Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Deborah Byrnes


Deborah Byrnes


Kimberly Lott


Steven O. Laing


Edward Reeve


Joseph Matthews


Medical laboratory scientists (MLSs) are responsible for performing highly complex biochemical analyses on samples collected from patients in hospitals and clinics. The performance of these tests often involves little patient exposure on the part of the MLS and as a result some have wondered about the role soft skills, like communication, conflict resolution and empathy, play in medical laboratory science. The aim of this study was to explore the importance that medical laboratory administrators place on these types of skills, collectively referred to as emotional intelligence (EI), as well as to assess how satisfied they were with the demonstration of emotional intelligence among MLSs. Additionally, this study explored the current state of EI training in medical laboratories as well as the responsibility that college-based medical laboratory science programs should assume for the development of EI skills, as perceived by medical laboratory administrators.

A survey was distributed to members of the Clinical Laboratory Management Association in January and February of 2013. Just over 400 completed surveys were collected and analyzed. Overall, medical laboratory administrators found all emotional intelligence related items to be "very" or "extremely" important, but indicated that there is room for improvement in these skills. They conveyed that a certain level of EI-related training occurs in medical laboratories and hospitals, but that this training could be more effective. Medical laboratory administrators supported increased attention to the development of EI skills at the medical laboratory science program level, but indicated that individuals interested in a career in medical laboratory science should assume most of the responsibility for the development of these skills.



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