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 Problem

Banking sector in Nigeria have undergone series of dramatic changes ranging from distressed banks in the 1990s to failed banks and later exit of these banks (Ogunleye, 2005). The  Central  Bank  of  Nigeria (CBN) and  the  Nigeria Deposit  Insurance  Corporation (NDIC) reported  that, of the 115 banks in operation  in 1997, 47 were in  varying  states  of  distress,  with  an  average ratio  of  non-performing  assets  of  around  82 per cent. The restructuring of distressed banks starts  with  their  being  put  under  joint  control through  “acquisitions-in-trust”  by  the  NDIC and  the  CBN  for  eventual  sale  to  private operators. Six  mergers between 1996 and 1998 resulted  in  88  net  job  losses  out  of  a  total workforce  of  1,860.  Without  the  mergers, many of the banks would have been closed by regulators  with  the  loss  of  all  the  jobs involved.

Consolidation of the banking industry generally involves a combination of existing banks, growth among the major players in the banking industry; and may lead to  the exit of small and weak banks from the industry (Ogunleye, 2005). Soludo (2004) submitted that the consolidation programme became necessary because the Nigerian banking industry was plagued with  persistent liquidity problems, poor asset management, weak corporate governance, weak capital base, over- dependency on public sector deposits, late or non-publication of annual accounts, and  neglect of small and medium  scale enterprises. The CBN adopted a risk-focused, rule-based regulatory framework predicated on merger and acquisition to implement the bank consolidation  programme. Among other things, the  minimum capitalization of Nigerian banks was increased from 2 billion to  25 billion naira. This reduced the number of banks in Nigeria from 89 (as at June, 2004) to 25 (in December, 2005).

For banks, consolidation has increased inter-bank competition, demands for high returns on investment, a need to retain highly skilled employees, and a bid to avoid the sanctions of the monitoring and regulatory agencies.  Consequently, there is a  shift from transaction  based model to sales/ service model (Ojedokun, 2008). For bank employees in  Nigeria, the effect is  not less. The sales model adopted by banks puts a lot of pressure on the employees to perform, as higher target s are set to justify their pay. For Business Education undergraduates in Nigerian universities, the large number of downsized bank workers discourages them and put a lot of pressure on them to seek alternatives to banking jobs.

It is against this background that this study is set to assess the various banking sector reforms and its implication on employment prospects of Business Education undergraduates in Nigerian universities.

 1.2      Statement of the Problem

Bank mergers and acquisition have significant impact on graduate unemployment.  The extent of graduate unemployment in Nigeria is not justified by the available financial statistics on the phenomenon. This is because of the nature of graduate unemployment in the country where many job seekers do not see the need for registration as unemployed, due to expression of futility in such exercises. This enhances a sharp disparity between the official statistics on the phenomenon and the reality on ground.

The wrong impression of students about the place of Business education also accounts for the deteriorating state of unemployment in Nigeria. There is an enduring societal biased attitude currently rising against mass sacking of bank workers. A large number of parents are discouraging their wards to have ambition in banking jobs but rather, in government jobs.  That is why instead of providing jobs for others, the graduate unemployed persons keep depending  on the government and the non– banking private sector for job offers. However, studies have not been conducted on the connection between bank mergers-acquisition and its effect on students’ career aspirations in the banking sector.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

            The main objective of this study is to assess the series of banking sector reforms; bank mergers and acquisitions, and their attendant effects on students’ career aspirations in the banking sector.

            The specific objectives of the study are to:

  1.  Examine the various roles played by banking reforms in the development of the Nigerian financial system.
  2.  Discuss the influence of these various banking reforms on bank mergers and acquisition
  3.  Determine whether bank mergers and acquisition have significant effect on graduate unemployment
  4. Asses the prospects and challenges which bank mergers and acquisition have on university students’ career aspirations in the banking sector.
  5. Examine whether the merged banks improved in recruiting graduates of business education programme.
  6.  Examine whether merger and acquisition of banks in Nigeria has affected the view of students’ with career aspirations in working in the banking sector after graduation

1.4       Research Questions

  1.   What roles do bank reforms have on bank mergers and acquisition?
  2.  To what extent do the requirements of the merged banks affect the skills acquired by university students’ career aspirations in the banking sector in Nigeria?
  3.   Would bank mergers and acquisition have significant effect on graduate unemployment?
  4.  Would there be any connection between bank mergers-acquisition and students’ career aspirations in the banking sector?
  5.  Has the merged banks improved in recruiting graduates of business education programme?
  6.    Has the merger and acquisition of banks in Nigeria affected the view of students’ with career aspirations in the banking sector?

1.5 Hypothesis

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1.6       Significance of the Study

The entire banking reforms that have been going on in the history of Nigeria since 1952 are of importance to the economic development of the country. The results or outcomes of this study would be of great significance to the banking sector generally and banks that have undergone mergers and acquisition in particular.

The study of this nature handles the contemporary issues affecting graduate unemployment in Nigeria especially in the banking sector. As such, the results would assist the lecturers, policy makers and curriculum planners in Nigeria to design a resilient and entrepreneurial curriculum to absorb the growing number of business education graduates into the workforce.

This study assist not only in identifying the necessary requirement for bank mergers and acquisition, but will also help the bank in adjusting input, in terms of manpower, computers, training, etc, and output, in terms of various products of the banks to enhance revenue.

The recommendations of this study would help the National University Commission and the various Universities offering business education programmes to modify the curriculum and enhance the capacity of the students for them to fit into the modern demands of the banking sector.

Finally, the study would serve as a landmark reference to researchers who may wish to carry out researches on this topic from different perspectives as well as being and addition to knowledge.

1.7             Scope of the Study

This study is on the effects of merger-acquisition in banking industry on students’ career aspiration in the banking sector using some students offering Business Education at Tai Solarin University of Education as case study. It is tedious to consider all consolidated banks hence the emphasis is based on five consolidated banks.

Given the long history of banking reforms in Nigeria and its attendant effect on career aspiration of business education students which is the central focus of this research, the study is covering twelve (12) years period, 2000 to 2012.

Definition of Terms

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1.1 Background to the Study

1.2 Statement of the Study

1.3 Purpose of the Study

1.4 Research Question

1.5 Research Hypotheses

1.6 Significance of the Study

1.7 Scope of the Study

1.8 Limitations of the Study

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms



2.1       Theoretical framework

2.2       The Concept of Mergers and Acquisitions

2.3       Consequences of Bank Mergers-Acquisition on Downsizing and Career Aspirations

of Business Education Students

2.4       Business Education in Nigeria

2.5       Banking Reforms and Curriculum of Business Education

2.6       Bank Mergers-Acquisition and Graduate Unemployment among Business


2.7       Effects of Merger-Acquisition on Career Aspirations of Business Education


2.8       Appraisal of Literature



3.1 Research Design

3.2 Population of the Study

3.3 Sample and Sampling Procedure

3.4 Instrument of Data Collection

3.5 Procedure of Administration

3.6 Method of Data Analysis



4.1 Answers to Research Hypotheses

4.2 Discussion of Findings



5.1 Summary

5.2 Conclusion

5.3 Recommendation



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The Influence of Environmental Factors on Choice of Career among Secondary School Students in Nigeria


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