one as new technologies and disciplines are constantly developing. Anita states, “If you choose this career you must be able to adapt to change and acquire new knowledge as required.” Along with adaptability, Anita lists accuracy, attention to detail, responsibility, dedication and adherence to a professional code of ethics as essential character traits for medical technologists. These professionals also need to be precise, have problem-solving abilities, enjoy working with automated instruments and feel comfortable in an orderly, highly- structured environment.
Although the work is fairly repetitive, Anita insists: “Within the routine laboratory setting there are always some challenging tasks to be performed and new things to learn. Although I only work with a patient’s specimen and not the patient, I derive purpose from helping sick patients. I also do a lot of training which provides me with the opportunity to invest in the quality of new staff. However, as a senior member of our team, I have to accept responsibility for the mistakes of other staff members. I find it frustrating when unnecessary errors are made.”
When asked about unusual moments in her career, Anita explains: “As we tend to be serious, analytical people we don’t have a lot of “funny” moments but we do enjoy them very much when they come along. Once a very short colleague slipped and fell into a waste bin. Luckily she wasn’t hurt and the bin was clean, so we laughed about this for a long time.”
On a more serious note, working with contaminated specimens does have its risks and laboratory accidents, though rare, can be scary; “A colleague was cut when a tube containing HIV positive blood broke, but the company provided prophylactic treatment and she didn’t get HIV.”
In conclusion, Anita advises career seekers, “Determine what you’re passionate about and follow your heart, not the money. Then study very hard to give yourself a good knowledge base, be meticulous and commit to ethical behaviour.”
For more information on a career in medical technology and potential bursaries contact the Ampath Training Department on 012 678 1252/131.
Jeanne du Plessis
Published By: Liezl Maclean