If you are one of the nation’s 335,700 lab technicians, you know that the work is hectic and sometimes crazy. Whether you’re employed by a research laboratory, pharmacy, or doctor’s office, you always have something to be doing. As a result, it can be easy for lab samples or medications to get misplaced — they’re never lost, because you know you placed them in your lab freezer or medical grade refrigerator, but the time it takes to locate specimens can sometimes drag on; before you know it, your fingers are frozen to the bone and you’ve lost precious minutes you could’ve spent working.
Since efficiency is vital in such an environment (after all, you’ve got patients or other health professionals waiting on your efforts), organization is the best way to combat any confusion. In this two-part series, we’re going to be outlining six ways to effectively manage and store your laboratory’s refrigerated and frozen items in their respective medical refrigerators and medical freezers. Let’s get started.
- Document experiments multiple times: Information is the most useful thing in the world to a lab technician. Whenever you start a new experiment, or move or change a medication or sample, make sure you’re noting what you’ve done. By relying on a Master List, you can keep track of everything collected and performed during the process.
- Label everything: Anything unlabeled is lost — the risk of mistaking one vial for another is too high to continue with your work, so many scientists mark their specimens with words, names, and symbols. It doesn’t matter what your system is (unless other professionals are using it as well) as long as it works for you. However, you need to be considerate of the amount of space you have to work with: test tubes are quite small, to make sure your system can fit on their limited surface area.
When it comes to lab freezers and lab refrigerators, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Though the odds of tainting an experiment are slim, it does happen; take all the necessary precautions and be sure to organize your lab freezers as best as possible to reduce your chances of making a mistake.