How the job of lab assistant or laboratory technician evolved
From CSU analyses to AAS stipulations: your job is always varied
The first evolution that Gwen Lorreyne notices, is the growing number of techniques that laboratory technicians have to master. This is a logical trend, as there are more and more techniques that are being developed, but - on the individual lab technicians level- you can also see a new custom, which is to specialize first and then learn more techniques.
“I started with water and particle measurements, and then I evolved to other techniques such as NIR, AAS and CSU.” - Lorreyne
This wide spectrum gives Lorreyne the variation she needs and appreciates. “Furthermore, I gradually received more responsibility within CSU analyses,” she continues. “I receive the monsters, check which tests have to be done, what the deadline is and finally I plan the analyses. When those are done and checked, I report the results to the correct department.
Less manual work, more electronics
“Being a laboratory technician, I regularly get to work with new models or materials, but the biggest change is without a doubt the general technological evolution,” Lorreyne says. In 4 years time, she has seen a lot of changes at Johnson & Johnson.
“When I just started, we had to write down all our analyses in a log. About a year and a half ago, we made the switch to an electronical system. We put our data in templates - from the monsters you’ve analysed to the used materials - and the weights are automatically transferred from the balance sheet to the system. The review work is also done in the system. This way, fewer mistakes occur, and we are always in control.
The workload hasn’t risen in the past few years according to Gwen Lorreyne. This is because the pace was already quite high to begin with; since there are studies depending on your results.
“But something else did change: we make more use of external laboratories, so we can focus on the difficult or special cases. This means we have to be more flexible than before. When something urgent comes in, the analyses that we were doing have to wait, or we have to work overtime,” says Lorreyne.
“But,” she decides, “this is always compensated correctly. AUSY focuses a lot on the wellbeing of its consultants, and this is a vision that I also see at Johnson & Johnson.”