HANCEVILLE, Ala. — HCG, LDL, FBS, CBC, TBIL…No, these abbreviations are not text talk or cyber slang. Laboratory professionals and physicians have been using these abbreviations before abbreviating was cool. The information obtained from these laboratory tests tells us much more than LOL, YOLO, IMO, or JW. A physician may order an LDL (low density lipoprotein) test to monitor a patient’s cholesterol, an HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to determine pregnancy, a FBS (fasting blood sugar or glucose) to detect diabetes, a CBC (complete blood count) to determine the effectiveness of chemotherapy, or a TBIL (total bilirubin) to monitor jaundice in a newborn.

Most of us have had at least one of these tests performed in our lifetime. For some, the results of these tests could mean the difference between life and death. Thousands of laboratory tests are available for physicians to utilize in the detection, diagnosis, and therapeutic monitoring of disease states.

Medical laboratory technicians perform testing in microbiology, chemistry, hematology, and transfusion medicine. Many tests are performed using automated laboratory instruments while a more manual approach, such as microscopic examinations, remains the gold standard for some laboratory tests. Medical laboratory technicians may work in hospital laboratories, reference laboratories, physician’s offices, blood banks, and other facilities.

The laboratory professional is often thought of as being behind the scenes, often drawing more introverted personalities. However, laboratory professionals do interact with patients when collecting laboratory specimens and are in constant interaction with other health professionals to provide quality patient care. Even when patient interaction is limited, the laboratory professional is always connected to their patients through their results. Although laboratory professionals may never meet their patients face to face, they are there for them from the beginning.

Laboratory professionals are there for patients in good times and in bad. They may be the first to know that a patient is expecting and the first to know a newborn’s physiological state of health. The same laboratory professionals are there, caring for patients, through diagnosis, therapy, and remission of disease. They are carefully handling and analyzing specimens to provide physicians with key information for the patient’s health and well-being. Laboratory professionals are devoted to the accuracy and timeliness of test results from collection to completion, and to the privacy of each patient.

This week, April 23-29, students in the MLT program at Wallace State have been celebrating Medical Laboratory Technician Lab Week. The week was filled with games and activities as they recognize the importance of the work they’ll be doing as professionals.

Wallace State’s Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program offers a five-semester associate’s degree in applied science that prepares students to immediately enter the workforce following national certification by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP). The Wallace State MLT program is accepting applications for the Fall 2017 semester through June 1. For more information about a career in laboratory medicine, contact program director Melanie Bradford at 256-352-8347 or melanie.bradford@wallacestate.edu or visit www.wallacestate.edu/MLT or follow us on Facebook.

Wallace State Medical Laboratory Technician students Steven Duncan of Fayette and Taylor Ellis of Guntersville count white blood cells during a class exercise. Each student in the program now has access to an iPad they use before, during and after class exercises for an almost paperless process.

Wallace State Medical Laboratory Technician students Steven Duncan of Fayette and Taylor Ellis of Guntersville count white blood cells during a class exercise. Each student in the program now has access to an iPad they use before, during and after class exercises for an almost paperless process.