Three Semester-Program Ensures Speedy Entry Into the Medical Laboratory Technician Field

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    Feb 07, 2014
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Three Semester-Program Ensures Speedy Entry Into the Medical Laboratory Technician Field Photo by Jason White

While there are a range of Medical Laboratory Technician programs offered by post-secondary institutions in Ontario, only one can claim to be facilitated from the province’s first community college. That is Centennial College’s three-semester, Ontario College Certificate program.

As indicated by its length, this Medical Laboratory Technician program is designed to get students into the field in a short period of time while teaching them a wide range of topics essential to success. Here is a look at a few of them.

Clinical Laboratory Techniques: The laboratory environment must be safe. As such, students explore general safety measures, employee safety, housekeeping safety, proper body mechanics, office security and measures to ensure a clean and comfortable environment. Additional safety issues — handling, storage, and disposal of biological hazards, bloodborne pathogens, and drug samples in accordance with institutional policies and government regulations — are also explored.

Specimen Collection and Processing: A major part of the job of a Medical Lab Technician is the collection of blood, urine and fecal specimens. Students learn how to process specimens for the various tests and study the importance of storage to ensure valid test results. As a practical component, students have opportunities to perform ECGs and set-up Holter monitors. Legal and ethical issues pertaining to specimen collection and processing round out the course.

Practical Haematology & Immunohaematology: Formed elements of blood, and the routine tests in haematology and blood bank departments are covered. Not only do students learn underlying principles but also become familiar with the use and care of the equipment found in the haematology and blood bank departments. Students have the opportunity to prepare and stain a peripheral blood film and examine it for proper staining.

Practical Microbiology, Cytology & Histology: Students learn about common media used in a microbiology laboratory including preparation, autoclaving and dispensing; handling specimens using aseptic technique; inoculating specimens using the proper media and incubation conditions; and performing common stain techniques and examining them for proper staining.

Clinical Internship: Despite the short length of the offering, students get to complete a real world experience prior to graduation. Taking up the entire third semester, this course allows students to apply theoretical knowledge in a clinical practice setting under the direction of a medical laboratory assistant. The course is focused on allowing for easy transition into the workplace environment. Students are given the opportunity to become proficient at specimen collection and handling, and being able to function as an effective member of a medical laboratory team.

After successfully completing each Medical Laboratory Technician course, graduates are equipped for careers in areas as varied as phlebotomy, performing ECGs and Holter monitoring, specimen processing, and assisting in clinical or veterinary labs, physicians’ offices, private and public health labs, research labs and diagnostic supply companies.

Author's Profile

Klaudia penned their piece about the Medical Lab Technician program at Centennial College. It is focused on teaching students the practical skills they need to be employable after graduation through hands-on application and an internship.

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