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Unseen by patients, lab professionals save lives every day

April 25, 2011

Approximately 300,000 medical laboratory professionals across the country perform and interpret laboratory tests that save lives and help people stay healthy. More than 100 of these professionals work at St. Mary’s.

“While that sounds like a lot of people, the need for medical laboratory professionals is growing as the population ages and new tests are developed to detect illness at earlier stages,” says pathologist Aaron Long, MD, medical director of St. Mary’s Laboratory Services. “At St. Mary’s alone we perform a million and a half clinical lab tests per year.”

Since 2001 St. Mary’s has operated the Western Slope School of Phlebotomy, training 111 phlebotomists, the technicians who draw blood for testing and donation. “We also provide clinical training for lab tech students from the Front Range and out of state,” Long says. Along with laboratory facilities across western Colorado, St. Mary’s Laboratory Services will be represented on Western Colorado Community College’s Medical Laboratory Education Advisory Council. “A two-year medical laboratory technician program is being developed, and we are very excited to be involved and contribute to the training of medical laboratory professionals locally,” Long says.

National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week
April 24-30, 2011

Medical lab professionals may include pathologists, medical technologists, clinical laboratory scientists, medical laboratory technicians, histotechnologists, cytotechnologists, phlebotomy technicians, clinical chemists, microbiologists, laboratory managers, and medical educators.