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Employer Quotes

The quotes below are from employers in this industry: Health Care

They are talking about this topic: Workforce Trends & Challenges


The quotes below are about this issue:
Lab Tech: Laboratory employers are seeing similar workforce needs for technologists as nursing professions. Among the various comments, many say that technologists are playing a more prominent role in the health care team, requiring stronger soft skills. Some employers experienced a shortage of technologists while others did not.

Employer Quote Region
"I don't want to undermine the wage, but the reality is that we, in the lab, are getting paid a lot less. So, we're seeing people leave the laboratory to go into nursing. So, that's a big issue for us in the laboratory profession." Central
"They also need to understand their role in the health care team. They don't really get the big picture of what their role is. We're starting to get more and more involved in appropriate lab utilization and being part of the care team, and there's this fear that that's really not their goal. But that really is their goal, so we need to work on that." Metro
"To me, that's a real hard thing. These new grads, they're not coming in with the level of experience. They need to hit the ground running in my lab because we don't slow down. We're going from the time they clock in until the time they walk out the door, so it's tough. It's a tough environment." Metro
"You make the time. If you want the student, you take the student. If you want them to have that practical experience, you have to give it to them. And schools can't teach that. They can't teach multi-tasking.

Question: Do you expect that to be a part of their training?

Employer: No, I expect to provide that as the employer. The position in the lab, that's my responsibility.

Question: But when somebody graduates, do you wish there were a requirement in their curriculum to have an internship?

Employe: It is. It's required by accreditation."
"Question: Even with internship experience, new graduates are not necessarily ready to go?

Employer: No, the lab is too complex."
"If I look at who I hire five years from now, you know, for lab testing, it's molecular, it's DNA-based, it's RNA-based. It's all of those things we learned—that I learned—as a cytotechnologist. I'm not a clinical lab scientist. The data speaks a lot to the clinical lab science portion, but there's a two-year degree, folks, called cytotechs that are extremely misaligned. We don't have enough of them, and they are a right-hand assistant to the pathologist, which is a physician leader in the lab. So, we need good folks that can sit and do that work even while their work is becoming more complicated in terms of a molecular-based level. We used to be good at diagnosing things 90 percent of the time. Now, we have to be 99 percent sure when we put that diagnosis out the door that it's good. And that only happens by a trained person. So, I look at hiring—and it's also looking at the cytotechnology workforce—and asking, 'What else can we teach those folks to do?' Because they have a certain sub-skill set that's different than a clinical lab scientist and that's different than a clinical lab tech. And there is discussion about, in the future, making that more of an advanced practice provider level, so they can do more independent judgment." Metro
"I think it's getting better. True partnerships with the employers and the school. I think—in the laboratory—we've seen a great deal of success. But I think that there's still work to be done. I think that the laboratory—just in looking at the titles up there—I had to smile. I'm sure to somebody outside the lab, you look and think, 'Gosh, these people are all complex in the laboratory!' People don't understand what we do, and because of that, the majority of the applicants we get—I'll get 50 applicants per job posting—and two or three applicants will actually qualify for the position. But I'll get every biology degree and chemistry degree out there, and they don't qualify." Metro
"I still see a demand in the lab that I can't meet. We had a full-time position, and we actually had someone from another hospital in northern Minnesota call us and say, 'Hey, I have this person that—due to staffing—we have to let go.' And we had a position that was open, and he was the only qualified person that I interviewed. We hired him, and thankfully his life was such that he was able to relocate. But, yeah, I have maybe a handful of people apply for open positions, whether it's in the hospital or the clinic." Metro
"Question: So, what you're saying is that the balance between the supply and the demand for lab positions—while it might be one thing in Duluth, that it's going to be something else in a small town?

Employer: Right."
"I'm a laboratorian, so I feel like I need to make a comment about the laboratory. First of all, I think people who went into the laboratory, at least in my day and age, we went in because we didn't feel that we had very good communication skills. We didn't want to work with patients or talk to too many patients. That's why we went into the laboratory. But, that's not true anymore. We have to serve our communities. We have to be able to interrelate effectively with our colleagues. But I see that it's something that a lot of students that come into my program need to work on.

I also expected to hear that the way we trained them before needs to change because the equipment is so highly instrumented and automated now. And those pieces of equipment are—there isn't much we can do to fix them anymore—but we need to know when they're not working. We call service and they send service contractors that will either walk us through it or they will come down and fix it for us.

I was also thinking about how do we organize our work? How do we look at our work? How does that work flow? How can we address people and organize our work better, but yet not make mistakes?

And, again, communication skills are important because we're doing more with care and we're doing more things outside the laboratory. So, communication seems like it's going to be a bigger deal for us."
"Clinical rotations used to be about 52 weeks long, and that was because everything was done manually. As automation has come, true rotations are now between 16 and 20 weeks. So, it's cut by more than a half. And when we train, we just provide a student—like we're going to teach you everything we learned in 30 years of our work...but it's just giving them the experience of being in a lab, being around the instrumentation, and so forth.

Question: If you were advising folks in training your applicants, would you tell them to go back to the 52 weeks?

Employer: No. Well, instrumentation is so different in every lab, but you can get a general feeling for troubleshooting an instrument. We're talking about quality control. Some of those things are always going to remain the same, but when you go to, say, the university, or to the hospital, they'll have more technology that you have to learn there."
"Employer 1: There is a program at [out of state university] where you can assist MLTs further their education to that four-year degree. Online.

Question: And you're paying for that, and then for your people?

Employer 1: No.

Employer 2: Oh, no. They just self-initiated that.

Employer 2: Yes."
"In our lab, I've had retirees of 40 years of service. About six employees have retired in the last few years, and it was a little bit difficult replacing them, but now we're seeing a few more MLTs and lab techs come out.

Question: So, you think that it's pretty well-balanced?

Employer: Yeah. We have a great MLT program. We take two students, and we train them like they're going to become our employees. And so we also have a pool to pick from. We're fortunate in that respect. I get calls from recruiters all the time and I'm like, 'No, we're fine. We don't need anybody. We have students.' We're really fortunate."
"Trying to recruit them to a very small hospital, in a very small town, it's difficult because it's not very glamorous. It's pretty basic work. I think that's where it takes a little more finesse. And I think creating those kinds of relationships ahead of time, or maybe getting some of your own people to go back to school and paying for that, or whatever you might need to do. Because, if you want to have a balance of medical technologists and medical lab technicians, MLT versus the four-year, that can be a little bit hard to maintain." Northeast
"In our clinic, we're utilizing the certificate—not necessarily the advanced technologist. We're using people who have a two-year degree as opposed to a four-year degree. [Lost in transcription] also has a—I think it's a technology program for clinical lab tech. We're utilizing more of the certificate lab program versus the technology. The four-year degree." Northwest
"I think about lab—you know, the different categories that are there. We might have one person or a half-time person that does blood bank, for example, or the cytologist or some of those kinds of things. So, there are a few that can be more difficult to find. And sometimes you don't even have a whole full-time position. So, as a smaller institution, those would be some of our struggles. And then does somebody have that skill set in our community? Or where would they get it? So, at the moment, we're not looking for those positions. But those would be things in the backs of our heads that we would be trying to figure out. And I think our solution would typically be to consider who, internally, we could train to get that skill set and incorporate it somehow in a position. So, there are some challenges in the smaller organization for really specialized roles." Southeast
"From the medical lab standpoint, we can relate to what has been said about willingness to work. I also find a big difference in the older generations versus the younger generations in terms of compassion. And the need to be compassionate comes with what we're doing. From the laboratory standpoint, it's really hard when we get so many automated tests and we get so departmentalized that we don't put it all together to form a picture of that patient behind it. I know that's why I went into lab, because I didn't want the direct patient care of nursing. Unless you have a passion for it, you lose that whole piece of what your job is and what your profession is. I think if medical technology students and staff can understand the big role we play in that whole medical picture it would really make a difference in dedication—such as their willingness to stay late or their willingness to pick up an extra shift. I've worked at this clinic for over thirty years. And, you just didn't think twice if someone wasn't able to come in for their shift, you just filled in. You were needed. You were a part of that health care picture. I just don't feel that commitment any more. I don't know how to bring that back. Because I still have that passion, and I wish I could see that in our new grads." Southeast
"On the lab side, in regards to clinical lab technicians or technologists, we definitely hire a lot more technologists that have the bachelor's education. If they do go further to get a certification, then that puts them above for promotions or getting into specific fields." Southeast