CSMLS releases results of graduate employment survey

November 02, 2007


Hamilton, ON November 2, 2007

Results of a survey conducted by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) reveal a lack of full-time employment positions for graduates of medical laboratory science programs.

In October of 2006, surveys were sent to 595 people who were certified by CSMLS as medical laboratory technologists in 2005. Respondents are asked to indicate their employment status 12 months after graduation. Two hundred and thirty-two people responded for an overall response rate of 39 per cent, and included 208 general medical laboratory technologists; 11 clinical genetics technologists; and 13 diagnostic cytologists. Of the 88.9 per cent of respondents who reported seeking full-time employment, only 40.5 per cent was successful.

“The lack of full-time, permanent employment has been an increasing concern in the health care community for more than a decade,” comments CSMLS Executive Director Kurt Davis. “Hiring new graduates into casual or part-time positions may meet employers’ immediate needs today, but in the long term, the lack of job stability and security will serve as a disincentive to enter the medical laboratory profession,” he says.

Closely related to this is the critical concern of lab professional shortages. Shortages in the field of medical laboratory science are very well documented in several reports on health human resources since 1999. “Over half of Canada’s medical laboratory technologists will be eligible to retire by the year 2016,” adds Davis. “This is a serious concern for the medical laboratory profession and it must be addressed.”

A clear example of the looming lab shortage problem was brought to a number of individuals’ attention with the temporary closing of the Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital lab in Nova Scotia. Lunenburg Mayor Laurence Mawhinney made the announcement public, explicitly stating that the temporary closure was precipitated because of staff shortages in the lab at South Shore Regional Hospital.

“Up to 85 per cent of decisions about diagnosis and treatment are based on results of tests performed by medical laboratory technologists. A shortage of medical laboratory technologists will put a strain on the health care system and compromise the ability to respond to the threat of new infectious diseases,” says Davis. “Long-term planning for the human resource needs for the medical laboratory science profession in Canada is needed without delay.”

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement : We respectfully acknowledge the CSMLS office, located in Hamilton, Ontario, is situated upon the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississauga Nation, Anishinaabe Peoples, and the Neutral Peoples. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon wampum, which is a treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.


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