Contributions by professionals in the clinical laboratory grow ever more valuable as technology advances, knowledge of diseases grows and understanding of the human body improves.
Laboratory technicians might have little or no personal interaction with patients, but their work affects up to 70% of the critical decisions regarding diagnosis, treatment, admission and discharge.
At OSF HealthCare, our lab professionals are valued as true partners in our Mission to serve with the greatest care and love. We offer excellent employee benefits, compensation and a supportive work environment with access to new opportunities.
For the second year in a row, OSF HealthCare has been named one of the best employers in the country – and the No. 1 Illinois-based health care system – for 2019 by Forbes magazine.
Blood Bank is responsible for providing blood products for safe transfusions. We have numerous products on hand, including red blood cells, platelets, cryoprecipitate and plasma.
Blood bank technologists perform compatibility testing and antibody identification along with extended antigen typing. Blood Bank supports our busy Level I Trauma Center and oncology units.
Coagulation tests measure the ability of blood to clot, as well as how long it takes. They usually are ordered when someone is experiencing abnormal bleeding or bruising.
Testing can assess the risk of excessive bleeding or the formation of clots (thrombosis) somewhere in the blood vessels.
By evaluating the levels of individual proteins, cofactors and enzymes necessary for coagulation, we can determine the synthetic markers for several blood disorders.
Tests run in the chemistry department help determine the concentration of certain chemicals in the body via blood, urine and other bodily fluids.
Common tests include glucose, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, potassium, electrolytes, liver functions, thyroid and hormone levels.
Cytology is a branch of pathology that deals with diagnosing cancer and other diseases through the examination of cellular samples from the body.
A technologist uses a microscope to examine the individual cells in the sample for cancerous cells, precancerous changes, or evidence of inflammation or infection.
Flow cytometry is an advanced technology that uses a laser to analyze the physical and chemical characteristics of particles in a fluid.
Cell components are fluorescently labeled and then excited by the laser in order to count and sort the cells. The lab helps to diagnose different blood, tissue and bone-marrow disorders.
Hematology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases related to the blood.
It involves treating diseases that affect the production of blood and its components, such as blood cells, hemoglobin, blood proteins and the mechanism of coagulation.
Coagulation (the study of the body’s clotting process) and urinalysis (the study of urine samples) often are other aspects of the hematology department.
This form of testing involves examining the structure of cells and how they relate to the tissue or organs they form.
Cut into thin slices, the cells are placed under a microscope and treated with dyes and chemicals to detect any abnormalities.
The lab often works quickly to deliver results while the patient is in surgery and is particularly important for the diagnosis of cancers.
Microbiology examines patient samples and performs a variety of polymerase chain reaction testing for infectious agents. Specimens include, but are not limited to, swabs from wounds, tissue, nasal/throat swabs, urine, stool, sputum and various body fluids.
A variety of bacteria, fungi, mycobacteria, parasites and viruses may be detected in these patient samples.
In addition, organism sensitivities are performed by a variety of methods, and the organism identification is performed by MALDI-TOF methodology.
Serology tests look for antibodies in the blood, because some infectious agents do not grow well in the lab and the best way to detect their presence is to test the patient’s blood.
Some diseases detected this way include mononucleosis, syphilis, chicken pox and shingles.
Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease also can be detected with serology.
Urinalysis testing involves physical, chemical and microscopic results from urine samples.
The tests performed detect and/or measure several substances in urine, such as bacteria, cells, cellular fragments and byproducts of normal and abnormal metabolism.
The results from these tests help in the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions, including urinary tract infection, kidney disease, pregnancy and diabetes.
With 14 acute care facilities in Illinois and Michigan, OSF HealthCare offers a diversity of lab work and career opportunities. Whether you want to specialize in one department or work in all of them, there is a perfect fit for your career goals.
"Serving with the greatest care and love is our Mission here at OSF – and our way of life.” – Katie, Medical laboratory scientist
Our Mission doesn’t just guide our interactions with patients; it drives every interaction we have with each other. We value justice, compassion, integrity and teamwork. The culture of caring for each patient at an individual level allows you to help and serve, even if you never meet the patient in person.
As a lab professional, you have an amazing opportunity to make a difference in many patients’ lives. You are 70% of a patient’s treatment and health care. Your work every day provides critical information for the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis for our patients.
Every patient who enters the OSF HealthCare Ministry will show up on your bench. You are able to help more patients in a day than almost anyone in the hospital.
OSF HealthCare is proud to offer financial assistance to our Mission Partners wanting to further their education and enhance their ability to serve patients.
Whether you are a medical laboratory technician (MLT) wanting to become a medical laboratory scientist (MLS), or an MLS needing to stay certified with continual education credits, or you are a lab assistant just starting out, OSF HealthCare wants to help.
"I’m very proud to work for an organization that has grown me personally and professionally.” – Amanda, Laboratory manager
1. Why become a lab tech at OSF HealthCare?
Our Mission is to serve each patient with the greatest care and love.
That culture extends throughout OSF HealthCare, as we not only take care of patients, but also our Mission Partners. With tuition reimbursement and financial assistance with CE credits, we help you reach your educational goals.
A variety of opportunities. Whether you want a lot of bench time with minimal patient interaction or want to become a generalist with frequent patient contact, OSF HealthCare can provide the setting and environment to best suit you.
2. I just graduated high school. How do I become a lab tech?
You can begin working as a lab assistant with a high school diploma. This gives you an opportunity to get a feel for the work environment and job responsibilities.
You can get an associate degree in science with an emphasis in clinical laboratory science to become an MLT. If you choose this route, OSF HealthCare can help you pay for the bachelor’s degree required to become an MLS.
Complete your bachelor’s degree in either medical technology or in a life science, then complete an extra year at a certified school to become an MLS.
3. I just graduated and became certified as an MLS. What should I be looking for in an employer?
Decide what kind of working environment you want. Would you like to be a generalist or work specifically in one department? Do you want to spend your time primarily in the lab, or would you like to have some patient interaction? Larger facilities give you the opportunity to specialize in a department and will require more time on the bench as there are other staff members to collect patient specimen.
Find out about the culture and atmosphere of the hospital. OSF HealthCare has a Mission to serve everyone with the greatest care and love. This patient-first mentality is uniquely manifested through the culture of our faith-based organization.
Ask whether the employer will help you achieve your career goals. OSF HealthCare helps you achieve your educational goals with tuition assistance.
4. I’m currently a lab tech and am looking for new opportunities. Why come to OSF HealthCare?
With 13 acute care facilities, OSF HealthCare offers a variety of environments, specialties and learning opportunities. Whether you want to be a generalist or specialist, OSF HealthCare has a hospital to fit your needs.
5. How do I apply to become a lab tech at OSF HealthCare?
OSF HealthCare posts current job openings online.
6. What should I have on my resume and say in my interview?
Check out our resume tips!
7. What is the salary of OSF HealthCare lab technicians?
This depends on the specific job and your qualifications. However, OSF HealthCare offers competitive salaries and benefits.
8. What is a typical day for a lab tech?
Generalists at a small hospital first draw blood from patients. They then go to their assignment department for the day, as their schedule is regularly rotated. They complete tests and analyze the results.
Lab techs at larger hospitals usually don’t collect specimens from patients. They spend a majority of their time in the lab completing more specialized and complex tests that smaller facilities don’t have the capacity or ability to perform.