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Day in the Life as a Med Lab Tech

SummerRosenbalmSummerRosenbalm Medical Staffing ManagerPosts: 38 - Current Staff

Interested in serving as a Medical Laboratory Technologist with Mercy Ships? Check out this blog from Colleen Conley, the Laboratory Programs Manager at Mercy Ships!

Colleen oversees all laboratory activities and technical decisions, supports staff, and provides procurement of lab supplies.

Q: What does a typical day look like as a Med Lab Tech on board the Africa Mercy?


  • 1-2 techs start at 0830 to open the lab: includes instrument start up/daily QC and taking temperatures
  • Any labs that need to be drawn from the wards or for the OR come in first thing
  • The screening team draws as many labs as possible in the morning, these come in batches typically 5-10 patients per batch
  • The tech coming in at 1000 is the tech on-call for the week and they are responsible for doing any microbiology work
  • If time allows a short break can be taken around 1000
  • As time allows, each tech gets a 1 hour lunch break starting between 1130-1300 (when the dining room serves food)
  • Work continues throughout the afternoon depending on what needs to be done and what is happening with the surgeries for that day
  • When possible the lab takes a break with the rest of Hospital Support Services team members at 1500.
  • The lab is open until 1700. If there is more work to be done beyond that time then the tech on-call is responsible for finishing up and locking up the lab.

Throughout the day:

  • Crew members drop off any samples/come by for blood draws
  • Blood draws for donors as needed
  • Blood draws for other needs

On-call responsibilities:

  • Lab is covered by call 24 hours a day 7 days a week when the hospital is open
  • The 4 staff techs share the pager in a one week rotation (Monday—Monday) (so every 4th week expect to be on-call, sometimes more as needed)
  • If the tech on-call wants to spend time off ship during their week on-call they are responsible for finding someone to cover (staff is typically very willing to help cover pager duties)
  • The tech on-call comes in on the weekends to do any testing from the wards and to finish up any microbiology testing. Typical hours are 1000-1200 or until the work is finished.
  • The on-call tech gets to have a day off during the week the week after their call shift

Have any questions about this role? Post them below!

Summer Rosenbalm

Medical Staffing Manager


  • mirupertmirupert Posts: 1

    Are technologists responsible for all phlebotomy or just for blood donors?

  • SummerRosenbalmSummerRosenbalm Medical Staffing Manager Posts: 38 - Current Staff

    Hi @mirupert , thanks for asking! Lab staff are responsible for some of the phlebotomy tasks, most often crew clinic blood draws, but they can be also be called upon when there is a need for help in the patient wards. 

    Also the laboratory staff are responsible for blood donor draws. That is something that lab techs often do not have experience doing therefore we are prepared to help train lab staff in various phlebotomy roles (pediatric, donors etc).

    It is best if lab volunteers come to Mercy Ships with at least some basic training and experience in adult phlebotomy.

    I hope this helps answer your question. Let me know if I can answer anything else for you!

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