Medical Laboratory Technologists Standards of Practice

A standard of practice is defined as the measure by which the accuracy or quality of performance of an individual is judged. The Medical Laboratory Technologist must be knowledgeable of the theory, technique and clinical application of laboratory analyses and skilled in the performance of those procedures. The Medical Laboratory Technologist must be competent in judgmental and interpretive skills and must recognize and deal with abnormal situations related to test results, methods and quality control. The Medical Laboratory Technologist must be professional in conduct.

The intent of the Standards of Practice is to provide an overview of the expectations that professionalism places on the Medical Laboratory Technologist. Detailed standards pertaining to the specific workplace should be developed within the framework of these standards of practice.

National standards of practice are the minimum standards across Canada. Provincial regulatory bodies established under provincial statutes will have their own Standards of Practice, which will be more specific and may be more stringent. These provincial standards will govern in disciplinary matters within the mandate of the regulatory body.


Medical Laboratory Technologists possess scientific knowledge of the theory, techniques and clinical application of medical laboratory procedures. They understand and apply this knowledge of medical laboratory science to current practice. They ensure continued competence by maintaining their professional skills.

Medical Laboratory Technologists shall:

  1. Demonstrate competence as outlined in the current CSMLS Competency Profile.
  2. Understand the relationship between analyses, diagnoses, clinical information and treatment.
  3. Perform method evaluation as applied to medical laboratory science.
  4. Understand and adhere to the ethical and legislative framework that influences the practice of medical laboratory science.
  5. Understand and apply institutional policies and procedures.
  6. Assume responsibility for professional development to ensure continued competence.

Safe Work Practices

Medical Laboratory Technologists practice according to established protocols, safety guidelines, existing legislation and environmental considerations.

Medical Laboratory Technologists shall:

  1. Apply health and safety measures at all times to ensure the safety and protection of patients, colleagues, self and the environment.
  2. Advocate the use of personal protective equipment and laboratory safety devices.
  3. Provide leadership to other members of the health care team with regard to safety issues.
  4. Understand and apply the regulations for preservation and safe shipment of biological specimens.
  5. Store, handle and dispose of biological, toxic and radioactive material safely.
  6. Understand and comply with all emergency response plans.

Data Collection, Specimen Procurement and Handling

Medical Laboratory Technologists verify relevant data and ensure that appropriate specimens are procured in accordance with established protocols.

Medical Laboratory Technologists shall:

  1. Ensure that all relevant information is obtained for correct specimen collection and analysis.
  2. Treat all patients with courtesy and respect, ensuring that their rights are protected and their consent obtained.
  3. Apply proper protocol for identification of the patient and collection of specimens.
  4. Apply proper protocol for specimen accessioning, identification, documentation and storage in a retrievable manner.
  5. Exercise judgment in assessing the integrity and suitability of specimens for examination.
  6. Identify and use the most appropriate techniques for preparing specimens for analysis.
  7. Assess and organize the workload to optimize efficiency and quality of patient care.
  8. Provide appropriate instruction to health care workers responsible for collection, transportation, documentation and storage of specimens.
  9. Ensure there is a complete, current and accessible manual outlining proper procedures for collection, transportation, documentation and storage of specimens.

Analytical Techniques and Instrumentation

Medical Laboratory Technologists understand the principles and perform analytical techniques on a variety of specimens and ensure accuracy of analyses.

Medical Laboratory Technologists shall:

  1. Understand the physical and chemical principles of the various analyses performed.
  2. Apply approved methods and procedures in the performance of analyses.
  3. Operate and maintain analytical equipment proficiently.
  4. Understand and interpret references ranges (intervals), critical values, and detection limits of each technique.
  5. Understand and identify the cause of interferences and adverse effects and take appropriate action.
  6. Ensure that control protocols are clearly defined and followed for each analysis.
  7. Compile, analyze and validate control results.
  8. Ensure the accuracy of patient results utilizing quality control programs.
  9. Ensure there is a complete, current and accessible manual outlining approved methods and procedures.

Interpretation and Reporting of Results

Medical Laboratory Technologists evaluate the technical sufficiency of test results and ensure that reports are issued in an appropriate and timely manner.

Medical Laboratory Technologists shall:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between clinical information, laboratory analyses, diagnosis and patient care.
  2. Identify results that are outside expected finding or clinically established reference ranges and ensure that appropriate action is taken.
  3. Release results of laboratory analyses that meet quality control criteria in a timely and efficient manner.
  4. Communicate information regarding laboratory analyses to clients in a manner that is appropriate.
  5. Ensure that laboratory results remain confidential and are accurately documented and retained in accordance with established policy and existing legislation.

Quality Management

Medical Laboratory Technologists practice and promote the principles of quality management.

Medical Laboratory Technologists shall:

  1. Maintain established standards for quality control in specimen procurement, preparation, analysis, interpretation and reporting.
  2. Follow established protocols as defined in policy and procedure manuals.
  3. Ensure the accurate and timely reporting of results.
  4. Practice in a manner consistent with efficient and effective use of resources.
  5. Participate in internal and external quality assurance programs.
  6. Maintain appropriate documentation.

Professional Responsibility

Medical Laboratory Technologists understand and abide by the CMLTM Code of Ethics.

Medical Laboratory Technologists shall:

  1. Be responsible and accountable for their continued competence.
  2. Practice within the legal and ethical framework of their profession.
  3. Participate in the development and application of accepted standards of their profession.
  4. Always put the welfare of the patient above other considerations.

(The College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Manitoba adheres to the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science MLT Standard of Practice as stated here.)