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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1.1       Background to the Study

Job performance is among the most explored concepts in employee and organizational research (Bardett & McKinney, 2004). Researchers have taken special interest in job performance because of its humanitarian, hypothetical, and fiscal significance to an organization (Balzer et al., 1997). There is, however, a lack of job performance research focused on university non-academic staff employees, a group many universities rely upon for the management of their daily operations.

Age variables have received of attention of scholars over the past few years, and there has been a good deal of research that has demonstrated significant relationships between various personality facets including age and job performance. More recent studies have focused on which specific aspects of age are most predictive of job performance, with a particular focus on those nearing retirement (Schmidt & Hunter, 1998). Age, in this sense refers to both young adults who are energetic as well as those nearing retirement age and how it affects their job performance.

In Nigeria, retirement has traditionally been associated with a permanent exit from the workforce around the age of 65. Most government and private pensions take effect at this age making retirement a viable option for older employees. However, as changes have occurred in society so has the nature of retirement. As a result, more and more people are choosing to retire before the age of 65 (Dada and Idowu, 2006). Explanations for the increase in early retirement have stemmed from a number of changes including shifts in workforce demographics, advances in technology, fluctuations in the economy, and progress in legislation. Some of these factors have reduced the demand for older workers, making early retirement an attractive option. For instance, increases in the number of youths and women, entering the labour force have resulted in the displacement of many older workers. Technological changes have also made some of their skills obsolete. For these individuals, taking early retirement might be a better option than competing with a younger, more diverse workforce for jobs or finding ways to update their skills. This, however, have direct effect on the performance of workers in the university setting.

Research on the relationship between gender and job performance indicates that organizational policies on women contribute to cultural biases and values which invariably affect their performance in the work place (Cascio & Aguinis, 2005). In most cases, these original rules, policies, and practices have been modified very little to account for the enormous influx of diversity into the workplace, resulting in reduced opportunities for the women in the organization. Gender could affect the job performance of administrators in the university (Kawakami, White, & Langer, 2000). A key premise of the current research is that job performance can be affected by the combined effects of gender-role stereotypes held by job raters thereby creating negative consequences for job performance among non-academic women  in the university.

Research on years of experience of workers reveals that it is a good predictor of job performance among non-academic staff in universities (Culp, 2005). Higher education institutions of all types and sizes are being encouraged to be diverse and retain those with a vast  years of experience in the administrative field. According to Culp (2005), this will make the institution to be more to be accessible and to offer quality programs in order to meet the needs and wants of their students. Although differences are evident between federal, state and privately owned private universities in Nigeria, institutions still must encourage all departments on campus to enhance their programs and improve effectiveness and help build awareness and pride among the staff and students. Having a thorough understanding of how higher education administrators function helps universities and colleges identify what departmental programs and services have the greatest amount of influence on the overall productivity of the college campus.

Studying job performance allows campus administrators to identify what long-established institutional behaviors and actions give them satisfaction in their work performance. Performance in the workplace should instill a positive work environment and continue to impede adaptability and positive change (Sopow, 2006). If campus administrators are to assume responsibility for managing their work environment, further research is needed to assess the relationship between age, gender, and years of experiences of campus administrator‘s  and their job performance.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Over the years, higher education has experienced a major transformation in its overall complexity, diversity, and significance. Universities and colleges have had to adapt to a variety of issues and conditions that require higher education administrators to be innovative and resourceful when developing strategies that increase academic achievement and student learning. In order to balance internal and external pressures for student learning strategies it has become important that higher education administrators continue to explore what academic and administrative functions impact students on a university campus. Given these expectations for student learning, higher education administrators have developed, maintained, and enhanced institutional quality and effectiveness. Having administrators identify and evaluate what institutional programs and services create a social and intellectual environment for students helps to build a successful institutional climate and culture.

1.3         Purpose of the Study

The general aim of this research is to examine the age, gender, and years of experiences as predictors of job performance among non-academic staff administrators using Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun as case study. To achieve this aim, the following objectives were set:

  1.  To Find out whether age predicts job performance among administrators
  2.  Find out if gender of the administrator has any relationship with job performance in the workplace
  3.  Find out if years of experience may affect the job performance of administrators at the workplace
  4.  To find out if job performance may depend on such factors as age, gender and years of experience of administrators.

1.4       Research Question

The research will answer the question:

  1.  Is there any significant difference between age of administrators and their job performance in the workplace?
  2.  Is there any significant difference between gender of administrators and their job performance in the workplace?
  3.  Is there any significant difference between years of experience and their job performance in the workplace?
  4.  What impact does age, gender and years of experience of administrators have on their job performance

 1.5       Research Hypotheses

Ho1 There is no statistically significant difference between the age of administrators and their job performance in the workplace

Ho2 There is no statistically significant difference gender of administrators and their job performance in the workplace

Ho3 There is no statistically significant difference between years of experience and their job performance in the workplace

Ho4 There is no statistically significant difference age, gender and years of experience of administrators and their job performance

1.6       Scope of the Study

            This study centers on the correlation between age, gender, and years of experiences and job performance among non-academic staff administrators using Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun as case study. Forty non-academic members of staff of TASUED will be randomly selected as respondents. The study covers eight years (2005 to 2013) period.

1.7       Limitations of the Study

Apart from short of fund and timeframe to conduct the study, this study is further limited by the following factors:

  1.  An attitudinal scale is going to be used by the researcher to measure job performance in the study. Opinions and perceptions of university administrators may change with time and may be affected by non-work variables. In addition, an employee‘s work environment, individual responsibilities, and positions may change. Therefore, levels of job performance may change.
  2.  Findings are going to be based on self-reported responses to the job performance questionnaire and, therefore, rely on the accurate self-assessment, honesty, and motivation of responders.
  3. Testing job performance over an extended period of time among members of staff in the university will be limited to five years study, despite that most members of non-academic staff of the university were formerly members of staff in the then Tai Solarin College of Education, Ijagun.

1.8       Significance of the Study

This will aid our knowledge about job performance and how various factors affect the performance of non academic administrative staff in higher institution in Nigeria. It will also show why there is need for the government and the institutions to develop effective communication on organizing seminars and workshops for administrators to enable them perform better at their workplace.

This study will bring about understanding with regard to what problems administrators encounter in performing their duties at the workplace. This will then allow the development of improved strategies of help or intervention either by the government, corporate institutions, the universities societies, groups and individuals on solving those problems.

This study is deemed important given the scarcity of adequate literature or studies on the relationship between the age, gender and years of experience as predictors of job performance among non-academic staff in Nigerian universities.

Lastly, it will serve as a contribution to knowledge in the subject area. In  this  regard,  it  will  be  useful  for  other  researchers  who might want to carry out research in related areas.

1.9       Operational Definition of Terms

Examination: examination is a way to ascertain how much of a subject matter in a particular field of study the candidate has mastered. In other words, it is a process through which studies are evaluated or tested to find out the quality of knowledge they have acquired within a specific period.

Age: the chronological age of a person

Gender: the state of a being female or male

Job Performance: Job performance is a commonly used, yet poorly defined concept in industrial and organizational psychology, the branch of psychology that deals with the workplace. It’s also part of Human Resources Management. It most commonly refers to whether a person performs their job well.





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Age, Sex and Test Anxiety as Predictors of Examination Malpractices Among Secondary School Students


The study investigated Age, Sex and Test Anxiety as predictors of Examination Malpractices among Secondary School Students using Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of Ogun State as case study. Two hundred students were randomly selected from four secondary schools in the area. The instrument utilized for the study was a questionnaire named “Questionnaire for Examination Malpractice Among Students” (QMAS). Four hypotheses were tested and the result showed that the predictive combined factors of age, sex and test anxiety influences students’ participation in examination malpractices. Data was analyzed using step wise regression analysis. Based on the findings, adequate counselling assistance should be given to students to shun examination malpractices, and further research should be carried out on the other predictive factors that make students to engage in examination malpractices aside age, sex and test anxiety.