Roles within SNP
Pathologists are the interface between medical science and
clinical practice and they frequently interact with both areas.
Pathologists often find themselves applying the knowledge gained
from recent developments in medical research to real-life
situations. They have undertaken many years of training and have a
medical degree followed by substantial post graduate specialist
qualifications. They have high-level skills in investigating
diseases and interpreting test results. Part of the job is to use
their professional judgement to advise GPs and medical specialists
about the test results and their implications for diagnosis and
treatment. Many pathologists are clinicians and have their own
consultancies treating patients; many are involved in research
Clinical testing generally follows a hierarchical system of
review, with scientists and laboratory technicians conducting basic
tests, abnormal results being put to a senior scientist for review,
and ultimately to the pathologist for interpretation.
The laboratory manager must have the right combination of people
skills, business knowledge, and technical experience to coordinate
the work of the various laboratory personnel. Their days are varied
and challenging. They appoint employees, prepare budgets, organise
work schedules, and order laboratory supplies and equipment. The
laboratory manager ensures that quality control systems are
effective and works with the pathologist to make sure that the
quality of work conducted in the laboratory meets the highest
The scientist and senior scientist have tertiary bachelor degrees
in science and often post graduate qualifications in a particular
specialist area. They need to be conversant with a wide body of
knowledge relating to their area of specialty.
They are continually called upon to use their judgement in
interpreting test results while performing tests and managing
quality control programs.
Like scientists, laboratory technicians have tertiary
qualifications, usually an associate diploma. These are
professionals who choose to work at "the bench" experiencing the
"hands-on" technical work that is performed on a daily basis. They
need to be natural enquirers and have a passion for science.
Monitoring quality control programs in the laboratory is an
important part of the job.
Based in the many suburban and hospital-based collection centres,
these professionals are the shop front of SNP. A collector has to
be technically competent and reliable but also be able to put
patients at ease and be compassionate. Their job is to take blood
from patients, take delivery of samples and process them ready to
be picked up by couriers. All staff undertake comprehensive
The Patient Services Support Centre provides telephone support for
collection staff. It also assists patients with information on
opening hours, pre-collection preparation for certain tests, centre
locations, patient account queries and general enquiries.
Laboratory assistants are job-trained to support the scientists
and technicians. They prepare specimens for analysis and set up
tests which the scientists and technicians later review and
interpret. Because today's laboratories are highly computerised,
the laboratory technician or assistant must be a trouble-shooter
who knows how the equipment works. They need an up-to-date
knowledge of a wide range of tests.
SNP runs a fleet of courier cars servicing doctors' rooms,
hospitals and collection centres. They pick up specimens and
deliver reports and supplies. Couriers can be either on the road
driving the distinctive white, blue and red cars, or on foot
delivering reports and collecting samples in a hospital or medical
The Transport Section coordinates the delivery of goods to and
from the warehouses. This section also coordinates the commercial
courier (air and road) network across the states and regions
ensuring specimens from far away places reach the lab safely for