Students preparing for high-demand medical careers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Students preparing for high-demand medical careers

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

If you've ever had lab work done, you might know how important it is to allow your doctors to deliver a diagnosis.  In fact, the American Medical Association says lab results point to nearly 80 percent of all diagnoses.  And soon, there's expected to be a shortage of the lab workers that perform those important tests.

Joe Vitale recently lost his job.  But now, he's in line to work in a high-demand medical career field as a laboratory technician. 

"I think that the lab profession in general is kind of the backbone, I want to say, or the mainstay of the diagnostic process," Vitale said.

And this medical mainstay profession will soon be needing more young professionals, since the average age of lab workers today is over 50.

"They're projecting a shortage of laboratory professionals, so I just think it's just a great area to go into.  It offers a lot of opportunities," said lab student Hannah Lambert.

Recently, second-year Hawkeye Community College students got to tour Covenant Medical Center's lab in Waterloo.  Each year, thousands of important medical tests are performed at that lap, helping doctors and nurses diagnose patients and determine their course of treatment.  That's why Hawkeye is encouraging others to consider careers in the field.

"If you want to help someone and you love science, or just like to figure out how and why, this is a profession to look into because you can really change patient outcome by the quality of work that you do," said Amy Kapanka, director of the lab program at Hawkeye Community College.

And as medical technologies advance, the capabilities of lab workers will only be further advanced, helping lab professionals to provide the best possible medical answers to patients.

A medical lab technician degree takes about two years to complete at Hawkeye Community College, which includes a six-month clinical rotation.  Many students also go on to complete a four-year degree and some even attend medical school.

 

 

 

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