For the past 25 years, Amira Hussieny, ASCP(MLSi)CM, has been a clinical laboratory scientist in Egypt. Currently a laboratory area manager for El Barka Lab in Cairo, Egypt, Ms. Hussieny has been a pioneer for young women in the Middle East, and is a member of several international organizations and in Egypt, including the Egyptian Society of Clinical Chemistry, Egyptian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Egyptian Society for Quality that focus on laboratory professionals, as well as other organizations that focus on women’s rights. Ms. Hussieny was Head of the Division of Medical Laboratory Sciences Division in the Council of the Syndicate at the Egyptian Health Ministry, and has published several papers in AJCP. In 2014, Ms. Hussieny was the first woman in Asia to become ASCP certified, a milestone moment both for her career and for her personally.
Critical Values spoke with Ms. Hussieny about her work as a medical laboratory scientist, and her advice to others who want to advance to leadership positions.
What inspired you to become a medical laboratory scientist?
Medical laboratory scientists provide clues that are key in the diagnosis and treatment of disease or injury, and we are the detectives of the health care world. Though we spend less time with patients than physicians and nurses, laboratory scientists are just as dedicated to patient health.
We analyze body fluids and tissues for proper diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For example, a medical lab scientist might look at tissue under a microscope to spot cancer cells or other abnormalities. They might also ensure blood types match prior to transfusions or test urine samples for drugs.
Working as medical laboratory scientist it is not a routine job. There are always new cases, new knowledge, new challenges. It is a great feeling when you can guide the doctors to discover what is inside the dark box (human body).
Why was it important for you to pursue leadership positions in the laboratory?
It’s not common for a woman to be in a leadership role in Egypt. And it can be uncomfortable when you step into a leadership role as a woman. But I believed I had to be a vision for other women and empower them. My natural personality is that of a leader, and I wanted to show other women that it’s not only men who can be leaders, and help develop women’s interest in becoming leaders.
Why is it important to educate yourself for a leadership position, and what recommendations would you give to others who want to move into a leadership position?
Self-management skills will absolutely improve your leadership skills and also lay the foundation to improve social awareness and relationship management skills. I find that giving myself time to recharge and reflect on my self-leadership has paid dividends, as I am now a in a leadership role for a large laboratory system with 30 branches in my country. If you want to be in a laboratory leadership position, you have to work on yourself and your skills.
What advice would you give to other women in the laboratory who want to take on a leadership role?
First, you should like the career—it’s not an easy one.
Understand the different rules inside the laboratory, as you will manage multiple different units. You need to have good problem solving and troubleshooting skills. Educate yourself and take courses and achieve certificates that will help you serve in your leadership role.