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Multi-skilled technicians are professionals who perform a variety of tasks at a hospital, from working in labs and offices to helping patients one-on-one. It's an option for those who want to work in medicine but don’t have the time, money or desire to become a doctor. They can be trained in two years or less.
As the name suggests, multi-skilled technicians have training in multiple medical fields, such as phlebotomy, respiratory skills, lab skills and ECG technology, so they can assist health care providers in a variety of ways. Their interdisciplinary training allows technicians the flexibility to work in various medical settings, from small offices to large hospitals, and perform tasks such as preparing lab specimens, sterilizing equipment, drawing blood, administering medication, removing stitches and preparing patients for X-rays. The specific demands of the job vary from place to place.
Certificates for multi-skilled health care technicians are offered at community colleges, junior colleges and vocational schools. Students must have a high school diploma or GED before entering a certification program. According to Aiken Technical College, the program usually lasts between one and two years and includes coursework such as anatomy, medical terminology, physiology, insurance processing and record keeping. Programs may also include internships.
Technician programs may also include classes on medical ethics and law, as well as patient relations. Because a hospital multi-skilled technician may work directly with client, it’s important for hospital staff to have good interpersonal skills and a warm “bedside manner.” Courses in the humanities can help medical staff remain sensitive to their clients.
In addition to their clinical work, multi-skilled hospital technicians are trained to act as unit secretaries. They might transcribe physicians' orders, chart patient vital signs or other clinical care, order supplies, answer the telephone, take messages and perform receptionist duties.
Sarah Watson is a Chicago-based freelance writer. She has been writing professionally since 2006, with work appeared in poetry anthologies and literary journals such as "Arts Beat," as well as in various online publications. Watson holds a Master of Arts in education from Northern Illinois University.