Clinical labs continue to play a significant role in the healthcare system, as far as diagnostic goes, especially considering that all the major decisions are made based on lab results.
For this reason, the labs have no option but to employ qualified personnel and invest heavily in information and medical technology, such as the ones sold by SapioSciences.com.
This article is intended to benefit any person looking to work in a lab setting or who is interested in learning more about lab management.
A Guide to Becoming a Lab Manager
Efficient lab management calls for the managers to possess certain technical skills in their area of specialization. It’s not possible to monitor or even train users on what to do if the manager isn’t well-versed with lab protocols and best practices to observe.
While technical skills are essential, they aren’t the only skills required. Managers also need to have good communication skills to enable them to work well with groups.
It’s prudent that the manager learns how to communicate with different groups, which calls for them to be in a position to communicate with all types of audiences.
Skills aside, laboratory managers also need to have attained certain education credentials. Many organizations and companies tend to prefer working with professionals who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
If, for instance, a lab currently focusses on healthcare, it will be looking for a technician who has a degree in areas such as:
- Biomedical sciences
- Medical technology
According to Jared-Auclair, the director of bioinformatics and biotechnology studies at Northeastern University, having a degree in any of the fields above is a great starting point.
But for one to be cleared to run a lab, they will need to have attained at least five to ten years of working experience.
Selecting a Degree Program That Can Assist in Accelerating Your Chosen Profession
For those considering enrolling in a master’s program that can help them become lab managers, they are advised to select programs that are aligned with their goals.
Carefully consider the options the degree will offer you upon completion. For example, the two MSC in Biotechnology offered at KTH, opens a path to careers in areas such as:
- Biotechnology enterprise
- Agricultural biotechnology
- Regulatory science
- Scientific information management
- Molecular biotechnology
- Pharmaceutical technologies
- Process sciences
- Biopharmaceutical analytical sciences
- Manufacturing and quality operations
Responsibilities of a Lab Manager
Typically, when any person chooses a profession in the sciences, it’s often because they harbor a desire to work in a lab setting where they can perform experiments and undertake research.
When starting, many of them aren’t aware of what’s expected of them, until they eventually land in a lab.
So, what is it exactly does the lab manager do? The following are some of their responsibilities:
- Maintenance: The lab manager is tasked with cleaning and sanitizing all the instruments. They also have to undertake routine maintenance of lab equipment.
- Management: They have to conduct frequent inspections to ensure compliance with regulations and to discipline as well as oversee those using the lab.
- Training: Team members have to be taken through steps that will ensure they are using the supplies, software, and lab equipment safely.
- Operations: Ordering supplies and monitoring inventory, e.g., personal protective gear, reagents, and chemicals.
While these are the typical tasks performed by a lab manager, you should understand that the responsibilities can also change depending on the size of the lab.
Tips for Efficient Lab Management
Lab management is a challenging profession. One is expected to work with people from diverse backgrounds with each having varied ambitions.
For this reason, one must have access to tips that can make them successful lab managers. And these are skills that transcend tracking lab equipment and materials!
Becoming an effective manager calls for you to be competent in the following areas:
- Possess good organizational skills: An effective manager needs to know how to properly organize their teams. Learn how to divvy up the available tasks based on the skills possessed by the team members.
- Budgeting for success: You can’t run a successful lab without tracking your finances. It doesn’t matter whether the lab is part of an Industry or Academia, you need to account for all the money spent on the lab.
- Leadership in decision making: Understand that every decision you make will impact the entire lab. Teach yourself how to balance between the short-term and long-term interests.
- Rules & regulations: A lab setting can’t operate optimally if the rules and regulations aren’t followed. Failure to apply them will not only harm the reputation of your lab, but it could also lead to unwanted accidents.
- Managing from the frontlines: No one said running a lab would be an easy task. In the process of executing your duties, you will need to understand your team’s ambitions, goals, weaknesses, and strengths, to help them excel in what they are doing.
As you can see, it takes a lot for one to become a fully-fledged lab manager. You can’t just wake up one day and decide that your next goal is to manage a lab.
You have to understand what goes into managing a lab, the courses or degree programs to focus on, and the responsibilities you will be handling once you become a manager.
While at it, there’s also the need to know what counts as effective lab management. When all is said and done, lab management can be a rewarding career, provided you do it for the right reasons.