Biomedical laboratory students learn how to measure level of hemoglobin right at the beginning of their studies. Having your hemoglobin checked is one of the most common health examinations that everyone has to do several times in a lifetime.
Heli Hakola and Jutta Ruokonen are about to finish their biomedical studies by the turn of 2015.
Biomedical laboratory studies emphasize the importance of quality blood sampling from the patient to determine quality laboratory results.
– We practice taking different kinds of blood samples already after the first two week of study. We practice taking skin injection samples by taking samples from each other, says Ruokonen.
Blood for testing Hemoglobin is primarily taking from the patient’s middle or index finger. Students learn the theory about which part of the finger is good for taking blood sample.
– Also pinching the finger has to be practiced. The process of taking the blood sample should not be a painful experience, and the finger should not be squeezed too hard to inhibit blood circulation, explains Hakola.
“We practice taking skin injection samples by taking samples from each other.”
What if the patient is afraid of having his/her blood drawn?
– For example, we have come across patients who were unconscious during the time of drawing venous blood sample. Fortunately, we were able to deal with the situation as it was very familiar, having gone through such situations in our studies. If a patient is scared, we guide him/her step by step through the process of taking the sample, says Ruokonen.
Biomedical laboratory scientists do a lot of side tests as well. Side tests are samples, which are analyzed next to the patient.
– We are responsible for taking the blood samples but the doctor is the one responsible for explaining the results to the patient. But, when the test is done next to the patient, of course, they may ask or even look at the results. In this case, we are naturally obliged to tell them, adds Hakola.
Who is a biomedical laboratory scientist?
- Healthcare laboratory professional whose responsibilities include taking blood samples and doing laboratory tests.
- Studies last for 3,5 years, including 21 weeks internship
- Workplaces include polyclinics, hospitals and private laboratories.
- Employment opportunities look very promising
TEXT: ARJA HAUTALA
TRANSLATION: EMALNUEL ABRUQUAH
PHOTOS: JOEL FORSMAN
EXTERNAL QUALITY ASSESSMENT FOR PATIENT SAFETY
Quality assurance is essential for clinical laboratories. Many quality procedures are needed to assure qualified test results for patient safety. Quality assurance consists of internal and external quality assessment (EQA). Labquality Ltd is a Finnish organization, which provides EQA programmes for all fields of laboratory medicine expertise and outside laboratories for point-of care testing (POCT). The most common POC tests are glucose and hemoglobin. Labquality offers 152 EQA schemes internationally.
All laboratory and point-of-care tests need EQA for continuous evaluation of performance. In most countries, participation in EQA is voluntary. For all accredited laboratories, external quality assessment is mandatory and some countries have decided to force laboratories to participate in EQA services.
It is important that students can learn about EQA during their studies. The Degree Programme in Biomedical Laboratory Science participates in some Labquality EQA services, which include clinical hematology, chemistry, cytology, microbiology and physiology tests, besides preanalytics.
An EQA round takes place as follows: 1) a customer orders services, 2) Labquality delivers specimens or other scheme-specific materials (e.g. scanned slides on the internet), 3) the customer analyzes the specimens according to the instructions, 4) the customer reports the result via the LabScala programme, 5) Labquality analyzes the results within 2–3 weeks and delivers an evaluation report. Every report includes statistics and expert comments.
Thus, the customer can improve procedures according to this feedback. Students participate in this EQA round to analyze specimens or other materials and to evaluate Labquality reports.
TEXT: EEVA LIIKANEN
PHOTO: JOEL FORSMAN