Thursday, 31 May 2012

A Year in Review: First Year, Second Semester

A continuation of my post from yesterday in regards to first year classes in the Medical Laboratory Sciences program at Michener.

Second Semester

  • BAIP – Interprofessional Collaboration

  • HEML – Hematology and Hemostasis

  • HIML - Histotechnology

  • INML - Clinical Instrumentation

  • MIML – Applied Microbiology

  • VPML - Specimen Procurement

BAIP - This is a course you will take all through out your time at Michener so just accept it and embrace it. Same as last semester, you will be in a class with people from all programs at Michener. The purpose is to interact with these professions and understand how you can work as an effective healthcare team. This portion of the course focuses on the Canadian Healthcare system and the rules and regulations in place for the professions. There is a huge group project on a "vulnerable" population. You will have to do a wiki page and huge presentation worth 70% but some of the courses are online which is nice!

HEML – Again this course was taught by Elizabeth who is awesome. This course is substantially harder as you have to memorize the coagulation pathway and understand a plethora of diseases. Responsible for knowing how to do PT/PTT testing with correction studies which can be a bit of pain. You also start working on machines in the lab which makes for a longer lab period (3hrs).

HIML - This course mostly revolves around the lab. The lecture covers everything you will be doing in the lab rather than two separate entities. You will learn to embed tissues in wax then cut 4 micron slices on a microtome to create slides. Very technical and hands on but a neat course as you get to see a lot of organs such as intestines, heart, femur etc. You learn the mechanisms of staining (some organic chem) but it's very basic. The prof Michelle is hilarious and engaging!

MIML – This is the tough micro course. Tons and tons of memorization. You need to memorize a LOT of different bacteria, information about them, identifying tests, symptoms, environments etc. You will also memorize identifying chemical tests (which can be 13+ tubes) and have to know what enterobacteriacae it is from those. (Non-motile, VP+ A/A is Klebsiella!) And the flow of testing to identify unknowns. Labs are very intensive and will take up all 3 hours each day (Thursday and Friday).

VPML– The dreaded phlebotomy course! You will learn to do blood draws using vacutainers and yes, you will perform it on human arms. Yes it will be on people in your lab group! You start with learning to put trays together and the different types of tubes and anti-coagulants. Then you get bumped up to practicing on fake arms and also doing micro-collection (finger pricks) on classmates. In the end you will do 3 human arm single draws and a multi-draw. I was afraid of needles starting the course but I ended up passing with flying colours.

So that is the end of my year in review! If you have any other information you want to know, feel free to email me at the address on the sidebar. Also, don't forget to subscribe so you can be alerted when I make new posts!


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Year in Review: First Year, First Semester

Many of you know I just completed my first year in the Medical Laboratory Science program at Michener. I had a request from a reader to do a year in review of the courses. I've decided to break it up into two posts; one for each semester.

First Semester

  • AMML - Human Anatomy and Microantaomy

  • BAIP - Interprofessional Collaboration

  • CCML - Clinical Chemistry

  • HEML - Introduction to Hematology

  • MIML - Introduction to Microbiology

  • PPML - Human and Patho - Physiology

AMML - This course focuses mostly on the different cell types and how they will present themselves in tissues. You will do a dry lab in the computer lab where you will look at electronic slides of different tissues types and look at cells and structures. Requires a lot of memorization and one of the "tougher" courses for myself. I believe there were 3 exams and 4 lab exams.  The exams are tougher and require more detail than some of the other courses.

BAIP - This is a course you will take all through out your time at Michener so just accept it and embrace it. You will be in a class with people from all programs at Michener. The purpose is to interact with these professions and understand how you can work as an effective healthcare team. There will be online quizzes, "how to give feedback" assignments and group projects on topics such as emotions, feelings, feedback, communication etc. The profs are from all different programs and all grade differently so hopefully you get a good one.

CCML - Sil taught this course last year and she was awesome. She makes a seemingly "dry" course interesting and exciting. You cover fundamental pieces on proteins, carbs, lipids and electrolytes. Small quiz every week covering the week prior. There is a math portion that covers the lab and the lecture with an assignment. The lab has a few assignments you need to hand in and you need to pre-read the lab before you head in. A "tougher" course as well in terms of quantity of information.

HEML - Great course taught by Elizabeth who has an awesome southern accent. She is very fair and is thorough.  Teaches you the fundamentals and how to do RBC and WBC counts. Lab is fairly easy this semester as it is almost all microscope work. You will do silent slides towards the end of the semester where you count WBC and RBC morphology.

MIML - Introductory Micro. This is gearing you up for the big leagues in Winter semester. Hardest part is memorizing all the contents of the biochemical test tubes, different types of cleaning solutions and other various immunological tests. Not sure who will teach it this year but Lisa is one of the best professors. So kind and wants you to succeed ( all the profs are like this though!) Lab is very time-consuming you have a 3 hour lab on Thursdays and a 2 hour lab on friday. There are also colonial morphology tests on Fridays.

PPML - This is kind of a "floater" course as a lot of people teach it from year to year. It's more of a human phys "light" course compared to what you might have seen in university. A lot of cross over from AMML which is nice and the exams are often close together so you can study for both at the same time. No Lab for this course.

Hopefully this helps as a quick synopsis of what you can expect in your first semester at Michener.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

WordWideWeb Wednesdays #2

Do you have a scientist in your life? Looking for the perfect gift? Check out GiantMicrobes!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="247"] ALL THE MICROBES[/caption]

What's better than being able to say "I have gonorrhea, syphilis, rabies and MRSA" to someone? It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it. (All of the above mentioned microbe plushes I currently own.)

I also have the Cold Virus liquid soap dispenser which is perched on the side of my sink ready to fight off dirt and disease.

Along with ordering straight off the website, many science museums and university bookstores carry Giant Microbes!


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

WorldWideWeb Wednesdays

Introducing one of my favourite science websites: MicrobeWorld.

Brain child of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), this website is designed to connect microbiologists and science enthusiasts alike.

Driven by user submitted content, it allows anyone with an interest in microbiology to share interesting news stories, facts and even their own research with the science community. Even you can submit content to be posted on the website.

One of my favourite features is BacterioFiles with Jesse Nohr.


Jesse discusses the importance of bacteria to try to dispel the negative connotations often associated with bacteria and virus.

They are typically shorter podcasts averaging around 3-5 minutes but there have been a few 30+ minute ones on occasion! It's something great to toss on your iPod before heading to class to put you in a science mind-set and also give you some interesting facts you can use whenever someone speaks negatively about bacteria!

Follow MicrobeWorld on Twitter @MicrobeWorld.

(My twitter feed is frequently over taken by Re-Tweeted MicrobeWorld articles)


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

FDA panel recommends approving home HIV test

New upcoming OTC HIV test. May help get people who think they might have HIV exposure to get tested and remove of the stigma.

Student infected with rare bacteria making progress -

Student infected with rare bacteria making progress -

The master's student in psychology at the school was with friends on May 1 near the Little Tallapoosa River, about 50 miles west of Atlanta, when she grabbed onto a zip line. It snapped and she fell.

The accident left a gash in her left calf that took 22 staples to close.

Three days later, still in pain, she went to an emergency room, where doctors determined she had contracted the flesh-devouring bacteria Aeromonas hydrophila. She was taken to Augusta for surgery.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Rates of Gonorrhea in the USA

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]GQGonorrheaStatisics Rates of Gonorrhea in the USA.[/caption]

An interesting map from Mens Health Magazine about the rates of Gonorrhea in the US. Mississippi wins (but do they really win?) with 209.9 people infected per 100,000. Yikes.

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Michener Institute - Overview


A nice 10 minute video put together by Michener you can share with your family and friends so they can see the campus and know what a great school you will/could be attending!

Also, you might recognize the person who did the voiceover as the MMI voice prompts!

Share link is here

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Anemia is defined as "the inability of the blood to supply the tissue with adequate oxygen", which can be a common problem in females, malnourished individuals, chronic blood loss and anyone with absorption or retention problems (parasites).

Physically, symptoms can appear as pallor, dyspnea, light- headedness ,vertigo, muscle weakness, Headache and general lethargy.

As an MLT, Iron Deficiency or IDA, is a commonly seen illness you will need be able to identify. It is a total depletion of the body iron stores which leads to issues in RBC production. Recommended daily iron intake is 15 mg for females and 10 mg for males per day.

IDA is a hypochromic, macrocytic anemia. This will present as a low MCHC as well as a low MCV on a CBC. MCHC is Mean Cell Hemoglobin Concentration and will cause the cells to appear pale and have a larger central pallor. MCV is the Mean Cell Volume and is related to the overall size of cells. A normal RBC is between 80-100fl. If there is an Iron Deficiency anemia present, it will typically be around 80fl or lower.

[caption id="attachment_134" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Textbook presentation of IDA. Small microcytic RBC with marked hypochromasia (large central pallor)[/caption]

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

2011 CSMLS Exam Pass Rates

2011 CSMLS National Report Card

If you are curious to see how the schools in Canada stack up against each other, check out their pass/fail rate on the certification exam you will write following your clinical rotations.

Michener had a 100% pass rate last year and the year prior.


Monday, 7 May 2012

Our Focus is You | National Medical Laboratory Week

Our Focus is You | National Medical Laboratory Week.

I forgot to push this post to my blog last week but April 24-28th was National Med Lab week put on by CSMLS.

Have a look at their website and the video that was filmed at Michener! Share with friends and family so you can show how important MLT's are.


Your Favourite Charities:

As a Medical Laboratory Science student, we do not really have a specific charity associated with our profession. While Respiratory Therapists have Cystic Fibrosis or Asthma related charities, we are an all encompassing profession that will encounter many diseases.

I think work with vaccine research/awarness, meningitis, or malaria would be worth while causes to contribute to.

What charity would you like to work with as a Medical Laboratory Scientist?

Send me your ideas by leaving a comment or emailing me!


Friday, 4 May 2012

Medical Laboratory Science Programs in Canada

Here is a comprehensive list of the accredited Medical Laboratory Science Programs in Canada. I know it's tough to figure out what is the right program and where to find information but I have linked to each program page and info in the name of the school.

View entire CSMLS list here

British Columbia:

British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)

City: Burnaby

Program Length: 2.5 years


  • High school graduation

  • English 12

  • Biology 12 (C+)

  • Chemistry 12 (C+)

  • Physics 11 (C+)

  • Mathematics

  • Letter of Intent (approximately 500 words) detailing the applicant's career goals, knowledge of the profession, related experience and reasons for seeking admission to the Medical Laboratory Science program.

  • Resume documenting work experience and/or volunteer experience together with satisfactory letter(s) of reference. The volunteer experience must be a minimum 30 hours and should be in a patient related health care environment.

College of New Caledonia

City: Prince George

Program Length: 2.5 Years

Admissions: Grade 12 Diploma. Medical Laboratory Career report which is used to rank for an interview. Based on an 18 point ranking system.


Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)

City: Edmonton

Program Length:  2 Years

Admissions: MMI Interview

60% or better in each of: English 30-1, Pure Math 30, Chemistry 30 and Biology 30

(Supposedly) Competitive Entrance: 75% to 85% overall average

Five or more credits of post-secondary Human Anatomy and Physiology / one credit of post-secondary Medical Terminology or completion of a challenge exam with a 60% pass. (Completed within last 5 years)

  • Academics- 40% (Score based on academic average of the 30 level courses)

  • Interview - 40%

  • Career/Program Assessment - 20%

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)

City: Calgary

Program Length: 2 years

Admissions:  MMI Interview

Alberta High School Diploma or equivalent, with the following admission requirements or equivalents:

  • At least 60% in Pure Math 30 or Math 31 or Math 30-1, or at least 70% in Math 30-2, AND,

  • At least 60% in English Language Arts 30-1, AND,

  • At least 60% in Chemistry 30, and at least 60% in Biology 30.

Applicants will be ranked monthly according to the following criteria:

  • Overall average in the admission requirements

  • Interview

Those with higher academic averages will be offered an interview first. Following the interview, applicants with a composite score of 40/50 or more will be offered a seat in the program based on the selection decision date until the program is full

Medical Laboratory Selection Reference Package


Saskatchewan Institute for Applied Science and Technology

City: Saskatoon

Program Length: 2 years (40 weeks a year)

Admissions: Grade 12 with a minimum grade of 70% in English Language Arts A30, English Language Arts B30, Math B30*, Physics 20, Chemistry 30 and Biology 30

Phase I - Average will be calculated on high school subjects required for admission (see Admission Requirements above) .

Phase II - Additional selection criteria will be applied to
those with the highest averages in Phase I :

Admission Average = 30%

Career Investigation = 30%

Interview = 40%


Red River College

City: Winnipeg

Program Length: 22 consecutive months

Admissions: Wait-list. Admission based on when you apply, not GPA.

Have 24 credits of post secondary education* from a recognized college or university including:

- General Chemistry (3 credits)
- Intro to Physical Chemistry (3 credits) or Intro to Organic Chemistry (3 credits)
- Anatomy and Physiology (6 credits)
- Biology (6 credits)
- Basic Statistical Analysis (3 credits)
- Communications (3 credits)


Cambrian College

City: Sudbury

Program Length:  7 Semesters (I think 2.5 years)

Admissions:  50 seats available. Preference to Ontario residents.

- any grade 12 English (C), (U) or (M)
- any grade 11 or 12 chemistry (C), (U) or (M)
- any grade 11 or 12 biology (C), (U) or (M)
- any grade 12 mathematics (C), (U) or (M)
Recommended: computer competency in relevant software
A minimum of 70% is required in all prerequisite courses.

St.Clair College

City: Windsor

Program Length: 3 Years

Admissions: Preference to Ontario residents.

  • Grade 12 English - ENG4U, ENG4C, EAE4C or EAE4U

  • Grade 12 Math (C) or (U)

  • Senior Level Chemistry (C) or (U)

  • Senior Level Physics (C) or (U)

  • Senior Level Biology (C) or (U)

St.Lawrence College

City: Kingston

Program Length: 3 Years


Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent with the following prerequisites:

  • Grade 12 Math at the C or U level

  • Grade 12 English at the C or U level

  • Grade 12 Chemistry at the C or U level

  • Grade 11 or 12 Biology at the C or U level

The Michener Institute

City: Toronto

Program Length: 2.5 Years


  1. Ontario Secondary School Diploma

  2. Four grade 12 University (U) level courses:

    • Grade 12 English (U)

    • Grade 12 Mathematics (U)

    • Grade 12 Chemistry (U)

    • Grade 12 Biology (U) OR Physics (U)
      (Biology is strongly recommended)

  3. Two University (U) or University/Mixed (U/M) level courses.

  4. Overall average of 75% in all the six courses used to meet the admission requirements.

  5. No grade lower than 70% in the six courses.

MMI interview. Ranked 50% GPA/50% Interview

University of Ontario Institute (UOIT)

City: Oshawa

Program Length: 4 Year B.Sc


Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with a minimum of six 4U, 4M, credits or equivalent or mature applicant status.

4U/4M credits must include English (ENG4U with a minimum 60 per cent), Advanced Functions (MHF4U), and two of Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U), Biology (SBI4U), Chemistry (SCH4U), or Physics (SPH4U).

Cut-off was 78% last year.

*note* I am only covering the English college in Quebec as I don't speak French so I cannot translate it. Please click link at top of post for more listing of French speaking colleges.

Dawson College

City: Montreal

Program Length: 3 Years


Diploma of Secondary Studies (DES), including:

  • Secondary V Language of Instruction

  • Secondary V Second Language

  • Secondary IV Science

  • Secondary IV Mathematics

  • Secondary IV History


  • Mathematics 564-406 or 565-406*

  • Chemistry 551-504*

  • An interview is required to assess the candidate’s readiness to pursue Biomedical Laboratory Technology studies.**

  • Candidates who place below the preparatory level in both English and French will not be admitted into the Program.


College of the North Atlantic

City: St.John's

Program Length: 3 years + 1 year

Admissions: Must complete "Medical Sciences 1" program first before applying to enter Medical Laboratory Sciences. Ranked based on GPA of this program.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick Community College

City: Saint John

Program Length: 2.5 Years


  • High School Diploma or Adult High School Diploma or GED Diploma of High School Equivalency

  • Geometry and Applications in Mathematics 112 and Functions and Relations 112

  • Two (2) additional sciences from the following:

    • Biology 112 or 122 (Recommended)

    • Chemistry 112 or 122 (Recommended)

    • Physics 112 or 122

Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia Community College

City: Darthmouth

Program Length: 2 Years

Admissions:  Waterfront Campus • Dartmouth • Full – Accepting 2014/2015 applications

High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent, including:

  • A minimum mark of 70% in Grade 12 Academic English, Mathematics and Biology

  • A minimum mark of 80% in Grade 12 Academic Chemistry

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Questions? Comments? Want to Talk?

Email me : medlabmaven (at) gmail (dot) com

Is there something you want to see on here? Do you have a question but don't want to leave a comment? Feel free to send me an email.


What can you do with Medical Laboratory Sciences?

There are 5 specific disciplines in that you are qualified to work in following the completion of your CSMLS exam. Having the option to work any of the 5 along with a few other things is a great advantage, especially during a time when the economy is bad.

Clinical Chemistry (also referred to as Biochemistry) - Running patient samples on machines to analyze chemical levels in blood, serum, csf, stool, urine etc. Typically measuring ions such as chloride, sodium, potassium, as well as glucose and pH. Also can test levels of hormones, drugs, alcohol, vitamins, ferritin and immunoassays.More specialized tested may be needed which can involved osmometry, gel electrophoresis and manual immunoassays (ELISA).  It is a very broad category and the labs run 24/7 as these measurements are extremely important and time sensitive.

Hematology - Studying the aspects of the patient's blood. Most common is CBC (complete blood counts) which can be run on an analyzer as well as done manually. This counts the  5 WBC (white blood cells) as well as the quality of RBCs. If abnormal may have to make a blood smear and analyze smear for abnormal RBC morphology and abnormal white cell morphology. Important to identify the severity of an infection and possible type of disease or infection present. Coagulation studies also important part of hematology.

Histotechnology -  Preparation of tissue specimens to be analyzed by a pathologist. Responsible for grossing and accessioning surgical specimens, processing tissue, embedding tissue, microtomy and staining. May assist in performing autopsies as well.

Microbiology -  culturing and identifying organisms present in sample. Typically received as a swab, sputum or csf but can also receive a blood culture. Along with identifying possible bacteria, fungi or parasites; antibiotic susceptibility testing to determine correct antibiotic to treat infection. This lab is typically a 9-5 job but may extend if at a core lab in a hospital.

Transfusion Science - Testing donor blood to determine its suitability for use in transfusion, determining blood groups, performing pre-transfusion testing, and investigating related medical disorders. Very challenging and important discipline because it is easy  to kill someone if a mistake is made.

Bonus Disciplines: Aside from working in this 5 core disciplines, you may work in a few other positions following graduation.

  • Phlebotomy - Collecting blood specimens from patients.

  • Pathologist's Assistant - Working with pathologist to perform autopsies and select tissue specimens for processing (similar to histotechnology but more involved in diagnosis)

  • Medical Sales Representative - Representative for medical products. Acts as liaison between company and hospital.

  • Quality Assurance - Working with team to ensure laboratories are running properly and efficiently.

  • Infection Control - Team of people in a hospital responsible for preventing and dealing with outbreaks. Usually need a few years of work experience first.

  • Research Assistant - Working in a research lab.

  • Medical Equipment Technician - Repairing machines and troubling shooting issues.

As you can see, there are quite a few opportunities once you have completed your Medical Laboratory Science program. Hopefully something sparks your interest and you can see yourself working in one of these positions. I know for me, I really enjoy Microbiology and Chemistry and I hope to work in Infection Control one day!


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

So You've Been Offered a Spot!

First of all, congratulations! I know the offers will be going out soon so here are some tips on what to do after.

To get a first-round offer in any program is something to be proud of. Michener usually invites over 3 times the number of people that they will actually accept into the program. Quite a feat!

If you did not receive a first round offer, do not despair! The waiting list for big programs moves quickly (such as MLS or RT) and people that are accepted into their other choice programs go into those. Though for me, I was accepted into Diagnostic Cytology and Medical Laboratory Science and I accepted MLS which is typically the reverse!  There are some students that receive acceptance a week before classes start or sometimes during the first week of class due to people having to drop out.

If you are accepting the offer you do it through (unless it has changed since last year.) You will also need to make a $1000 deposit to secure your place in the program which can be done over the phone or in person. This deposit will be applied to your tuition when you pay it sometime in July. (See my Michener page for more info!)

A packet should arrive in the mail containing your offer and some of the health information, residence information and other things about Michener a few weeks after you received your E-Mail offer. You will also receive a package in the middle of August containing orientation information, your class schedule and other helpful tips.

There are health requirements you should get on right away, especially the Mantoux (TB) testing as it takes at least 3 weeks to be completed. You will need to have tuberculin protein injected under your skin to see if you have been exposed to TB and it needs to be done twice. Make sure you complete this list before you head to Michener in September!

  • Mantoux Test (2)

  • Blood testing for immunity

  • OESC Police Check

  • Standard First Aid and CPR-HCP

If you are wanting to live in residence, check out the information here.

If you need help at all, don't hesitate to leave a comment!