Hospital & Lab Safety Lab Techs

5 Lab Tech Quirks

Lab techs aren’t wired like most people.

Maybe their unique perspective comes from spending so many hours analyzing microorganisms.  Or perhaps they’re born with a special set of skills — the ability to spot irregularities, the inability to be grossed out — that make them so uniquely suited for a job that so many aren’t.

Does it even matter? To know lab techs is to love and appreciate them for who they are and all they do.

Here are five quirks that many lab techs share and demonstrate in abundance.

Labeling everything: Orderliness is essential in medical laboratories. Mixing up or mislabeling specimens is a major sin. Lab techs depend on accurate identification, and that often extends beyond their work. If you raid a lab tech’s home refrigerator, you probably won’t find any mystery containers. Look for a date and trust the system.

Pen possessiveness: When a lab tech lends you his or her pen, you should not take that trust lightly. Lab techs typically develop strong attachments to their favorite pens because so many have gone “missing.” Try not to feel weird if they watch you really closely until you give it back. They’re just being protective.

Creative face scratching:  When your gloves are soiled by blood, urine, stool, or sputum at any given time, relieving an itch requires acrobatics.  Upper arms and shoulders don’t always do the job. Knees, walls, a coworker’s stubble — it’s all fair game. You might even see your lab tech friend doing the shoulder scratch move outside of work. Force of habit.

Pipette tip preferences: Lab techs often have distinct pipette removal habits. Some go row by row. Others go column by column. And there’s always one who just takes them from wherever. Lab techs could probably make personality assessments about each other based on these habits or, similarly, what order someone removes cherry cordials from a box.

Coffee obsession: According to a 2011 poll, scientists and lab techs are the heaviest coffee drinkers of any profession in the U.S. We’re guessing most of them aren’t drinking decaf. Also, the stats might be even more tipped toward techs if tea and energy drinks were included in the mix. Whether it’s to power through those long evening shifts or unglue early morning eyes, caffeine consumption is a major part of many a lab tech’s ritual.

What lab tech quirks did we miss? Let us know in the comment box below!

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5 Comments

  • Ramon Cruz
    September 24, 2016 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

    The ninja like ability to walk into a room and not be noticed.

  • Pat Meech
    September 25, 2016 - 7:18 am | Permalink

    Lab techs remove small screw caps with their pinky finger. This extends to toothpaste caps as well.

  • September 25, 2016 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

    This is very true. I was a medical technologist for over 40 years and I can relate.

  • Anna Rutledge
    December 9, 2016 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

    One-handed screw cap removal.

    • Aaron Ogg
      December 14, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

      Yes, definitely a useful adaptation. #evolved

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