All laboratory staff need to be Operators, in that we all need to be able to follow (sensibly) the method manuals, the guidelines and the safety regulations etc, etc. An operator can generally function with basic levels of training and knowledge, as long as nothing goes wrong….
In addition it is desirable to be a Troubleshooter. Even when the guidelines are followed, things can still go wrong, and do. A Troubleshooter is able to identify the problem and put procedures in place to rectify it. A Troubleshooter needs to have a good in-depth knowledge of their area and also the confidence to fix things when they are not working.
Most valuable of all is to have Innovators within the laboratory, staff who don’t just follow the guidelines, but are able to suggest changes to them in order to provide a better outcome. Innovators require not only knowledge and confidence, they also have the passion and the will to dream up the ideas and to suggest the changes.
The more troubleshooters and innovators the laboratory has, the better.
Best of all is when the troubleshooters and innovators are not the most senior people in the lab, but the most junior. That makes for a really dynamic lab…..
P.s. I have added some MCQs on laboratory testing of Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) to the website.