Nova Scotia College of Medical Laboratory Technologists

Supervision & Control

The Medical Laboratory Technology Act prohibits the performance of medical laboratory technology tasks by an unlicensed healthcare professional, except where it is carried out under the supervision and control of a Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT), as set out in the regulations. The supervising MLT is defined as the MLT that is being assisted and supported.

In addition to requiring the supervision and control of a medical laboratory technologist, the Regulations limit the tasks which can be performed to those which involve:

  • Data entry and procurement/receipt
  • Specimen processing
  • Performance of pre- analytical procedures that do not involve any analysis or the use of scientific knowledge
  • Preparation of reagents for medical laboratory testing

Such unlicensed healthcare professionals must follow quality assurance policies and procedures, in accordance with established laboratory standards as set out in theregulations.

The Regulations further require that in addition to being under the supervision and control of a medical laboratory technologist, such unlicensed healthcare professional must also carry out this work while supporting and assisting a member of the college. The member of the college being supported and assisted therefore has a responsibility to ensure the tasks being carried out are in accordance with required laboratory standards and procedures.

It will be up to the supervising MLT to determine the level of supervision and control required in each circumstance, and this may vary according to the specific task, the circumstances under which the task will be performed, and the knowledge, skill, and judgment of the person performing it. At no time should unlicensed healthcare professional be performing tasks outside of those listed above.

While there is an element of professional discretion in the Supervision and Control of an unlicensed healthcare professional, at a minimum, the MLT must:

  • ensure the work assigned to a unlicensed healthcare professional is only the work outlined in NSCMLT regulations 11a and 11b
  • allow the unlicensed healthcare professional to perform tasks only to support and assist the MLT. The ultimate responsibility for the work will be the MLTs
  • ensure that the task(s) assigned to the unlicensed healthcare professional is in accordance with that persons competence
  • ensures there is a mechanism in place to determine ongoing competence of the unlicensed healthcare professional
  • direct the task of the unlicensed healthcare professional
  • monitor the performance of the unlicensed healthcare professional, including direct observation if deemed necessary by the licensed MLT
  • be readily accessible in case of difficulty or needed intervention
  • remain aware of tasks being performed by the unlicensed healthcare professional
  • intervene when there is a concern about the unlicensed healthcare professional performance
  • remove work from any unlicensed healthcare professional who they determine is not competent to perform the work

A licensed MLT shall not permit an unlicensed healthcare professional to

  • perform analysis on specimens
  • Use scientific knowledge as a basis for the interpretation of specimen results
  • Follow total quality management procedures
  • Interpret quality-control data to verify the accuracy and precision of test results for use by health care practitioners in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.

The supervising MLT is responsible for the quality and accuracy of all laboratory tasks to provide accurate patient results to ensure patient safety

Date: March 2015, September 2019

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