Thursday, 12 December 2013

Wound Swabs and Blood Smears

If you are aware of my clinical schedule (which very few of you are), you probably have realized I have gone through 2 disciplines without blogging about them. No, I have not forgotten about blogging! With changing clinical shifts and studying for the exam, this got put on the back burner for a bit but I'm back now!

Me in my natural state
Hematology was my rotation after histology and it was amazing. I have always enjoyed hematology but never to the extent I did at Clinical. I started by running CBCs and coags for the first two weeks on machines I was fairly familiar with, the Coulter LH750 and the ACL-Top. I think that really helped my confidence with being able to troubleshoot, run QC and check patient samples. The last two weeks I spent on the diff bench looking at patient slides.

After two days, I graduated from the training slides to the batches of patient slides (under supervision of course). I don't know why but as I put the first slide under my microscope I started to panic. I have done thousands of slides at this point in my school career but this first patient slide sent me into a tailspin of worry. Would I know what the morph? THERE ARE NO ANSWER FOR ME TO CONFIRM WITH! I think I took 20 minutes just to do red cell morph (it was an Iron Deficient Anemia) but when I showed my instructor and she gave me the thumbs up my confidence returned. I was able to read slides with easy and had a number of great slides including identifying a new Hairy Cell Leukemia case. I had to do a slide test at the end of my rotation and passed with flying colours!

The end of October ushered in my birthday (yay!) as well as my new rotation in Microbiology. I really have nothing but great things to say about this rotation as well. For some reason, micro just sticks and makes sense to me. Well, it might be because I have a degree in it but overall I find I am able to understand and memorize bacteria well. My first experience was on the throat bench which was a nice bench to start with - I'm only looking for one bacteria (or am I?). I was able to get my feet wet and get ready for the more intensive benches. Speaking of intensive benches, I was on the others bench next which required a LOT of knowledge of many different body sites, normal flora and pathogens. I saw a lot of Klebsiella, Citrobacter, Pseudomonas and Staph, Staph, Staph. I made ASTs until my arms were tired. My vitek-ing skills from school came in handy as I was the go-to person to help with the hundreds of viteks they do a day.

I also did a day on the fertility bench doing Post-Vascetomy and Fertility testing on semen samples. I never thought this is something I'd be doing but, there I was! It was really interesting to see how involved fertility testing is and how many different factors you need to look at.

I'm currently in Chemistry doing my 2nd last rotation and I'm learning a lot about the large modular line instruments and TDM. Can't wait to do a blog post about that in a few weeks!

In other news, I am in the Member Spotlight on the new ASCP OneLab website! I was asked to blog about my experience at the ASCP 2013 Chicago Meeting so I  encourage you to head over and give it a read here. Thanks to all my readers for their support!