Management: Training of Health Laboratory Workers

Management: Training of Health Laboratory Workers

Basic training should be undertaken nationally in accordance with a country’s health needs, available resources, and laboratory working environments. A trainee should be taught the technical skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to perform reliably and confidently the functions of the type of laboratory in which he or she will serve. Performance needs to be assessed during training and supervised adequately after training.

A job related approach to the training and continuing education of laboratory personnel is essential if laboratories are to provide a service that is reliable, cost effective, efficient, and relevant. Inappropriate or inadequate training is not only wasteful but also dangerous.

The following are some of the indicators of poor training of laboratory personnel:

a. Increase in the number of wrong test results
b. Delay in the issuing of reports
c. Frequent and serious complaints from those requesting lab tests and an increase in requests for repeat tests as confidence decreases.
d. Increase in the damage to equipment
e. Increase in the contamination of reagents and materials
f. Greater incidence of lab acquired infections
g. Poorly motivated staff and job dissatisfaction
h. Lack of laboratory ethics such as not respecting confidentiality of lab results and informing a patient results directly which should have been dealt by the concerned physician, etc.

A good training programme will help students to learn the right facts, skills, and attitudes in an efficient and integrated way. It will assess whether students have learned the right things and help students to put into practice what they have learned.

A job related training program is usually referred to as competency-based or task-oriented and is recommended for the basic training of lab personnel. It is ideally suited to the training since it fits a person to do a job that is needed, where it is needed, and to take on the responsibilities that go with the job. The better a person can do a job, the greater will be the effectiveness and satisfaction. Competency and job satisfaction are major factors in achieving and retaining quality of service.

Upgrading and Career Development

For all laboratory personnel there should be opportunities for upgrading and career development. This may be effected, to name a few, through advanced formal training, continuous education,, seminars and assignments to a higher post on merit basis.

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