The American healthcare system is known for being innovative and complex, leading the way in cutting-edge medical technologies. For global medtech professionals looking to make their mark in the US, it’s essential to understand both the expectations and challenges that come with it.
In this article, we’ll break down practical tips to help global medtechs navigate and thrive in the diverse world of American healthcare systems.
Present State of Medical Technologists in the US
Although nurses and doctors are direct patient care providers, they do not drive most hospital services. In fact, about two-thirds of the decisions made by US doctors are influenced by laboratory tests. Before COVID-19, laboratory professionals, like medical technologists, performed an estimated 13 billion laboratory tests annually in the United States.¹
But despite their importance, hospitals and laboratories across all states in the US continue to face staffing shortages. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5 percent growth in jobs for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians from 2022 to 2032. This rate of increase surpasses the average for all occupations.²
Around 24,000 jobs for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians are expected annually, on average, over the next ten years. Many of these job opportunities will be needed to replace workers who switch to other careers or retire from the workforce.
The future looks bright if you’re considering working as a medical technologist in the US. Hospitals and laboratories hire medical technologists from other countries to help with staff shortages. While there are long-term plans to address the shortage, one temporary solution could be hiring foreign professionals and ensuring they meet US standards and laws when needed.
5 Essentials for Global Medtech Success
Medical technologists occupy a crucial role in the healthcare system by performing various laboratory tests essential for patient diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring.
In this role, here are essential expectations for navigating challenges and improving effectiveness:
1. You have to be detail oriented.
With so many tests needing to be done and various health records to handle, it’s easy to miss out on some things. Yet, it’s crucial not to let this happen. Even a tiny mistake could have significant implications.
Getting a diagnosis wrong because of an error during testing could impact how a patient is treated. Take the following examples:
- A medical technologist must accurately determine a patient’s blood type before a transfusion. Mistakes could lead to life-threatening reactions if incompatible blood is administered.
- Precise analysis of urine components is critical for detecting various conditions. Errors might result in misdiagnosis or overlooking signs of diseases like kidney dysfunction or diabetes.
As a medical technologist, it’s essential to be accurate and thorough to ensure patients get the correct diagnoses.
2. You will encounter repetitive tasks.
In this line of work, your tasks might seem repetitive at first. After all, there are more patients than types of tests. However, every test is important, so staying focused throughout all of them is crucial.
But there’s some relief. Many facilities allow medical technologies to rotate in different departments, adding a small bit of variety to the daily routine despite the repetition.
3. You operate behind the scenes in your role.
In this role, medical technologists primarily work behind the scenes. They focus on ensuring the precision and accuracy of laboratory tests essential for patient diagnosis and treatment. While there is less direct patient interaction, the impact of their work is invaluable to the overall healthcare process.
4. You can expect a steady career path.
If a secure career is your top priority, becoming a medical technologist is a smart move. Simply put, the demand for health services remains high.
And with the aging population in the US expected to be 21.6 percent of the total population by 2040, more and more people will require medical tests, like diagnostics for diseases such as type 2 diabetes or cancer.³ This is a field where you can comfortably build a long-term career.
5. You’ll establish a solid foundation for your medical degree.
Additionally, the courses you’ll take as a medical technologist have much in common with the ones you’ll have in the early years of medical training. So, if you plan to use it as a stepping stone, getting your medical degree will be easier.
It doesn’t matter if you start right after getting your bachelor’s degree or after gaining some laboratory experience. Understanding scientific processes and basic diagnostics is enough to build a strong foundation for aspiring doctors. Having a background in the laboratory might even improve your career prospects as a doctor later on.
Related Reading: Top 5 Reasons Why Nurses Pursue a Career in the US
The Advantages of a Career in Global MedTech
A career in medical technology opens the path to exciting opportunities. Let’s look at the unique advantages that make this profession both rewarding and impactful on global health.
Working as a medical technologist in the US comes with a significant perk; many job options exist.
This means you have the flexibility to explore a range of work environments, catering to your preferences and interests. Whether it’s the fast-paced hospital setting, the personalized atmosphere of a small laboratory, the scale and scope of a large laboratory, or the structure of government health services, the options are diverse.
You can focus on different areas, such as clinical chemistry (checking chemicals and hormones in body fluids), microbiology (studying bacteria), molecular biology, immunology, and cytotechnology (finding diseases at the cell level).
Various job options allow you to choose what suits you best and keep the profession dynamic and growing.
Medical technologists are often regarded as the unsung heroes of healthcare. In the United States, your role as a medical technologist is crucial—you provide vital information that aids doctors and researchers in diagnosing illnesses, discovering cures, and, ultimately, saving lives.
The growing number of elderly people means there will be a higher demand for diagnosing medical conditions. Additionally, prenatal testing for genetic conditions is becoming more common. This puts you at the forefront of making a difference in people’s lives and primary care. If you want a healthcare career where your work can significantly diagnose and prevent major health issues, this job is for you.
Medical technologists have a pathway for career advancement where they can take on leadership roles. As they progress in their careers, they may move into supervisory positions, such as becoming a chief medical technologist, a laboratory manager, or even a laboratory director.
Those roles often involve overseeing the operations of a laboratory, managing teams, and ensuring the smooth functioning of diagnostic processes.
Moreover, as experienced medical technologists, there is an opportunity to share knowledge and skills. Once trained and seasoned in their roles, they may be responsible for training and guiding other laboratory staff, including lab technicians and assistants.
This contributes to the profession’s continuous development and allows experienced professionals to play a crucial role in shaping the next generation of laboratory professionals. This dual aspect of career progression and mentorship emphasizes the dynamic and fulfilling nature of a career as a healthcare professional.
START YOUR AMERICAN DREAM AS A MED TECH PROFESSIONAL WITH PRS GLOBAL
Allow PRS Global to be your companion in making your dream of living and working as a medical technologist in the US a reality. Extraordinary opportunities are on the horizon, and we stand ready to assist you at every stage of your transformative journey. Reach out to us today to get your passport to a fulfilling career and endless opportunities.
1 INTEGRATING LABORATORIES into the PCMH MODEL of HEALTH CARE DELIVERY: A COLA White Paper. http://www.cola.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/COLA_14194-PCMH-Whitepaper.pdf
2 “Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians: Occupational Outlook Handbook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.” Www.bls.gov, www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm#:~:text=in%20May%202021.-.
3 Administration for Community Living. 2020 PROFILE of OLDER AMERICANS. May 2021. https://acl.gov/sites/default/files/aging%20and%20Disability%20In%20America/2020Profileolderamericans.final_.pdf