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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background of the Study The Medical Laboratory profession has its roots in clinical pathology. In fact, “the practice of modern medicine would not be possible without the professional services of medical technologists, also known as clinical laboratory scientists” Muelhlenkamp (as cited in Kirby, 2007). In the 21st century, clinical laboratory science is a healthcare profession that encompasses areas such as hematology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, parasitology, immunohematology, toxicology, immunology, and molecular pathology. The clinical laboratory workforce is comprised of practitioners nationally recognized by their degree of education and training as well as by their level of expertise. It is the combination of education, training, and experience, which differentiates practitioners and qualifies them for employment in a particular field. The Medical Laboratory Science workforce seems to be at an exciting crossroad of change, both in recruiting and in curriculum.The environment of healthcare has changed and so has nursing, resulting in students asking, “what is Medical Laboratory Science?”. This question creates a challenge for Medical Laboratory Science educators. In order to attract and retain bright, capable students in nursing, there must be changes in Medical Laboratory Science curricula to provide and assure accurate and definitive perceptions of Medical Laboratory Science. Factors which currently contribute to students’ perceptions of Medical Laboratory Science must be identified in order to establish and provide students with the career making skills necessary in choosing a Medical Laboratory Science career, find job satisfaction following graduation, and remain in Medical Laboratory Science as a career. Today, the conceptualization by students of the Medical Laboratory Science profession appears uncertain, and the question asked by many students is “What is Medical Laboratory Science?” (Wieck, 2000). Historically, nurses have been predominantly females. Students’ perceptions of Medical Laboratory Science are based on visual images that are often limited to blood testing and x-ray taking instead of that of a highly skilled and well-educated Medical Laboratory professional with an important role to play in healthcare. Many students have not spent time with a Medical Laboratory professional or volunteered in a healthcare setting to acquire a background on which to establish perceptions about Medical Laboratory Science, and thus have limited their opportunities for more informed career decision-making skills. REMOVED, BUY THE COMPLETE PROJECT (N5000) Many bright students are looking for advanced degrees, and are often confused regarding academic tracks for Medical Laboratory Science. These students are often discouraged by the lack of