Learning the Lab Life

Dia Dobbs

My internship at the LabCorp Austell Patient Service Center was amazing! I got to dive into completely new experiences that will definitely be useful in my future career pursuit as a Physicians Assistant. I was grateful for the opportunity to be so hands on with the patients, specimen and understanding all aspects of what it takes to work in one of these offices. Furthermore I hope sharing my experience can help future students on deciding what internship is best for them.

One of the most valuable tools that I took away from LabCorp is understanding how to work with patients of all different backgrounds and cultures. I didn’t realize how important and necessary it would be for me to help patients with simple task, such as providing necessary identification, or informing them about the testing they were having done. Sometimes patients would come in frustrated at their employer or doctor for the test they had requested, so it was imperative that we remained calm and assured them that this would be a quick and easy process.

 Another thing that I learned to do from this internship was conduct different lab test. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to conducting them on my own but it was very cool being able to participate in the process. A few that I did quite frequently were drug screens, urinalysis, genetic molecular testing, and paternity testing. One of the coolest things that I did was the hair drug screen test where I was taught on a practice doll how to collect 200 hair strands from the patients head. I also had the pleasure of working with newborns to perform heel sticks test, which was quite exciting.

One of the most challenging parts of this internship was learning how to work the Touch system which is how all the specimen are tracked. This was something that I frequently needed assistance with, and it wasn’t uncommon for Patient Service Technicians to mess up on. Of course, I always double checked if I had questions because if specimen got lost or mixed up, then that could result in retesting, which is a hassle for the patients.

In addition to working in the lab, I also got the opportunity to ride around with the courier who picks up the labs at each office. This was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes once your lab work leaves the lab. I was able to visit the Birmingham headquarters where the specimen are organized and tested. This facility had many departments with chemist and biologist who studied specimen in detail.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take photos in the lab due to it being a HIPPA violation; however, I did include pictures of what the office looked like and the rooms that the patients were serviced in. This internship was an incredible experience and I would most definitely recommend students to apply for this internship. I was very active at this facility and staff were extremely helpful in teaching me the in’s and out’s of the lab.

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