I had the opportunity to interview a fellow Webster University student and former work colleague from the Washington University Medical Center. Michael Nathaniel Morris, MT (ASCP) is a retired Forest Park Community College alumni medical technologist and a Bachelor of Arts from Webster University alumni. MT (ASCP) stands for certified Medical Technologist (MT) or Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification (BOC). Mr. Morris says he would choose this field and profession without question again. He explains that he was often recruited for employment even when he had a job.
Mr. Morris explains, “so after high school graduation from University City, I looked around and saw a clinical laboratory technology program and applied to it. Years before my interest in a clinical laboratory, about the ninth grade, my mother (Bessie Morris) started to talk to her coworkers that happened to run an animal laboratory facility, and that was where I piqued my interest. I am now a volunteer student at the animal laboratory facility as an animal porter. On my lunch break, I would go down there, and I would see all these guys and white coats, and they were doing all these different experiments, and they were kind enough to explain to me what they were doing, and that’s how I was exposed to laboratory science, and that’s what’s happening.”
“Fast forward in my Clinical Laboratory Technology program at Forest Park, I am taking between 15 and 16 credit hours, about 70 credit hours. I transferred to Webster University to complete my medical technology degree and certification. An undergraduate degree was the requirement for certification. We had to have a four-year degree for the MLP certification, which would qualify me to work in a lab again. I wanted to sit for the medical technologist certification, which I decided to do.”
Mr. Morris adds “A highlight of my career is working at the Children’s Hospital microbiology laboratory. I encourage other young and up-and-coming people, especially young Black and Brown people in Saint Louis, MO, to consider the Forest Park program.
You can make a decent living, and you will have no problem finding a job, and the pay is equal to your experience and education. I have been constantly contacted by new graduates and people interested in a career, so I’m continually getting emails.” Michael insists “My work still speaks for itself even today!
Regarding new technology, Mr. Morris insists that “you are still going to need someone to maintain and troubleshoot the available technology that’s not going to change, no matter what type of new artificial intelligence technology comes along.” I’m concerned about the mentality of trying to adapt laboratory medicine to an assembly line mentality such as an automobile facility. It can’t be effectively structured that way. It is an art that cannot be duplicated artificially. Qualified people get the work done.”
The Narrative Matters!
ASCP. (2023). Board of Certification (ascp.org)
Heather L Phillips, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM, MT(AMT), Eleanor K Jator, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM, Shelley R Latchem, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM, Timothy A Catalano, MA RT(T), Clinical Educators’ Teaching Approaches and Attributes in Laboratory Medicine, Laboratory Medicine, 2023;, lmad001, https://doi.org/10.1093/labmed/lmad001
St. Louis Community College Forest Park. (2023).Clinical Laboratory Technology (Medical Laboratory Technician), Associate in Applied Science < St. Louis Community College (stlcc.edu)
St. Louis Community College Forest Park. (2023).https://catalog.stlcc.edu/programs/clinical-laboratory-technology-aas/#semesterbysemesterplantext
Photo Credit: Michael N. Morris.