs as incentives to study the clinical laboratory sciences. Students believe that additional recruitment on high school and college campuses is needed to increase the visibility of the field as career choice.
The majority of students who are entering the clinical laboratory science profession do not see the profession as their final career choice, but rather a stepping stone to another career field in healthcare or a related field. The perception that the profession lacks a career ladder is a critical detriment to the retention of CLS/CLT professionals. The clinical laboratory science profession continues to suffer from a lack of knowledge about the field by the general public, college advisors, and even healthcare workers. State and national programs involving grants/scholarships or loan forgiveness programs offered by healthcare institutions would be beneficial in attracting students to study the clinical laboratory sciences.