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June 23, 2011

Medical Laboratory assistants are in high demand on Vancouver Island. The career is a rewarding one as Med Lab assistants perform a vital role within the medical laboratory team and working closely with the public.

This September, Camosun College has three seats exclusively reserved for first-come, first-qualified applicants from up-Island: one seat for the Nanaimo area; one from the Comox Valley and one from the Campbell River area. Students are offered seats in the program according to their proximity to practicum sites in Nanaimo, Comox and Campbell River.

Medical Laboratory assistant details and how to apply...

"We're an Island-wide program," says Valerie Montague, program coordinator of Camosun's Continuing Education health care programs. "This past year we had nine students – almost a third of the class – commute from as far as Shawnigan Lake and Campbell River. Some students used carpool time to study together. It's a long drive, but the face-to-face classroom experience and being taught by people who also work in the field are worth the investment."

Camosun's Med Lab grads are highly sought after and are typically hired by Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), LifeLabs and St. Joseph's General Hospital. "Our students are placed in their own communities for practical experience so the students and employers really get to know each other," says Montague.

Camosun's part-time Med Lab program runs September to April, and takes place two evenings per week and most Saturdays. Students are matched with a local hospital and community placement to build their practical skills at one day per month throughout the program. They also attend a full-time practicum at those sites over four weeks in April and May. Students learn how to collect specimens from patients and how to process and prepare them for analysis. Students are also taught how to perform electrocardiograms (ECGs) and basic lab procedures. Data entry, clerical duties and reception services are also part of the program.

The Medical Laboratory Assistant program qualifies graduates to meet the standards set by VIHA, LifeLabs and St. Joseph's General Hospital. Graduates of Camosun's program may apply for certification with the BC Society for Laboratory Science.

Last updated: June 24, 2011 12:01 pm

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