Medical Laboratory Science: The Hidden Profession That Saves Lives


Medical laboratory science (MLS), also known as clinical laboratory science, involves diagnostic laboratory testing from A to Z. Professionals perform various tasks from providing testing results, to predicting the correct antibiotic to prescribe, to typing the correct blood for surgery. MLS professionals provide answers to life-and-death decisions every day.

An article published in Elsevier, written by Rodney Rohde, Ph.D., President at Texas Association for Clinical Laboratory Science, explores the MLS profession and provides a detailed account of his path to the profession. The article explores the many functions of a medical laboratory professional, including:

  • Operating computerized instruments
  • Identifying abnormal cells
  • Assuring safe transfusion of blood products
  • Culturing and identifying bacteria and viruses
  • Correlating test results with patient's condition
  • Selecting and evaluating lab equipment
  • Selecting, orienting and evaluating employees
  • Monitoring the quality of testing

According to a 2002 study in Clinical Leadership and Management Review titled "The Value of the Laboratory Professional in the Continuum of Care," MLS professionals provide up to 70 percent of patients' laboratory testing to physicians so they can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Study author Rodney Forsman, Administrative Director Emeritus of the Mayo Clinic Medical Laboratories and President of the Clinical Laboratory Management Association, stated that 94 percent of the objective medical data in the patient record comes from the laboratory professionals.

Read the full article for a unique view on this honorable profession.

Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her kitty, and exploring new foods.