Four Qualities of a Great Remote Cytogenetics Technologist
Ask any cytogenetic technologist that has been in the field a while what their ideal work environment is and they will tell you “working from home”. In our digital age this has never been a more feasible reality. However, as we have discovered, not everyone is well suited for the virtual environment. Below you will find the four key qualities in a great remote cytogenetic technologist.
Perhaps one of the most important qualities is the level of experience. Technologist must be experienced enough to be able to work through complex abnormalities with little to no assistance. As a supervisor/manager, you want to feel assured that your remote tech will accurately analyze all types of cases. Which means you want to look for technologist’s with over seven years of experience in the field, post certification.
Evaluate your technologists experience level by challenging them with an assessment test. At VSI we use the CAP format for evaluation (5 cases with 5 cells, two band limit). Choose cases with less commonly seen abnormalities. Test if they can correlate the indication with the abnormality. Predetermine the pass/fail score.
If you are considering a remote program you are either experiencing higher than normal volumes or a shortage of technologists. Either way, you need to ensure that the time you invest in finding the ideal technologist is going to result in cases completed.
When thinking about productivity you want to make sure that you are not just looking at volume. A highly productive technologists will give you a higher than average number of cases with high accuracy. You don’t want to correct a large number of errors.
Reliability and Motivation
As we have found in over 11 years of hiring remote technologists, you must make sure that your remote tech is reliable. Working from home seems like a dream come true for many individuals, but most of them seem to find it difficult to concentrate on work related activities.
Establish ground rules on daily expectations (schedule, number of cases etc.) and communicate those to your technologist. Providing structure to your remote tech increases their motivation and lessens distractions.
I can guarantee you that there will be computer and network issues between your site and the remote technologist. Many times, your technologist will have to work with the IT department to resolve the issues.
Remote technologist must have the ability to understand above average computer and networking concepts. They must be able to perform tasks as instructed by the IT personnel with ease. Too much “down” time will cost you productivity and TAT. You can work with IT to help you design an assessment that will determine their IT troubleshooting skills.
Depending on your laboratory situation, you may have additional qualities you would like to have in a remote technologist. These are just a few (but very important) qualities. Take your time in developing a program so that you have a structure to fall back on when things go wrong (and they will).