Medical Technologist – Microbiology/Immunology
Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration
Summary This position is eligible for the Education Debt Reduction Program (EDRP), a student loan payment reimbursement program. You must meet specific individual eligibility requirements in accordance with VHA policy and submit your EDRP application within four months of appointment. Approval, award amount (up to $200,000) and eligibility period (one to five years) are determined by the VHA Education Loan Repayment Services program office after complete review of the EDRP application. Responsibilities The position is located in the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Program at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. The incumbent serves as the Medical Technologist in the Immunopathology and Microbiology Section of the clinical laboratory. The procedures may include immunological methodologies, microbiological methodologies, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for many infectious agents. The Medical Technologist performs technical and non-technical duties in accordance with the CAP/JCAHO regulatory agencies. Duties and responsibilities include but not limited to: Responsible for performing a wide range of routine and specialized immunological, microbiological, and molecular test procedures with minimal on-site supervision. The methodologies range from basic screening tests to complex procedures that require specialized training. Duties include, but are not limited to, specimen collection, processing specimens from a variety of sources, culture workups, electrophoresis, particle agglutination, immunoassays, organism isolation and identification techniques, gram and other staining procedures, biochemical reactions, rate nephelometry, immunofluorescence, antimicrobial susceptibilities, and serological grouping procedures, and all other duties as assigned. Responsible for pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical steps, which include the checking for pending specimens, monitoring and ordering of reagents and supplies, preparing reagents prior to analysis, and assessing the integrity of each specimen before, during, and after analysis. Verifies the functions of the analyzers, biochemicals, media, and all equipment throughout the testing of patient specimens. The Medical Technologist is responsible for all routine equipment maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of instrument problems with the manufacturers technical service. Maintains an inventory of reagents and supplies, recognizes and reacts to indicators of instrument malfunction, implements and documents corrective action, and effectively communicates status of instruments/testing procedures to fellow coworkers and supervisor. Performs daily, weekly, and monthly quality control to assure that all media, biochemical, reagents, equipment, and temperatures are within recommended guidelines. Identifies quality control variations and initiates corrective action to correct the problem. Documents all quality control activities and maintains accurate records in compliance with accrediting agencies. Obtains, interprets, and verifies all analytical data in order to report their preliminary/final findings as required. Reviews and correlates data to verify validity and accuracy of the findings and accurately verifies laboratory test results using the laboratory data processing software. It is imperative that he/she screen all test results to detect discrepancies, artifacts, or possible contamination that may require additional testing. Initiates additional testing as necessary. Identifies all unusual findings, discrepancies, and critical results and brings them to the attention of the QA technologist/supervisor. Communicates such findings to the appropriate clinician as required. Performs additional testing as may be required to ensure that a high level of confidence is achieved. Participates in the evaluation of new products such as instrumentation, reagents, media, methodologies, kits, and miscellaneous items. Evaluates and initiates new tests/methodologies with respect to precision, accuracy, and linearity. Conducts studies to establish reference values, expected results, and verifies reportable ranges. Keeps current with the latest developments in the field through journals, publications, professional meetings, training, etc. Assists in the training of new employees, Pathology Residents, Clinicians, and other personnel on the theoretical and practical aspects of test performance. This may include, but is not limited to, procedures, instrument function, quality control, expected results, microscopy issues, quality management, and reporting of test results. Participates in the established quality management program. Performs daily reviews of accession area short sheets for both automated and manual testing. Other QA/QM duties include participation in inventory management, quality control, environment of care activities, proficiency testing, etc. Work Schedule: 5 days/week, 8 hours/day and includes rotating weekend and holidays. Note: Position may include permanent or rotating assignments to the evening or night shifts. Telework: Not available Virtual: This is not a virtual position. Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Authorized EDRP Authorized: Contact VHAVISN04HREDRP@va.gov, the EDRP Coordinator for questions/assistance. Learn more Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not authorized Financial Disclosure Report: Not required Requirements Conditions of Employment You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job. All applicants tentatively selected for VA employment in a testing designated position are subject to urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment. Applicants who refuse to be tested will be denied employment with VA. Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959. Must be proficient in written and spoken English. You may be required to serve a probationary period. Subject to background/security investigation. Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process. Participation in the seasonal influenza vaccination program is a requirement for all Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Personnel (HCP). Participation in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination program is a requirement for all Veterans Health Administration Health Care Personnel (HCP) – See “Additional Information” below for details. Qualifications Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met. Basic Requirements: United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy. Education and/or Experience Combination: (1) A bachelors degree or higher from an accredited college or university in medical laboratory science, medical technology, clinical laboratory science or in a related science (e.g., laboratory sciences such as chemistry, biochemistry, biology, microbiology, immunology, etc.). AND completion of a medical technology clinical practice program. Clinical practice programs completed after 1974 must have been accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP, formerly CAHEA), or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). The professional curriculum may have consisted of a post-baccalaureate certificate program or be integrated into a four year program of study that culminated in a baccalaureate degree. OR, (2) A bachelors degree from an accredited college/university, including 16 semester hours of biological science (with one course in microbiology), 16 semester hours of chemistry (with one course in organic or biochemistry) and one course in mathematics, AND two years of post-certification clinical laboratory experience (e.g., blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology, immunology, clinical microscopy, etc.) within the last ten years as a certified Medical Laboratory Technician by the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification (ASCP-BOC), American Society of Clinical Pathology Board of Registry (ASCP-BOR) or American Medical Technologists (AMT). This experience must include performing moderate and/or high complexity testing in blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology immunology and clinical microscopy (or categorical experience which matches categorical certification) in a clinical laboratory. OR, (3) A bachelors degree from an accredited college/university, including 16 semester hours of biological science (with one course in microbiology), 16 semester hours of chemistry (with one course in organic or biochemistry) and one course in mathematics, AND five years of clinical laboratory experience within the last ten years performing moderate and/or high complexity testing in blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology, immunology and clinical microscopy (or categorical experience which matches categorical certification) in a clinical laboratory. Foreign Graduates. Graduates of foreign baccalaureate degree programs meet the educational and/or experience requirements if the degree is found to be equivalent to degree programs recognized by the NAACLS or clinical laboratory experience as described in paragraph 2b(2) or (3) above. This finding may be based on either of the following: (1) A letter from a college or university with a baccalaureate program recognized by the NAACLS stating that the individuals foreign degree has been evaluated and been found to be equivalent to its bachelor of medical technology degree. (2) A letter from ASCP-BOC or AMT stating that the individual is eligible for the certification examination. Certification: Candidates must have either (1) or (2) below: (1) Candidates must currently possess the appropriate certification as a MT, MLS, or CLS given by the ASCP-BOC, ASCP-BOR, or AMT. (2) For positions up to the full performance level, candidates must currently possess the categorical or specialist technologist level certification from the certification agencies listed above, such as, but not limited to, chemistry (C/SC), hematology (H/SH), microbiology (M/SM), molecular biology (MB/SMB) and blood bank (BB/SBB). Technologists with categorical or specialist certifications may only perform duties within the area of the laboratory specific to their categorical certification (e. g., an individual with a chemistry (C) certification can only perform duties in chemistry). Exception. Non-certified applicants who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements for certification may be given a temporary appointment up to the full performance level not to exceed one year as a graduate medical technologist under the authority of 38 U.S.C. § 7405(c)(2)(B). This appointment may not be extended. For grade levels above the full performance level, the candidate must be certified in accordance with paragraph 2d(1) above. English Language Proficiency: Must be proficient in spoken and written English. May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria). Grade Determinations: GS-7 (Entry Level) (a) Experience. None beyond the basic requirements. GS-9 (Full Performance Level) (a) Experience. Must have 1 year of creditable experience equivalent to the next lower grade level, which is directly related to the position to be filled. OR, (b) Education. Must have Masters degree or 2 academic years of progressively higher-level graduate education in medical technology or directly related field. (c) Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities. In addition to the experience or education above, the candidate must demonstrate the following KSAs: 1. Comprehensive knowledge of professional MT principles, practices, concepts and theories providing for sound independent work. 2. Comprehensive knowledge of laboratory quality control and assurance procedures and principles of performance improvement in order to manage reagent and supply inventories and document control systems. 3. Knowledge of laboratory equipment and ability to maintain, troubleshoot and repair instrumentation. 4. Ability to plan, organize, set priorities, work as a team member and effectively complete assignments. 5. Ability to use independent technical judgment to analyze and interpret laboratory results. 6. Ability to read, interpret and apply complex written instructions. 7. Skilled in informatics, laboratory data flow and the understanding of laboratory processes. 8. Ability to communicate, consult and interact with other members of the healthcare team, external relations, customer service and patient education References: VA Handbook 5005/72, Part II, Appendix G24 dated May 12, 2014. The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-09. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-07 to GS-09. Physical Requirements: See VA Directive and Handbook 5019. Education IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education. Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/. If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit: https://sites.ed.gov/international/recognition-of-foreign-qualifications/. Additional Information Receiving Service Credit or Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee. Selected applicants may qualify for credit toward annual leave accrual, based on prior work experience or military service experience. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed. This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies. This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status. VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health-related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority. Pursuant to VHA Directive 1193.01, VHA health care personnel (HCP) are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 subject to such accommodations as required by law (i.e., medical, religious or pregnancy). VHA HCPs do not include remote workers who only infrequently enter VHA locations. If selected, you will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination before your start date. The agency will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation will be needed and how you can request a legally required accommodation from this requirement using the reasonable accommodation process. If you are unable to apply online or need an alternate method to submit documents, please reach out to the Agency Contact listed in this Job Opportunity Announcement.