Ask @MedLabMaven:

Krista
Latest answers

Hi Krista! I saw this program at fanshawe college called "Chemical Laboratory Technology- Science Laboratory" in London, ON my hometown and although it is not medical science laboratory program, it seems really similar and wonder if I can still do this program and become and MLT with the program?

No you have to go through an MLT program.

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Hi Krista. I have graduated from a two-year lab course (bioscience technology) in Canada but am running into a bit of a lag in finding jobs in my province. I'm beginning an MLA program shortly. With experience as MLA, do you think I could challenge the MLT exam in a couple years?

Unfortunately no. You have to go through a MLT program to write the exam. There is no other way.

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Hello, Krista! What your doing is so helpful, thank you so much. I was just wondering if the only disciplines included in the exam are clinical chemistry, microbiology, hematology, histotechnology, and transfusion science? So Clinical Microscopy and Immuno-Sero are not included?

Those would be included under various branches (Ie. Urine microscopy is in Chem and Diffs in Hematology). Immuno-Sero would be in Clinical Chem and Microbiology

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Hello Krista! Does the CSMLS exam consist of 5 areas only (Blood Bank, Hema, Clinical Chemistry, Histotech, and Micro)? Thank you.

Those are the core areas but there is also Safety, Professionalism, QC etc. Check the exam blueprint on the CSMLS website.

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Hey thanks so much for your blog about medlab at michener its been a huge help! just had a quick ques. about program is the clinical chem class comparable to what uni intro chem is like or much easier @ michener? and after grad how many of your peers secured a job be it casual or FT?

It's very different from University Chemistry. Much more applied and more in terms of how it works within the body.

Also I think everyone had some sort of job after graduation.

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also when doing placements did michener have you situated at just one hospital for the entire 6 months or were you placed at diff. hospitals and also were placements based strictly on grades or was it lottery system how did you guys select which hospital you wanted to do your placement at? Thanks:)

Placements were lottery system based on what was made available for that year. They try to place you at just one lab but sometimes it's not possible with what they have available. I was at Gamma Dynacare and The Ottawa Hospital.

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Hello Krista! I just wanted to ask how it is being a practicing MLS in Canada? Like is it being a generalist or a specialist in one area?

I'm not super familiar with all the US terms but we are trained in 5 disciplines and can practice in all. You don't really become a "generalist" or "specialist" except through training. Most labs you are hired to work in a certain department if the lab is big enough (which most are) or you are in core lab (Chem, Heme and Transfusion usually)

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Do you need to have a Strong background in math?

Definitely need to have some math abilities to calculate out some formulas but don't need calculus or anything :)

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Hi Krista! Do you remember what high school average most of your classmates had to get into Michener for MLT? I am worried my high school average of 79% wont be competitive enough. I'm in the process of completing my BSc at UofT. Also would they mind if I upgraded my high school marks?

You should definitely upgrade your highschool marks. I think you can do it for free/cheap through SLC.org but I would say most of my class had at least an 85% in high school and I know it's become more competitive in the last few years.

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Hi Krista, happy to have your advice! My question's a little silly. I've devoted lots of time + effort to getting medlab prereqs in AB Canada, but I still cannot fathom handling needles. How often does a typical tech have to poke patients? That is the greatest issue for me with needles.

Depends where you work but most likely never. You'll have to do it in school to be trained as its part of your competency as a tech but as long as you don't work in a very rural hospital/lab you should be ok!

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Hi Krista, Thank you for everything you do.What are possible career advancement venues for MLT and how to approach them?Is a BSc in MLS is a must after the MLT diploma?thanks

If you want to advance having a B.Sc, especially in Canada in important. Most new techs now have a BSc so you'll need it to be competitive in the future. I would say it's something you can get while working in the first few years as a tech though!

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Thanks for blogging about med lab and answering questions from us outsiders! I read that MLTs eligible for retirement will be in high numbers (i.e. lots of vacancies in near future). Is that true from where you have worked/heard? And with you getting FT positions right after grad - is that typical?

Yes. I took over a retirement myself and we just had one person retire. I would say it's not exactly typical to get FT immediately after grad but it's definitely not as rare and uncommon as some people think.

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I love your blog! It's so inspiring to follow your MLT journey. When did you realize where you currently work is your "dream lab" as you say? I will be going on placement and I hope I like it there, but how do you know where you will fit the best in terms of hospital vs. private vs. other labs?

I think a "dream lab" is something you might always have in mind but it doesn't always mean it's the best for you. I thought it was my dream lab at first but I'm now realizing I might fit better elsewhere down the line! You have to make the best of your opportunities and learn.

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Hello Krista,I'm asian and want to work abroad Is it easy to apply my work as Medical Laboratory Scientist? Or are there many qualification need to be done? What are some tips you can say? Please reply. Thanks

I'm not really sure how the requirements to work abroad as it depends on the country! I would say to look into the regulations on where you'd like to work.

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I'm curious about medical lab scientist salary, how much you get paid in your working hours? I'm planning to be medlabsci. I need to know..

It depends on where you are looking to work. Wages in Canada range from $25 - $35/hr across provinces.

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Hello, Krista! I plan to write the CSMLS exam next year. Is it advisable if I read textbooks then eventually proceed to notes and test question bank?

Are you in class right now? I would go over your notes that you have from school and use the textbooks to supplement. I'm not sure what types of question banks you'd be using since the CSMLS doesn't have any but I would save those until the end to see how ready you are.

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Hi, Krista! Do you know of any good books written by a medical lab professional? Not textbooks, but more so the type to read for enjoyment. I find a lot written by physicians, but haven't found any for MLS/MLTs. Just curious if you would know of any!

The only book I've come across is Echoes in the Hall - Recollections of New Brunswick Medical Laboratory Technologists. http://echoesinthehall.com/

If you find any others, let me know! I'd love to check them out.

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how do you retain so much information from the program? What are your memorization techniques

First I like to make my own study sheets to collect the important information and things I need to memorize. You can't memorize every part of your notes so just hit the highlights. I like to study with friends and quiz each other as well as it helps to see what you actually know and don't know. It will help the info stick in your brain better because you've actually had to problem solve to answer the questions.

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Hi Krista. Do you have any tips for an interview at a large Microbiology lab? I currently work in the Microbiology department but it's at a much smaller lab.

When I interviewed at a larger lab they ask questions about QC and testing to look at your problem solving. One example is giving you a prompt about a blood culture bottle going positive and showing GPC. Where would you go from there? What the likely bacterium? Contamination? Also I was asked about certain tests and what they would be used to isolate or how to differentiate between two bacterium.

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Where can I find that cool key chain that looks like a petri fush that's been streaked

It's from Micrelle or Bactobuddies (they go as both.) They are @Bactobuddies, and https://www.facebook.com/bactobuddies.

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Sorry, I was trying to fit all the things I wanted to say as we are only limited on typing 300 words. Where do you get your news on health care?

No problem. Sorry for assuming! I follow Andre Picard of the Globe and Mail and a lot of the Pubic Health Units across Canada along with Health Canada.

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Thank you for doing an askfm. The workload of this job seems demanding, and I'm left concerned about the room left to grow in other aspects of life. Has your career choice affected your future goals at all? Example - family, travel, or working toward an authoritative(higher upper) position in MLT.

No. The workload is like any job. I work 40 hours a week and I have regular 8-4pm hours. The only difference is if you work shift work it might be difficult for the first few years to adjust if you're on the midnight shift. I have plenty of vacation and opportunities to travel to conferences. I've already travelled to Chicago, Victoria and now montreal this year.

As for room to grow, there are a variety of opportunities and I'm currently taking courses to help myself grow in my career! Hope that helps.

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Hello Krista. I'm applying to Michener for fall 2015 entry and I was wondering if the summer clinical education is Monday to Friday 8 hrs each day? Thank you.

In Summer it's usually Tues-Thurs 8 to 4pm. The only rotation that's different is Chemistry where you go Tues-Friday for 4 hours in the morning or afternoon.

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How did you prepare for the mini multiple interview to get in the medical lab program?

I did a whole series of this on my blog, medlabmaven.com. I watch the news nightly and made sure to be ready with the latest things that were happening in healthcare. I also did practice questions I found online (Which are on my blog) to prepare for the logical and reasoning portions.

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I hve failed my frst interview 2 yrs ago and planning on re-applying next jan. My highest education is jst hs diploma. I am strting uni next jan just to take some courses tht cn help me succeed in the interview. Although I might not get the science courses I wnt. what do you think i should do?

If you were invited to an interview that's a good sign. I would consider reading the paper and following the news on health care so you can be better prepared. You want to be well spoken and well prepared for your interview so I would try to increase your logical and reasoning skills. Also, I would recommend practicing speaking in full sentences and paragraphs, and perhaps typing out full words...

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