Sunday, 29 April 2012

MMI Round-Up

So, as many of you know, I was doing crowd managing/circuit managing for the MMIs the past week. Those were some long days!

I had to be at the school for 8:15am and left at 6:30pm each day since there were 4 sessions each day. (2 in the morning, 2 at night.) As you can imagine, I'm pretty sick of the MMIs right now as that's all I was living and breathing for 4 entire days.

Moving candidates and ensuring everything runs smoothly is hard work! Perhaps some of you saw me managing your circuit and I hope it was an overall good experience. No one passed out on me or left during the middle of the interviews so I'll consider that a positive!

You should be hearing back from admissions sometime this week (I believe) and I wish everyone good luck!


Saturday, 28 April 2012

Done the MMIs!

Congrats everyone!

I hope it went well and you enjoyed your interviews.

And now I'm happy to never speak about the MMIs again.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

2nd Semester Round-Up: Hard Work Pays off

Let me preface this with saying: I am really not one to gloat about grades.I did fairly well in High School (90%+) but tapered off a bit in University due to laziness/work/life.

At Michener, I vowed to try harder and aim to do well in all my classes. First semester was some trial and error for me to find what study habits worked best and what I knew would help me achieve my goals.

This semester, I felt the classes were more intensive. There was more time spend in the labs and even in lectures which really drove me to manage my time wisely. Here is a breakdown of my schedule per week:

  • Clinical Instrumentation - 2 hours of lecture, 3 hours of lab.

  • Histology - 1.5 hours of lecture, 2.5 hours of lab.

  • Hematology - 2 hours of lecture, 3 hours of lab.

  • Microbiology - 2 hours of lecture, 6 hours of lab.

  • Specimen Procurement (Venipuncture) - 2 hours of lab

  • Interprofessional Collaboration (BAIP) - 2 hours

One can assume that my hard work and dedication paid off as I just received my grade report and I received 4 A's and 2 A+s.  For a total GPA of  4.05!

I am absolutely beside myself with joy. I have never had a 4.0 in my life and it is now something I have achieved in a subject that I love. Perseverance pays off, so if getting into Michener is something you want, you can do it. If doing well in Med Lab is something you want, you can do it.

I had to blog this moment for something I can look back on down the road (possibly next semester) when I'm down to remind myself I am capable.


Monday, 23 April 2012

Important MMI UPDATE!

I was just at Michener and they HAVE moved the MMI check-in to the lobby. You will be leaving your coats and bags in the auditorium and they be brought up to your circuits that way.

Had to share because they changed it from last years set up and I have edited my previous MMI posts to reflect this change.

Good luck to everyone starting their MMIs tomorrow!

API Strips: The Best and Worst thing in Microbiology

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="API 20E Strip in Action"]API Biocode Bacteria Strip[/caption]

The dreaded API 20E Biocode strip. Don't get me wrong; these things are great for identifying bacteria and not having to memorize the entire biochemical work up. (Believe me, that is torture I am glad is over.) The only downside is how often they don't work if they are not incubated or inoculated correctly.

The premise behind them is they are basically a portable, small-scale biochemical reaction vessel. The "old-school" way is to inoculate test tube racks filled with various tests and then read them 24 hours later. API makes it easier and allows you to use a smaller quantity of bacteria to perform the testing. Once you prepare a saline solution of 2-3 well isolated colonies, you fill the cupules up to the edge or completely fill the ones boxed in. A few will also be underlined and have to be covered with sterile mineral oil in order for the reaction to take place.

I can remember many times, especially during our "other gram -ve" microbiology lab, where the biocodes would not identify the correct organism AT ALL or it wouldn't be valid for 48 hours. A little challenging when you only have 2 days of Micro labs and cannot incubate the strip over the weekend.

Another challenge is remembering that VP turns a pale pink after 10 minutes of reaction time after alpha napthol and KOH are added. THIS IS NOT A POSITIVE. The test must turn bright magenta pink within a few minutes to be positive. This is easily confused and often trips people up on practical exams (And by people I mean me. Thankfully I realized before I handed in my paper.)

Also, don't get me started on the API 20NE strips. Those still give me night terrors trying to figure out if the cups are "cloudy" or not.

Read more about API here.

MMIs - How I would answer the Michener Car Question

Disclaimer: This is just my take on how I would answer this question. I do not know if it is right or wrong but it shows my reasoning. I'm also assuming this would be an acting station.

Scenario: Parking Garage (Communication Skills) The parking garage at your place of work has assigned parking spots. On leaving your spot, you are observed by the garage attendant as you back into a neighboring car, a BMW, knocking out its left front headlight and denting the left front fender. The garage attendant gives you the name and office number of the owner of the neighboring car, telling you that he is calling ahead to the car owner, Tim. The garage attendant tells you that Tim is expecting your visit. Enter Tim’s office.

My Answer: Hi Tim, My name is Krista MedLabMaven and I work here in the building with you. I just spoke with the parking garage attention about coming up to your office as unfortunately there was an accident when I was leaving my parking spot today. I rear-ended your car as I was backing out and I sincerely apologize. I have brought up my driver's license and insurance information to give to you so we can go about filing a claim to get your car fixed. Again, I sincerely apologize and I hope to take care of the insurance paperwork for you to ensure this is dealt with quickly.

[Tim is probably going to be angry somewhere in here. Key is to remain calm and cool but be confident]

*Tim is now angry and yelling at you for being a stupid person who backed into his BMW*

Me: Tim, I understand how you can be angry as your car is damaged. I would be angry as well if someone backed into my car. I would love to help get the insurance process underway if we can exchange information and I can go ahead with processing the claim for you. Again, I apologize for being negligent and backing into your car.


Of course this could keep going on and on. My main tips would be to say how you "understand" what the person is going through and say how you are trying to help them. Don't make crazy promises like "I'll give you cash to get it fixed right now!" or "I'll fix it myself!" rather be realistic but sympathize with that is going on.

MMIs - Do I shake hands? What if there is a silence!?

I forgot to include these non-specific questions in my last Michener MMI post and didn't want to edit it to ensure people see my responses:

Question 1: Do I shake hands with the rater?

You can. But really, it doesn't matter. I did not shake hands because my hands were incredibly sweaty and shaky - not the best thing to do to project confidence. Also with disease and germs being spread through contact, some people might not be comfortable with it. The raters are told shaking hands is up to their discretion, so if you are a hand shaker and the rater declines - don't be offended. Do whatever feels best for you but definitely do not feel obligated to shake hands.

Question 2: I ran out of stuff to talk about after 4 minutes! Do we sit in silence?

Depends but mostly no. The raters have questions to prompt you if you can't think of an 8 minute soliloquy about what you would do if you ran into someone's car (see Michener Example). If you get to the end of your response, end it. Don't add words, ramble, sing, just to fill time. Also, if you get off track the rater will bring you back with a question (as long as you stop talking at some point.) I know at one station I derailed and went off on a tangent and the rater actually enjoyed what I had to say even though it wasn't directly related to the scenario. I have no idea how I did on that station but I received my offer for both programs on the first day so I guess that says something?

Also, I ran out of things to stay at one station and felt I had answered the question adequately so the rater asked how I was liking Toronto. Obviously, this does not count towards your rating and some raters might not make small talk but it was still nice to break the silence!

Question 3: I'm nervous I might pee myself/vomit/cry during the interview!

There are two places during the circuit where you will get an 8 minute break with access to a bathroom and a giant jug of water. Try not too drink too much water. Bring tissues. Hold it in until the break station.

If you have any more questions leave a comment!


Sunday, 22 April 2012

MMIs - The Actual Interview


In a MMI, applicants will complete a 1.5 hour circuit of of eight,  8 minute mini-interview stations, rotating from station to station. The MMIs at Michener is very similar to Medical School MMIs except there is no "clinical knowledge" required as the MMIs will be evaluating all the programs. The rater will not know what program(s) you have applied to. At each station, candidates will be presented with a ‘scenario' or question before entering the interview room.


You will sign a confidentiality agreement so I cannot discuss the actual questions but I can supply you with examples from the internet. I would recommend knowing general things about health care such as: roles, current events, insurance structures, volunteering etc.  I would also recommend practice going over "problem-solving" type questions.

This is from the Michener Website:

Parking Garage (Communication Skills) The parking garage at your place of work has assigned parking spots. On leaving your spot, you are observed by the garage attendant as you back into a neighboring car, a BMW, knocking out its left front headlight and denting the left front fender. The garage attendant gives you the name and office number of the owner of the neighboring car, telling you that he is calling ahead to the car owner, Tim. The garage attendant tells you that Tim is expecting your visit. Enter Tim's office.


They will be evaluating the non-cognitive characteristics such as reasoning, responsibility, ethics, teamwork, communication, empathy and self reflection. There could be an acting station, a team work station, a interview station etc. There are quite a few options for what you may see during your interviews.


Please keep in mind that the very specific clinical question will not be asked during the MMIs.

MMI Samples from University of Calgary

MMI Samples from University of Saskatchewan

Short MMI Example Video

Student in Australia talking about MMI experience

Please feel free to leave any comments about other things you would like to know about!


MMI – Multiple Mini Interview Tips

*Reminder to readers, this post was written in 2012 and things may have changed now*

It’s that time of year again!

I remember my Michener interview like it was yesterday. Even after I was invited to the interview, I was unsure about attending because I needed to fly to Toronto from Winnipeg which was a $500 investment into something I wasn’t sure I would be getting in the end. I ended up choosing to go after deliberating with my parents.

My interview itself was Saturday, April 30th at the very last interview time (12:30pm). I barely slept the night before as I was incredibly nervous about missing my flight. I left Winnipeg at 5:30am and arrived in Toronto at 8:30am. I took the Airport Express shuttle ~$22 to the Metropolitan hotel on Chestnut and Dundas. Since I had time to kill, I went to the Starbucks at Elizabeth and Dundas to try and “relax” before the big interview.

Before the Interview:

  • Try to arrive close to the interview time. I do not recommend coming terribly (1 hour or more) early because you will just be surrounded by nervous, sweating students in suits. Give yourself maybe 10 minutes prior to your arrival time to arrive in the lobby. (IE 20-30 minutes before the interview time)

  • Find a space in the lobby and just sit. You will be brought in by a director into a secure room where you will leave your coat/bag/purse etc. **This year you will be checking in at the Auditorium**

  • You do not need to sign in at the security desk. I made this mistake last year because quite a few people were signing into the security log. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO THIS. Just sit and wait patiently.

  • You will sign in at the auditorium in the main lobby of Michener. (May differ from year to year.)

  • Bring a water bottle. There are 2 water refill stations on your MMI circuit.

  • Eat before your interview. You cannot bring the snack with you along the circuit

  • Bring photo ID. You will be asked to present this once you are taken up the elevator.

  • Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in. Business Casual is a good guess for what to wear. I wore a short-sleeved sweater, brown dress pants and shoes.

The Interview:

  • You will be taken up the elevator by a crowd director to the 3rd/4th floors and you will receive your circuit colour. As for labels, You will wear one on your chest and the rest you will hand to the rater at the start of each interview to adhere to their rating paper.

  • There will be an orientation put on by someone with a short presentation on the MMIs and what to expect.

  • You will be taken to different circuit colours and be stationed outside one of the doors to the interview.

  • There are announcements over an intercom to prompt you when to read the questions which are adhered to each door.

  • A prompt will then tell you when to enter the room to begin your interview.

During the Interview

  • Be calm, cool and collected.

  • Smile! It will make you feel better and project a confident image to the rater.

  • Speak slowly and clearly.

  • Identify both sides of the argument and clearly state which side you are going to take and your reasoning.

  • Explain your reasoning - be clear, ethical, and objective.

  • Draw on personal experience!

After the Interview:

  • You will be taken to a debriefing room where you will fill out a survey using an iClicker.

  • They will explain how you will be informed about being accepted into the program/waitlisted.

These are my Michener specific tips as someone who has gone through the process. I will do another post about how to prep for the interview content.

Please leave a comment if there is something specific you'd like see!


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

And so it begins....

I wanted to make a "professional" word press blog to have for Medical Lab Students across Canada and the world. I feel like sharing my experience in this program can help create discussion about Health Care and the important role Medical Lab Technologists play in diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Watch this space for interesting health tidbits, information about Medical Laboratory Programs, and daily life ramblings!