A day in the life of a haematology ATO

To celebrate Biomedical Science Day 2022 we invited Haematology ATO Syeda Miah to share what a day in the life of her job role is like…


8am and my day as a full time mummy and Haematology ATO (Assistant Technical Officer) begins. First and foremost, I fuel up for the busy day ahead with some strong coffee and a wholesome breakfast with the family. I then bid my farewells and make my way to work to start my 9am shift.

Upon arrival into the laboratory (after battling through the rush hour traffic), I put away my coat and put on my white lab coat ready to start processing patient samples. At 9:30am our team gets ready for our daily morning huddles. We delegate tasks, discuss any issues and generally have a little catch up (because why not hey)!

I then begin my daily tasks. As it is a Monday and I am the early start, it is my responsibility to set up the Sebia analyser so our specialist BMS can process the Haemoglobinopathy samples collected and stored in the fridge from the previous Friday. I then go on to check all Alinity analysers are up and running with sufficient reagents and start loading patient samples that have been booked in by my colleagues in reception.

BEEP BEEP! My attention goes towards the centrifuge that has finished spinning the coagulation sample, which I then load onto the Stago analysers. 10am and my mid shift colleague arrives and for me it’s coffee time

I brief my colleague about any updates and make my way for my morning break. By 11am my late shift colleague arrives and we all delegate our jobs so that all areas in the haematology lab are covered. This includes: reagent management, analyser maintenance, specialist test receipt and so on.

It is now 1pm and lunch time (yum) and the laboratory is starting to get a little more busy with the hustle and bustle of engineers, biomedical scientists, blood drivers, ATOs and housekeeping. We continue to keep the workflow going by ensuring the patient samples are collected, processed and racked away into storage in a timely manner.

After lunch I head back into the laboratory and start on the IM screens for which I need the help of my wonderful colleagues in Biochemistry. Once the samples that I have requested to Biochemistry have been taken off the track I carry out the test and ensure a BMS authorises the result. 

It’s now 3pm and one of the Alinity analysers is down, as it is the busiest part of the day one of the analysers has had an error, I quickly troubleshoot and have it back up and running again. At 4pm it’s time for a much needed second break.

To end the day, I check reagent stock and ensure everything is in order for my colleagues on the nightshift. By 5:30pm it’s time to go home and it has been another successful day in the Haematology Lab.

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