Matthew Wilkie, a medical laboratory scientist at Maple Grove Hospital, talks about his job.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
A: I start most days drawing samples during morning rounds, then return to the laboratory, where I am a generalist, assigned to departments such as blood bank, processing, chemistry, hematology, or coagulation. I conduct tests on samples and relay results to physicians. I work swing shifts, mostly starting at 5 a.m.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger health care picture?
A: I'm kind of a relay between what's happening with the patient and the medical staff, getting samples and results that help dictate treatment courses. I don't diagnose but the work I do helps providers diagnose whatever is ailing the patients.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
A: I interact with nurses, physicians, clinic staff and laboratory staff within our system or in outside systems, such as the Department of Health or reference laboratories.
Q: Why did you become a medical laboratory scientist?
A: I was going down the pharmacist road. I took a general biology course and there was some bench work and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I changed course and luckily most of the prerequisites were the same.
Q: What do you like about your work?
A: I like the variety. Working with different departments and sections is wonderful and I enjoy the critical thinking, especially with our blood bank. With my prior experience in microbiology, there's deduction and reasoning and there's a lot of critical thinking.