Our institution is going the "cross-training" route. It is hard
enough to re-train ASCP registered Med Techs who have worked in Clinical
Chemistry for ten years to do planting. And they at least have had the
formal training once-upon-a-time -- though it may have been ten or
fifteen years ago. I cannot imagine trying to teach a H.S. grad enough
theory to do the job properly. I strongly feel that one needs to
understand the background theory of Microbiology to even plant specimens.
It is too easy to deviate from accepted practice when one gets bored or in
a hurry, unless it is understood WHY the procedure must be done in only
"this particular way". Even simple decisions require background knowledge,
such as " If I only have enough specimen for one plate, and not all four,
which one should I use?"
I feel that it is much easier to train a Micro Tech to do Chemistry,
And proper training and experience are essential in Micro. I cringe at the
memory of mistakes I made as an inexperienced tech - and I had formal
education and training in my field. I still learn something new almost
every day. I can only guess at the disasters that could happen with
completely untrained people working in clinical Micro!
Kathy Sherlock, MT (ASCP)
(lowly Micro Tech for almost ten years)