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Abstract

Some of the challenges clinical laboratories faces today are the design and implementation of competency assessment programs. Section 493.1451 (b) (8) of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA, 1988) regulations states that technical supervisors are responsible for ensuring that staff maintain competency to perform test procedures and report results promptly, accurately, and proficiently. CLIA (1988) requires that the skills of technical personnel be assessed annually. The purpose of this study was to compare the perceptions of certified medical laboratory personnel who worked as educators, employers, or practitioners regarding the required competencies of three levels of laboratory personnel: Medical laboratory technician (MLT), medical laboratory technologist (MT) and clinical laboratory Specialist. Descriptive statistics, which included means, standard deviations, ranks, and Spearman Rank-Order Correlation, revealed some degree of discrepancies among the respondents. However, educator's response reflected the appropriateness of the competencies in direct relation to increasing competency level of laboratory roles, Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), Technologists (MT) and Specialists. Employers and Practitioners, on the other hand, rated MTs and Specialists as almost equal. Furthermore, comparison among the practitioners revealed distinct discrepancies in the perceptions of performing and evaluating laboratory tests. The greatest variation was noted among practitioners in their rating of competency level required for specialist roles. These specific results will be useful for further development of required personnel qualifications and their relationship to competency-based performance evaluations intended to maintain quality control practices and laboratory proficiency. Result of the study will also provide guidelines for further discussing curriculum revision for practitioners training and to establish distinct levels of competencies for three different levels of medical laboratory personnel: MLTs, MTs, and Specialists.

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