Education is at the core of our mission statement in the Laboratory Medicine Program. As an academic laboratory we not only have an obligation to teach the future laboratory medicine experts, but it is also something we enjoy and take pride in. We always have rotating medical fellows and residents working in our labs from across the country, but we also invest in teaching the next wave of medical laboratory technologists and assistants (MLTs/MLAs) who will be working on the bench and working for our patients from inside our laboratory.
According to Chris Cursio, our manager of Point-of-Care and our Clinical Coordinator of the MLT/MLA Student Training Program, we value our education and training program because “they are the future laboratorians!”
UHN LMP is a designated site to provide clinical placement for MLT and MLA students in Ontario just like many other hospitals/laboratories, and we have been training students since the 1970s. For the 2014 cohort, LMP is hosting six MLT students: from from the Michener Institute and two UOIT students, we will also provide upcoming placements for four MLA students: two from St. Lawrence College and two from Centennial College
The Michener MLT students stay with us for 5 months, UOIT students for 8 months. and the MLA students are with us for 5-6 weeks.
While every program is a little different, the students from UOIT students complete an official clinical project with us under the direction of their Clinical Instructor with mentoring from our Charge/Senior Technologists, Supervisors and Medical staff. The projects vary every year, but an example might be the evaluation/validation of a new rapid malaria screening kit.
According to Abby Tan, an MLT student from UOIT (University of Ontario Institute of Technology), she chose UHN LMP because “the opportunity to do my placement in such an enriching environment would be priceless since being able to learn first-hand from the laboratory medicine team will allow me to practice and improve on my skills as well as experience life as an MLT in-training.”
Christa Axworthy, from the Michener Institute chose UHN LMP because she wanted experience working in a large hospital and heard great things from previous students who did their placements in our labs. Another student Sarah Andrews, from the Michener has previous experience in research labs both at Health Canada and the University of Ottawa and has been looking forward to getting experience working in clinical labs.
Patrick Olal, from the Michener has a similar background to Sarah. He says that “I got into laboratory medicine due to some experience doing HIV immunology work in Uganda and was fascinated with the work technologist’s did and how the test results helped in diagnosing, treating and monitoring patients. Giving good quality results in a timely manner that ultimately helps a patient has a certain good feel to it. I wanted to be part of it even with minimal patient contact.”
Katie Buck, from the Michener Institute understands that “laboratory medicine allows you to have a huge impact in patient care and diagnosis. Lab medicine also gives one the opportunity to develop a broad range of technical laboratory skills while still having the opportunity to specialize in the future.”
Chris Cursio believes that “it takes a village to raise these future laboratorians and when our students come to us for clinical placement, it gives them a chance to learn in a realistic environment.”