Awareness of Medical Laboratory Science as a Career among Secondary School



1.1             Background of the Study

The Medical Laboratory profession has its roots in clinical pathology. In fact, “the practice of modern medicine would not be possible without the professional services of medical technologists, also known as clinical laboratory scientists” Muelhlenkamp (as cited in Kirby, 2007).

In the 21st century, clinical laboratory science is a healthcare profession that encompasses areas such as hematology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, parasitology, immunohematology, toxicology, immunology, and molecular pathology. The clinical laboratory workforce is comprised of practitioners nationally recognized by their degree of education and training as well as by their level of expertise. It is the combination of education, training, and experience, which differentiates practitioners and qualifies them for employment in a particular field.

The Medical Laboratory Science workforce seems to be at an exciting crossroad of change, both in recruiting and in curriculum.The environment of healthcare has changed and so has nursing, resulting in students asking, “what is Medical Laboratory Science?”. This question creates a challenge for Medical Laboratory Science educators. In order to attract and retain bright, capable students in nursing, there must be changes in Medical Laboratory Science curricula to provide and assure accurate and definitive perceptions of Medical Laboratory Science. Factors which currently contribute to students’ perceptions of Medical Laboratory Science must be identified in order to establish and provide students with the career making skills necessary in choosing a Medical Laboratory Science career, find job satisfaction following graduation, and remain in Medical Laboratory Science as a career.

Today, the conceptualization by students of the Medical Laboratory Science profession appears uncertain, and the question asked by many students is “What is Medical Laboratory Science?” (Wieck, 2000). Historically, nurses have been predominantly females. Students’ perceptions of Medical Laboratory Science are based on visual images that are often limited to blood testing and x-ray taking instead of that of a highly skilled and well-educated Medical Laboratory professional with an important role to play in healthcare. Many students have not spent time with a Medical Laboratory professional or volunteered in a healthcare setting to acquire a background on which to establish perceptions about Medical Laboratory Science, and thus have limited their opportunities for more informed career decision-making skills.


Many bright students are looking for advanced degrees, and are often confused regarding academic tracks for Medical Laboratory Science. These students are often discouraged by the lack of standardization in Medical Laboratory Science education, and choose alternative curricula in medicine instead of Medical Laboratory Science. Students also need to be aware of advanced degrees that prepare students to achieve advanced educational opportunities.

1.2             Statement of the Problem


Hospitals and healthcare facilities in the Nigeria are facing serious shortages of medical laboratory personnel, which, if not addressed, stand to negatively impact patient care. The problem is compounded by a reduction in the numbers of academic programs and resulting decrease in the number of graduates to keep up with the increase in industry demands. This problem is not peculiar to Nigeria. For instance, in the United States Cearlock (as cited in Enrado, 2009) asserted that “only two new clinical lab professionals enter the field for every seven who retire, and the average age of the laboratory professional is over 50”.

Also, there appears to be a limited, and in some cases, negative perception that is of the Medical Laboratory profession created by a number of factors that filter down to secondary school students. Students’ perceptions about Medical Laboratory Science have been shown to be influenced by several factors including negative parental viewpoints, a lack of time spent by students in healthcare settings, absence of Medical Laboratory mentors, and unrealistic television media portrayals of Medical Laboratory practictioners.

Facing this national shortage of educational opportunities and the projected need for laboratory professionals, faculty and trained professionals found it was more critical than ever to make sure that entrants to the program succeeded, graduated, and prepared to enter the profession.

Therefore, research is needed to determine if adequate informed career decisions making skills about Medical Laboratory prior to entering the programs can improve Medical Laboratory student retention rates and career satisfaction. Given these challenges, the purpose of this study was to determine the awareness of Medical Laboratory Science as a career path among secondary students.


1.3             Research Question

  1. Is there any relationship between family background and the awareness of Medical Laboratory as a career among secondary school students?
  2. Is there any relationship between peer group pressure and the awareness of Medical Laboratory as a career among secondary school students?
  3. Is there any relationship between societal valued jobs and the awareness of Medical Laboratory as a career among secondary school students?
  4. Is there any relationship between school environment and the awareness of Medical Laboratory as a career among secondary school students?


1.4       Research Hypotheses



1.5             Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research work is to:

Find out if family background determines the awareness of Medical Laboratory Science as a career among secondary school students

Find out if peer group pressure determines the awareness of Medical Laboratory Science as a career among secondary school students


Find out if there is a relationship between societal valued jobs and the awareness of Medical Laboratory Science as a career among secondary school students


Find out if school environment determines the awareness of Medical Laboratory Science as a career among secondary school students


1.6             Significance of the Study


The significance of this study lies in its impact on three general areas: (a) the individual student, (b) the society, and (c) the Medical Laboratory profession. The individual student has a desire to succeed and to complete the degree program in order to be eligible to sit for the certification examination and to gain employment in the profession. The exiting of students from the program before completion means that resources have been wasted and that dreams have been thwarted.


Clearly, the shortages of personnel and the program closures have placed new demands on medical laboratory technology programs to recruit more students and to develop strategies to decrease attrition and to increase graduation rates. Therefore, the ability to accurately predict student success and to implement strategies that will enhance student learning and decrease attrition will have a positive impact on graduation rates and the availability of trained professionals in the community.


There is a definite need for empirical research that will enhance the knowledge of

educators in the health related fields of study, particularly in the field of Medical Laboratory Technology. While there is a wide body of research attempting to predict student success in nursing or medicine, little research was found in a review of the literature examining predictability of student success in Medical Laboratory Science.

Understanding students’ perceptions of nursing will help Medical Laboratory Science recruiters and educators to determine whether an Introduction to Medical Laboratory Science course would be beneficial to intending students. Academic and visible healthcare experience can provide students with more informed career decision-making skills, as well as help to formulate informed perceptions of professional Medical Laboratory Science


1.7             Delimitation of the Study

The research is needed to determine the awareness of Medical Laboratory Science as a career path among secondary students. The study focuses on the factors that influence students’ choice of career in secondary schools. It is aimed at all secondary school students in Kwara State but because of time, money and other factors, it will be limited to only four schools.

1.8             Operational Definition of Terms


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The study traced the historical development of Nigeria-Chinese relations from 1999-2009 with emphasis on political and economic bilateral relations. Furthermore, the study discussed on relationship between Nigeria and China in key areas such as bilateral trade, oil and gas, power generation, rail transport system, road construction, communication, manufacturing and retail loan finance and general free trade zone. It also examined include politics, military and cultural bilateral relations between the two countries. Attention was also given to the domestic factors that shaped China’s relations with Nigeria and how Nigeria views the changing role of China on the African continents. Historical method or approach was employed in this study. Both Primary and Secondary sources published were used by the researcher. The study established that Nigeria’s external relation with China has been beneficial to the two countries. Again, it established that the relationship between Nigeria and China is a win-win strategy but this is yet to be thoroughly maximized by the Nigerian government given the political, military, technological and economic base of China as an emerging Super Power in international politics.



Nigerian leaders often see their country as the “natural leader” of the African continent.  And the country’s foreign policy is best understood and assessed in the context of its regional and continental ambitions largely designed by the presiding head of state or president. Thus, a study of Nigeria’s foreign policy under Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1960-1966) and Murtala/Obasanjo (1975-1979) will expose us to understand better the actors and factors that shape the country’s foreign policy.

Generally, Nigerian historians and political scientists regard the Murtala/Obasanjo regime (1975 – 1979) as a period that Nigeria became the “Giant of Africa” due to her confrontational foreign policy posture. Coupled with the transition programme initiated by General Murtala Mohammed and later implemented by General (Rtd.) Olusegun Obasajo, the regime was tagged a successful one. When this is compared to the foreign policy Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, one realizes that the two different regimes pursued the same foreign policy objectives but differently. They both have their peculiarities in building the country’s power status within the African sub-region. This study therefore seeks to provide well researched and comparative study regarding Nigeria’s foreign policy under Murtala/Obasanjo and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.


Globalization and Nigerian Foreign Policy: A Historical Analysis


Background to the Study

This study examines the impact of globalization on the formulation and implementation of Nigeria’s foreign policy. It also looks at the evolution, theories and forces of globalization as it affects the peoples of various regions and their relationship with others. The development of Nigeria’s foreign policy under different leaders was also examined. The study looks at the correlation between globalization and Nigeria’s foreign policy with emphasis on the determinants of Nigeria’s foreign policy. Historical research method was adopted for this research. Both primary and secondary source materials were sourced in carrying out this research work. The study reveals that Nigeria is yet to benefit from globalization in the conduct of external relations. This is because the domestic factors that
determine Nigeria’s (i.e. economy, military, demography, leadership, constitution, etc.,) are not fully developed to give Nigeria the leverage to assert her influence at the regional level and on the global scene. It was recommended that the factors that impede Nigeria’s foreign policy (i.e. poor leadership, corruption, underdeveloped economy, etc.,) should be
looked into and resolved so that the country can benefit from globalization as other industrialized countries of the world have been doing.

Globalization constitutes a mega trend in Nigerian political economy and has assumed a new phase in the country’s international relations. Given the emergent socio-political and economic transformation as well as the technological advancement in communication, information, transportation etc, the process seems to be irreversible. Various institutional actors that is, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, etc, have indeed consistently intensified efforts towards engaging in socio-cultural relations with other global actors to develop her domestic scene.5 Thus,  Nigeria today is a belongs to the ‘global village’, a new phase that has  sharpened the development of her foreign policy; and  inter-connectedness of political, economic, social and technological forces that permeate contemporary global system.

Nigeria has made giant strides toward global economic integration through privatization. It is also liberalizing capital markets with increasing scope of mergers and acquisitions especially in the financial sector. The country has continued to relax capital controls which posed a significant obstacle to foreign direct investment (FDI). More importantly, Nigeria is an active participant in the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) – a development plan which seeks to liberate Africa from underdevelopment, poverty, warm and corruption (Siddiq, 2003; Soludo, 2007). These are indicators that Nigeria fully supports and encourages globalization.

Statement of the Problem

          Although, much has been written on the globalization, little is known concerning the impact which globalization has had on the bilateral and multilateral relations which Nigeria has towards other countries in the international community. It is on the basis of the above that this research seeks to fill the vacuum which is yet to receive the attention of scholars of International Relations.

Scope of the Study

The study touches on the concepts of globalization and Nigeria forign policy. it examines the evolution of Nigeria’s foreign policy viz a viz the impact of globalization on the conduct of external relations of Nigeria with other countries of the world with reference to United States, European Union, China, India, and other African states from 1999 to 2009. Another important area that this study will look into is the influence of globalization on the determinants of Nigeria’s foreign policy.



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