Medical clinical technologists perform special examinations and assist with corrective treatment for patients. Their work brings them in direct and close contact with their patients.
Clinical technologists are concerned with the whole body and the functioning of the organs. They use specialised procedures and sophisticated apparatus for the diagnosis and treatment of disease as the result of physical malfunction. These procedures involve the operation of sophisticated electronic equipment as well as the interpretation of the results. Clinical technologists usually work with a doctor or specialist.
They can be employed in one of the following fields:
Cardiology is the study of the heart, including the heart vascular system. A clinical technologist uses specialised apparatus to diagnose different heart diseases.
Nephrology deals with the kidneys and their treatment. Here the technologist’s basic function is to operate the “kidney machines”. This process, called dialysis, involves the treatment of patients suffering from kidney failure. Here, the emphasis falls on therapy.
Neurophysiology involves the study of the nervous system. A technologist in neurophysiology is primarily concerned with diagnosing problems of the central and peripheral nervous systems. This includes the examination of patients with cerebral palsy, epilepsy or problems arising from head injuries, psychiatric disorders and various other neurological conditions.
Pulmonology is the study of the respiratory system and the functioning of the lungs. The technologist’s main concern is to assist doctors in the diagnosis of lung diseases with the aid of sophisticated electronic equipment. The patient is subjected to tests. Clinical technologists diagnose conditions such as asthma, emphysema and post-operative complications.
Cardiovascular perfusion involves assisting in the operating theatre during open-heart surgery. In intensive care, the clinical technologist assists the anaesthetist and the critical care doctor with the safe use of life-saving equipment on patients in different critical care situations.
Reproductive biology is a service to infertile couples with a view to diagnosing their problem and suggesting treatment that may lead to pregnancy. There is a strong laboratory component involved, but it is important that there should be close cooperation between patient and the clinical technologist.
Clinical technologists work in clean, neat, modern, well-equipped laboratories, theatres and units. They may be required to work overtime, for instance when a patient needs treatment after hours or when there is an emergency.
Diploma: N.Dip: Clinical Technology / Biomedical Science - CUT, DUT, TUT, VUT, UJ. MTech and DTech at TUT.
The duration of the course is four years. The course consists of theoretical training at a university of technology and in-service training at approved training units. After completing the first year, prospective candidates must obtain a permanent job, paid or unpaid, at a registered training unit before commencing the second year. The fourth year is a clinical internship year where-after the person can register at the HPCSA (Health Professions Council).
Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is mandatory for this occupation. Consult the HPCSA website for the most up-to-date information relating to accredited qualifications and registration requirements.
South African Society of Clinical Technologists
Private Bag X 5
Red Cross Children’s Hospital
Tel: 072 343 8390
Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
(553) of Hamilton and
Tel: (012) 338-9300