Saturday, 27 April 2013

End of Semester Wrap-Up


I have finished my last didactic semester at Michener! Overall this was one of the most interesting semesters of my program due to the fact we were left alone a bit more to figure things out ourselves. Here is a breakdown of what we covered this semester:

Chemistry - Chemistry and I were good friends this semester. I have to say, I really liked the respiratory (blood gases) and urinalysis units, which are some of the largest and most used units in practice. Chemistry is less memorization and more "understanding" so it can be tough to grasp for some people. In our Urinalysis unit we got to use actual samples rather than the simulated specimens we typically use. Let me tell you, some of those urines were smelly especially because a lot of them had been sitting for a while. We got to see a variety of specimens but I've never seen people so excited when a classmate found sperm in their sample.

Hematology - Definitely the most challenging hematology course I've had so far due to the dreaded White Blood Cell Morphology. It's funny to look back to first year when we were looking at some of these slides for RBC morphology and had no idea we were also looking at a CML or AML - M4. It was a bit of a struggle for me at first and I spent a lot of extra time looking at slides but ended up getting the hang of it in the end! I still have  a lot to learn and I am looking forward to simulation clinical and clinical where I can continue to better my skills.
Hi, I'm a blast and sometimes my nucleoli won't be this noticeable!

Histotechnology - If there is one course subject I don't get along with, it's histology. I don't know what it is but microtomy is usually the bane of my existence. This year, I had a microtomy awakening and was able to get my cutting up to 20 blocks in 3 hours. Anyone who works in histology is probably laughing right now saying they cut 100/hr but I am proud I was able to get up to speed! I really enjoyed the special staining portion of the lab because it was more chemistry related and I could understand why we used each stain.

Added bonus - no one sliced off any body parts during our microtomy labs.

Microbiology - Having a degree in Microbiology, it's a bit unfair for me to say Microbiology is my favourite course but well, it is. I like the detective work involved and being able to eliminate organisms based on the testing you do.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa on blood agar. It can show a metallic sheen = cool
We had a lot of variation this semester as we covered urinary, reproductive, respiratory and stool specimens. I don't think I had a favourite unit but I enjoyed working with respiratory specimens and doing sputum screens. My favourite organism is Pseudomonas aeruginosa (yes, I am weird, I have a favourite bacterium) which is commonly isolated in wound cultures and respiratory specimens in Cystic fibrosis patients, so I've had a chance to work with it a lot.

Transfusion Science - This was a small course this semester covering blood products and why we use them. It definitely helped to give me a greater appreciation for blood donation, collection and preparation in Canada. The quality of products available here is remarkable and has come along way since the Krever Commission (also here) in 1997. I did a group project on blood products used to treat Hemophilia A and Acquired Hemophilia A as well as a project on a mock massive transfusion, which was great to understand how products are selected for transfusion.

Overall, great semester! I'm excited to head to simulation clinical where I will "work" 3 days a week (4 days for Chemistry) and will be assigned to a bench to run each day - similar to an actual clinical site. Now just trying to decide if I should buy scrubs or not....

How was your semester?



  1. I will always love microbiology more than any other pathology discipline :-)

  2. Shh... don't tell the other disciplines!

  3. I teach clinical chemistry and analytical principles so chemistry is definitely my favorite. It's not just pressing buttons!

    It's funny that you mentioned how excited students get when they find sperm in a urine. It's the same in our urinalysis labs!

  4. I really enjoy Chemistry as well! I don't hate any of the subjects (unlike some of my fellow classmates), I just find some of them a little more interesting.

    And I'm glad sperm seems to be the uniting factor for urinalysis! I'll have to share that with my professor!


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