a Medical Laboratory Assistant student practices drawing blood in the lab

Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant Program Handbook

Delivering quality education for caring professionals

Policies and expectations unique to the Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant (CMLA) Program are outlined in this handbook. Ensure you read the HHS Student Handbook for general school information.

Last updated: Dec. 2022

Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant Program is a part of the School of Health and Human Services, a place of warmth and caring. We're always looking to connect with future and current students so please don't hesitate to email hhsinfo@camosun.ca if you have any questions.

Once enrolled in a program, you're required to familiarize yourself with the information found in your school and program information pages.

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Note: Downloaded versions of the student handbook are valid on the date of download. Critical changes or error corrections may happen at any time. Due to COVID-19, information in the handbook may change. For the most up-to-date information about Camosun’s response to COVID-19 go to camosun.ca/covid19.

1.1 Welcome

Chair's Message

Your instructors, support staff, and I want welcome you to the Department of Allied Health & Technologies. We are so excited that you have chosen to embark on your educational journey with us at Camosun College. By choosing a program in Allied Health, you have demonstrated that you have a desire to work with people and technology while you serve the needs of your community.

Allied Health is a term that encompasses the vast number of healthcare professionals working outside the practice of nursing or medicine. We are a growing force in healthcare workplaces, gaining recognition for our specialized expertise, change resilience, and professionalism. Allied Health professionals integrate into every aspect of patient and client care, particularly in Diagnostic and Therapeutic services. Forecasts for continued growth in these services across Canada means that job growth in Allied Health professions will likely continue well into the 2020's.

As you pursue your Allied Health education at Camosun College, you will see how passionate we are about supporting you on your journey as a student. Learning isn't always a linear pathway and success shouldn't always be defined by progression alone. We value all learning opportunities and recognize that at sometimes, it takes great challenges to reveal strength of heart, clarity of mind, and connection to spirit. We designed these guidelines and procedures to help you understand and access the resources and information you will need to be successful.

Instructors in the Allied Health & Technologies Department are committed to helping you transform into competent, compassionate Allied Health professionals. We want you to thrive in the diverse and ever- changing environments within the healthcare workplace. We work hard to model and promote life-long best practices in Allied Health Sciences by providing you access to authentic learning opportunities using creative, innovative teaching practices. You will have the opportunity to experience the real workplace environments of your chosen profession where you will learn alongside actual employed professionals in your discipline.

No matter how long your program is, you are already a member of a diverse, interprofessional team of learners. Get to know the campus, explore all the college's resources, and spend some time getting to know your instructors and your fellow students – they are all part of your support team. We know that your journey into your Allied Health education at Camosun College will be the beginning of an inspiring, life-changing future!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to stop by my office, discuss them with one of your instructors, or any of the dedicated staff here at Camosun College.


Dr. Brent Mekelburg
Chair, Department of Allied Health & Technologies

Contact the Allied Health & Technologies department.


2. Program Values


In the Department of Allied Health & Technology, we inspire life-changing learning by transforming learners into competent, compassionate health professionals.


Our college seeks to build a better future for our community with relevant, innovative and applied education. We realize this by promoting life-long best practices in Allied Health sciences with authentic learning opportunities and creative, innovative teaching practices.


We value our learners, because they choose us. Learners are why we exist. Everything we do should contribute to successful outcomes. The experiences we offer distinguish us from other institutions offering the same courses and programs that we do. Each Learner contributes uniquely. We value all human diversity, which enriches us all. We are all Learners. All students, staff, faculty, and administrators are learners. Remembering this helps us keep perspective. Every interaction between humans is a learning opportunity. Learning is everyone's responsibility.

Professionalism is a learned and vital skill for healthcare. It's the cornerstone of service to others in health care. It is the concept of constructed altruism, when fulfilling one's duty all actions taken should be in the best interest of the patient or client, not in self-interest. Professionalism is a learned behaviour, one that we choose to live and model for our students. We apply this more broadly to ourselves as educators as well as in our clinical practice. 1

  • Respect – We strive to do no harm to ourselves or others in either words or deeds. We care about the feelings and well-being of ourselves and others. Even when we dislike someone, we allow them equal forum.
  • Self-Regulation – We maintain the same level of decorum without oversight as we would under the pressure of observation. Even when no one is "overseeing or watching" us, we uphold our ethics & values. We freely accept our duty and commitment to service.
  • Integrity – We are committed to honesty, transparency, fairness, and promoting ethical behaviours. We are not afraid or embarrassed to admit when we are wrong or need help; this is how we grow and most importantly, how we all learn.
  • Accountability – We take personal responsibility for our thoughts, words, and deeds. We consider, and accept the consequences of our behaviours. We are accountable to each other, students, the college, the public, our governing bodies, and ourselves.
  • Leadership – We value the leader who is an ambassador for their cohort or field, proactively promoting their profession through mentorship and teaching. We willingly share our knowledge and experience.
  • Image – We display our values physically and visually with our outward appearance, language, and behaviours. We accept that how others perceive us affects our ability to interact successfully with them.
  • Specialized Knowledge – We make a deep personal commitment to attain, develop, maintain, and improve the knowledge required to perform our duty.
  • Mastery – We demonstrate excellence in applied knowledge by continuously striving to exceed our own best efforts through ongoing self- reflection, re-assessment, quality improvement, certification, and life-long learning. We believe reflective practice is crucial for attaining mastery.

Interprofessional/interdisciplinary collaboration builds healthy teams. We welcome and invite contributions from every team member. We strive for open and effective communication where each team member's voice is heard and respected. We each bring unique skills and strengths to the table, everyone benefits from working together. We collaborate to foster group pride and ownership in our accomplishments and satisfaction in tasks well done. We strive to demonstrate how collaborative behaviours and environments enhance group and personal success. We seek to empower students to do the same in pursuit of their educational goals.

Sustainability is necessary for progress. We accept that we are one part of a larger equation, and that our actions influence the overall balance of a greater whole. We do not fear the new and we do not discount traditional wisdoms. Be they ideas, processes, requirements, technology, needs, programming, or people, we use careful intent and intelligence to assess and benefit from future innovations and our existing resources. We commit to sustainable practices that help to ensure that we are able to continue providing a learner-centric environment for students of the future.  

Diversification is a path to growth. We continuously work to increase and enhance student access to existing programs by expanding capacity, creating more flexibility, and providing work integrated solutions to students. We recognize that adult learners come with a range of existing knowledge and skills in a wide range of abilities; all of which contribute to both success and challenges on the pathway to competence. We welcome and value aboriginal ways of being and knowing as ways to grow our practice understanding. We actively pursue new programing and continuing education opportunities. We explore and promote the establishment of new degrees, certifications, credentials, and diplomas that provide pathways for student growth and future success.

Quality is everyone's responsibility. We strive for continuous quality improvement of our student's experiences, our programming and curriculum, our equipment and learning tools, and ourselves. Quality assurance and improvement are the responsibility of every member of the team. We listen carefully to students, each other, our educational partners, our national certification agencies, and accrediting bodies. We reflect before we react; only responding with our collective best efforts to ensure we meet or exceed the highest quality standards in health science education.

1 Portions of this interpretation of Professionalism paraphrased from the Canadian Medical Association, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, The American Board of Internal Medicine, and http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/professionalism.htm.


3. Teaching Philosophy

3.1 Learning and the Learner

Students, as adult learners, have their own rate and style of learning. They bring unique backgrounds and experiences to the learning process. Learning is enhanced when learners' experiences are acknowledged, respected and used as part of the learning process. Individuals learn best in a climate of trust where they feel cared for, listened to, and challenged. Self-confidence and self-direction are enhanced when learners share the responsibility for identifying their learning needs and planning learning activities. Learners are accountable for their choices and decisions and are encouraged to become advocates for their own learning needs and experiences.

For optimal learning to take place, opportunities must be provided to apply learning in a variety of real and simulated settings. Learners need to be encouraged to interact in a cooperative context and to share learning with their colleagues. As well, time for reflection is critical to the development of a reflective practitioner; assessment assists in facilitating this process.

3.2 Teaching and the Instructors

Instructors working in Allied Health education have a passion and enthusiasm for student-centered learning and for their profession. They are self-aware, confident, and competent in their abilities as educators. Likewise, they are confident and competent in whatever aspect of dental hygiene they are teaching. They encourage excellence in personal and professional integrity, and act as advocates for the learners and the program. Instructors strive to provide consistent and appropriate expectations, are effective communicators, and problem-solvers.

Instructors help learners to integrate theory into practice. In doing this, instructors encourage and model a reflective approach to practice. Instructors see themselves as active learners with students, acting as guides and mentors.


4. Program Learning Outcomes

The Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant (CMLA) program prepares graduates for their role as integral members of the healthcare team by providing a broad foundation in laboratory science theory integrated with authentic simulation environments and workplace clinical practicums. Students learn to incorporate exemplary patient and client-centric behaviours while mastering the techniques of blood collection (phlebotomy), analytical sample collection, and sample preparation. Students learn to collect and process data required for diagnostic investigations.

Certified Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLAs) can first expect to find employment as phlebotomists, , and in pre-analytical specimen preparation and management. Further professional opportunities for the certified MLA exist as diagnostic assistants, technical assistants, pathology assistant’s, in management, quality control and assurance, education, informatics, and research.

4.1 Performance Indicators

At the completion of the Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant program, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate the core attributes of a Medical Laboratory Assistant as reflected in professional, provincial, and federal policy, legislation, and regulations.
  • collect safely and prepare optimal quality diagnostic specimens by applying their knowledge of laboratory procedures, human anatomy and physiology, pathology, professionalism, communication, and scientific principles.
  • manage patient and client interactions proficiently with cultural humility, utilizing best practices in a competent, safe, and responsible manner observing legal and ethical workplace standards.
  • practice appropriate, accurate, effective communication with members of the public and all members of the health care team within their role and scope as a Medical Laboratory Assistant.
  • support and promote a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to providing high quality, patient and client-centered care and customer service while ensuring the effective functioning of self.
  • respond independently to challenging and complex practice situations by evaluating relevant variables to make appropriate decisions or solve problems.
  • meet the entry-to-practice capabilities of the British Columbia Society for Laboratory Science and Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science for Medical Laboratory Assistants.


5. Collaborative Learning Process

5.1 What is Collaborative Learning?*

Collaborative Learning is how we put our Values and Teaching Philosophies into practice in the Allied Health & Technologies Department at Camosun College.  “Collaborative learning” is an umbrella term for a variety of educational approaches involving joint intellectual effort by students, or students and teachers together. Usually, students are working in groups of two or more, mutually searching for understanding, solutions, or meanings, or creating a product. Collaborative learning activities vary widely, but most center on students’ exploration or application of the course material, not simply the teacher’s presentation or explication of it. Collaborative learning represents a significant shift away from the typical teacher-centered or lecture-centered milieu in college classrooms. In collaborative classrooms, the lecturing/ listening/note-taking process may not disappear entirely, but it lives alongside other processes that are based in students’ discussion and active work with the course material. Teachers who use collaborative learning approaches tend to think of themselves less as expert transmitters of knowledge to students, and more as expert designers of intellectual experiences for students-as coaches or mid-wives of a more emergent learning process. 

5.2 Why use Collaborative Learning?

We use collaborative learning because we believe it helps students learn more effectively, many of us also place a high premium on teaching strategies that go beyond mere mastery of content and ideas. We believe collaborative learning promotes a larger educational agenda, one that encompasses several intertwined rationales.

  • Involvement.  Students engaged in collaborative learning are more involved with their programs, instructors, class mates, and content.  We hope that this level of involvement carries with graduates into their profession and future relationships helping them to flourish personally and professionally.  We know it leads to increased program success and personal satisfaction. 
  • Cooperation & Teamwork.  We are all in this together.  Instructors are deeply invested in student success.  They intervene early and often to support students with struggles.  Using tools like “Group Agreements”, feedback, and “Learning Success Plans” instructors and students collaboratively curate and share responsibility for the learning and learning experiences.
  • Civic Responsibility.  Instructors have an active voice in shaping future ideas and values, cultivating a culture of respectful participation, personal accountability, ethical transparency enables students (future professionals) to engage in meaningful dialogue, deliberation, and consensus-building vital for functioning in healthcare workplaces and society at large.    

5.3 Supporting Diverse Learners

Purpose of Procedures and Guidelines

  1. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that the department supports students' educational interests and protects their rights.
  2. These guidelines ensure that students, faculty, and the Chair each understand their roles and responsibilities. It is important that each party appropriately and consistently follow all steps of the process.
  3. Departmental procedures and guidelines provide clarity when college policy is unclear or vague.

These guidelines are in place to:

  • enhance a learner's chance for success
  • provide opportunities for others to succeed
  • effectively utilize learner and college resources
  • assist students, their instructors, and staff to monitor and intervene when a student is "at risk"

5.4 Student Grade Appeals and Review Policy


The purpose of this policy (E-1.14) is to provide an appeal process for students who have reason to believe they have been graded unfairly or treated unjustly in relation to discipline by Camosun College (instructors or other decision-makers).


This policy applies to all students (learners) enrolled in Camosun College courses and programs. This policy does not address issues of academic integrity or student misconduct. This policy also does not address student complaints concerning teaching and learning. For a concern or complaint about teaching and learning, please review the Student Complaints Process.

Information below is in addition to section 9.3 Unsafe, Unethtical & Unprofessional Practice of the School of Health and Human Services (HHS) Student Handbook.

During the Process

During the Appeal Process, students are entitled to:

  • Specific timelines for each stage of their appeal
  • Receive all decisions through a known, preferred means of notification & communication
  • Remain in the program during the appeals process. Students are granted permission from the Chair to continue attending classes until a final, binding decision is made regarding the student's appeal or the student withdraws from the appeal process.

5.5 Progression Policy

The Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant program uses both the Standard Grading System (letter grades) and the Competency Based Grading System (satisfactory completion); please see School's Handbook, Section 5.5 HHS Grading Systems and Circumstances section for more information.

A passing mark of 65% or better or COM is required for all courses in the Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant program in order to be used as a prerequisite.

In rare or extenuating circumstances, a student may be awarded a temporary grade.  Until conditions have been met for the required grade change, students are permitted to progress as if they had achieved the required prerequisite mark in the course they received the temporary grade.  The student will be removed from practicum activities and must withdraw from any courses reliant on meeting the prerequisite if the student fails to meet the conditions for completion and/or a grade change before the temporary grade automatically converts to an unsuccessful result at the end of six weeks (whichever occurs first). 

Students with a lapse of time between completing their didactic courses and accessing clinical experiences greater than that allowed by the professional credentialing organization or practicum site must demonstrate that they meet practicum eligibility qualifications and critical safety standards prior to engaging in any workplace experiences.


6. Professional Behaviour

6.1 Student Conduct

Each student enrolled in programs or courses in the Allied Health & Technologies Department is required to abide by the following rules of conduct.
By accessing, reading, and acknowledging their program Student Handbook, students confirm that they understand the requirements and expectations of the program area and agree to:

  • comply with all Camosun College policies found on the college website
  • comply with all HHS & Department procedures, guidelines, and requirements published in this handbook
  • comply with all Program procedures, guidelines, and requirements published in this handbook and courses
  • comply with the clinical site selection processes, and must be willing to accept a clinical practicum at any of the affiliated clinical sites
  • comply with the confidentiality of patient information policies of assigned placement organizations and Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act as it pertains to learning experiences in the workplace
  • participate in classroom/laboratory/clinical exercises that impart necessary knowledge and skills required for achieving competency in the clinical environment
  • allow my photo to be used for instructor/clinical site student familiarization purposes (students may opt out of promotional photography and may decline to sign talent waivers)
  • allow my academic documents to be reviewed by accrediting and regulatory bodies
  • allow fellow students and instructors to touch my person in a manner appropriate for learning the practice of my Program’s profession

Students acknowledge that their training includes clinical simulation activities and that these activities will:

  • adhere to professional standards of conduct as appropriate for their discipline of study
  • be explained or demonstrated by Camosun College staff member or other assigned, qualified personnel
  • involve myself, other students, or staff members, clinical personnel, consenting volunteers, or consenting patients as subjects
  • be conducted in an environment appropriate for learning
  • be appropriately supervised
  • require that I am prepared and that I employ due care and attention in their completion
  • require involvement of venipuncture, capillary collection and other specimens

Students who require further information on college, School of Health and Human Services, or program policies and expectations must arrange to clarify outstanding issues on their own.

Student/Faculty/Staff Relationships

As students in a program that leads to a professional career, conduct which consistently demonstrates courtesy and respect is anticipated and expected. All students have the right to expect this of their peers and instructors and have the duty to reciprocate. Professional relationships must be maintained at all times.

Students are expected to abide by the Student Conduct Policy. PDF

Instructors at Camosun College are expected to abide by the Standards of Conduct Policy. PDF

For more information on the role of the health care organization (HCO) educator, refer to the BC Practice Education Guideline on the Supervision Students.

6.2 Professional Body & Discipline-Specific Definitions/Competencies

Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS)

CSMLS Code of Professional Conduct

  • Medical laboratory professionals are dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of the public. The welfare of the patient and respect for the dignity of the individual shall be paramount at all times.
  • Medical laboratory professionals work with other health care professionals, to provide effective patient care.
  • Medical laboratory professionals shall promote the image and status of their profession by maintaining high standards in their professional practice and through active support of their professional bodies.
  • Medical laboratory professionals shall protect the confidentiality of all patient information.
  • Medical laboratory professionals shall take responsibility for their professional acts.
  • Medical laboratory professionals shall practise within the scope of their professional competence.
  • Medical laboratory professionals shall endeavour to maintain and improve their skills and knowledge and keep current with scientific advances. They will uphold academic integrity in all matters of professional certification and continuing education.
  • Medical laboratory professionals shall share their knowledge with colleagues and promote learning.
  • Medical laboratory professionals shall be aware of the laws and regulations governing medical laboratory technology and shall apply them in the practise of their profession.
  • Medical laboratory professionals shall practise safe work procedures at all times to ensure the safety of patients and co-workers and the protection of the environment.

Additional resources

6.3 Appropriate Use of Electronic Devices/Mobile Devices

Mobile device behaviour that is disruptive to instruction or other students will not be tolerated and students may be asked to leave the classroom, laboratory, or clinical environment if necessary. Chronic disruptive behaviour (on mobile devices or otherwise) can result in loss of marks and the Student Conduct policy may apply.  Students at Camosun College will also comply with the Acceptable Technology Use Policy while on campus.

In the Classroom

Personal mobile devices can distract students from learning opportunities and prevent instructors from providing quality instruction. If you use your personal mobile device as a learning tool, please do so respectfully and consider sharing with your instructor how your device is enhancing your experience.

Some instructors incorporate the use of mobile devices into learning activities, such as using anatomy, polling or quiz game apps during class to gauge student comprehension.  It is also common for instructors to encourage students to use photo scanning apps for submitting homework on D2L.  Individual instructors may include further direction about the acceptable use of personal mobile devices during their classes or within their course syllabi.

In Labs and Simulation

In order to provide a suitable learning environment and minimize disruptions, mobile communication devices are not generally permitted during learning or simulation labs. Simulation Labs are generally intended to simulate clinical learning environments and the focus should be on practical, hands-on learning.  Personal mobile device use is not usually allowed in lab environments as they are known to be a vector for pathogens.

Mobile devices have become a constant companion for students and workplace professionals alike. There are intrinsic risks associated with their use within analytical and diagnostic sciences that prevent their safe use during clinical practicums.

Clinical and Practicum environments

In a clinical environment, personal mobile devices are a known vector for pathogens. They are proven to increase the risk of infection (for both students and patients) and increase the risk for contamination of samples and equipment.  Students must not use their mobile devices during active learning times while at practicum. Students should thoroughly wash their hands following any interaction with their mobile device prior to returning to learning activities in the workplace.

Personal mobile devices also increase the risk of intentional and unintentional violations of patient and client privacy and confidentiality. Students should not take photos at the workplace (of themselves or the environment) while in treatment areas, including offices and workbenches to reduce the risk of unintentional privacy violations. 

Students must comply with all clinical site specific policies on the use of cell phones, including appropriate times and locations in which to use them.  Students should take care when submitting Clinical Documentation that this is done away from any confidential patient information, procedure rooms, or busy work areas.

Students should be aware that using personal devices for communicating or sharing any patient related information, such as accession numbers, verification of requisitions, descriptions of client encounters even when done for educational purposes with IDs obscured, is still considered a privacy breach and can lead to serious consequences ranging from temporary suspension to termination of clinical placement which can result in the student being unable to complete their program and graduate.


7. Classroom, Lab, or Clinic Etiquette

7.1 Expectations of Student Performance

Appropriate Safe Start Awareness

All Students and Staff will be aware and abide by the latest COVID-19 responses and protocols as posted by Camosun College

Simulation Labs

What are "realistic simulation behaviours"?
As much as possible, the labs are operated as a model of a medical laboratory department. Students learn to conduct themselves in the same professional manner expected of them in the Clinical Environments. In addition to providing the foundational knowledge needed for students to be successful in Clinical, care has been taken to create lab activities that simulate experiences students may encounter during their Preceptorship.

Behaviours developed in simulation will prepare students for deeper learning and ease them into the culture of the healthcare environment. Simulation is designed to be a learning environment free of the potential for serious unintentional harm to come to a student or patient during the development of elementary skills. This relatively consequence-free experience is designed to encourage safe experimentation, trial and error, and growth.

In order to promote a clinical-like atmosphere, uniforms, and name tags should be worn during simulation labs. It is expected that students adhere to all other Health & Human Services Appearance Requirements for Clinical & Laboratory settings.

7.2 Clinic/Lab Rules

Laboratory Rules and Regulations

Proper Use of Equipment & Supplies

Care must be observed when handling the ECG machine and Holter monitor equipment. Students should ask for guidance when faced with equipment difficulties. Do not force or manipulate equipment in a manner it has not been designated for.

Students will be instructed on the proper use of all Laboratory equipment and accessories in the course of their learning experiences. All equipment user manuals are included in the corresponding D2L courses associated with the ECG and Holter monitor Lab activities.

Use caution with ALL equipment and supplies. Replacement and repairs are expensive. Students shall observe all posted signage, placards, checklists, and instructions during lab use. Students should report equipment or accessory failures or damage immediately. When consumable supplies need to be restocked, (i.e. gloves, needles, linens) students should notify their instructor at the conclusion of their lab.

Food & Drink

Food, beverages, and gum are not permitted in the labs at ANY time. Students are expected to maintain a clean classroom area, appropriate cleaning products are provided for this purpose.

Students are responsible for certain duties within the rooms to which they have been assigned. These duties must be completed before leaving the lab. Lab duties will be posted for each lab by the instructor. Students need to comply with all instructor directions during labs to ensure the health and safety of all laboratory participants.


Students are advised to come to each lab prepared and ready to follow all instructions for safety and preparation. Students will remain in their lab groups, as assigned per module. Students will be required to wear their WSBC shoes and uniform scrubs for all lab activities and any additional PPE recommended Uniforms must be laundered by student between classes. Access to CMLA Labs is limited to assigned classroom time or pre-scheduled review with an instructor/instructional assistant present. There is no access after hours or without supervision and persons not enrolled in the CMLA program should not be present during labs.

Patient Care Labs Expectations and Rules

Teaching clinic exam rooms, patient apartment and clinical specimen laboratory are heavily used. The following expectations and rules will make the labs run smoother for everyone. If you do not understand these rules, seek clarification from your instructor

  • The lab must be treated and maintained like a working medical laboratory.
  • Task trainers, beds, bedside tables, and phlebotomy carts must be cleaned before and after every use, left tidy, and free of garbage at the end of each lab.
  • Extra inventory can be found in storage areas. If more supplies are needed please ask the Instructor or lab assistant.
  • Please re-use and recycle when possible.
  • Place all sharps in the sharps containers carefully.
  • Charts, textbooks, and manuals are to be neatly placed on the appropriate shelves. If photocopies are needed please ask the lab Instructor or assistant.
  • Absolutely NO food or drink is permitted in the labs.
  • Follow the 7.3 Dress Code Guidelines

Laboratory Safety

Departmental Safety

Students are expected to use the personal protective equipment and tools provided and dispose of all waste in the appropriate container.

Sharps Containers

The lab and supply trays will be stocked with select sizes of sharps containers to dispose of needles, no other disposal containers are permitted for disposal of sharps. Students may not dispose of anything other than sharps in a sharps container.


All laboratory supplies and surfaces must be kept clean and disinfected after use.

Eye Wash Stations

Each laboratory is equipped with an eyewash station. The student is responsible for identifying the location of eyewash stations in their environment.

SDS Sheets & Hazardous Spills

Safety Data Sheets are maintained for all of the chemical products stored and used in the CMLA Department.  It is the student’s responsibility to familiarize themselves with the location of the Safety Data Sheets in each laboratory.  

Refer to Camosun's Utility Failure information prior to attempting to manage any hazardous spill.

Latex Sensitivity

Latex allergy occurs with relatively high frequency within the healthcare environment and can have serious consequences. If a student has latex allergies, it is the responsibility of the student to identify their latex allergy to the instructor and discuss options to minimize exposure.

7.3 Dress Code and Guidelines

Dress Code and Guidelines

The manner in which you care for and present yourself reflects your respect for the patients and staff with whom you work. It is important that you present a clean, neat and tidy image of yourself as a health care worker and as a representative of the CMLA program.

Dress Code for Uniform, when in laboratory, simulations or clinical settings

  • Uniforms
    Available for purchase through the Camosun Bookstore. Must be worn in all lab/clinical settings unless students have received specific instructions otherwise. A selection of lab coats maybe available for loan from your instructor.  After each use, uniforms and lab coats must be laundered before returning to the school.
  • Shoes
    Shoes with soft soles and rubber heels, closed toes, low heels and closed back (running shoes with solid uppers acceptable)must be worn in labs, this is a WorkSafeBC requirement. Clogs and sandals are not acceptable. Recommend white or black shoes
  • Name tag
    Available for purchase through the Camosun Bookstore. Must be worn in all lab/clinical settings unless students have received specific instructions otherwise.
  • Jewellery
    Minimal jewellery is permitted in a clinical area, with the following possible exceptions: Medi-alert bracelets/necklaces single, plain wedding band small stud earrings.
  • Watch
    The VIHA Hand Hygiene policy specifies that: "Wrist watches, bracelets, bangles or other wrist adornments must be removed when caring for patients (exception: Medical Alert Bracelets) as they inhibit correct hand hygiene".
  • Hair
    Clean, neat and kept up off collar and face. Long hair tied back or in a bun; no long ponytails. No hair extensions to be worn in clinical.
  • Beards
    Full beards may not be permitted (due to mask fit requirements); moustaches/goatees must be trimmed short and must fit within a mask.
  • Fingernails
    Short, clean. No nail polish. No artificial nails or nail extensions.
  • Make-up
    Minimal make-up.
  • Body Odour
    Unpleasant body odours from poor hygiene are unacceptable. Please remember to bathe and use deodorant.
  • Scents
    No perfume/cologne or aftershave to be worn in lab, simulation or clinical situations.
  • Additional PPE Provided by Camosun for use in face to face labs may include:
    Gowns, gloves, goggles or face shields, masks.

Reference Links


8. Practicum Guidelines

8.1 Clinical and Community Placement Protocol

Students will find information on their practicum expectations within their practical skills and practicum course materials. Consult with your instructor or Chair if you are unable to locate your supporting documents.

  1. Clinical and Community Placement Protocol
  2. Student Safety and orientations on practicums
  3. Practice Guidelines/Professional Standards of Practice
  4. Practice Appraisals

8.2 Student Safety and Orientations on Practicums

Site Orientation

At the start of practicum, a period of time will be designated as "orientation." During the orientation period, students must seek direct supervision before interacting with a patient at all times. Students will be required to attend scheduled orientation activities, as well as complete additional self-directed activities throughout the remainder of the week. Students will be required to complete an orientation checklist as evidence that they have become familiar with the department and know where to reference site policies and procedures should a new or challenging situation arise. 

Student Injury Reporting While at Clinical Placement

WorkSafeBC (WSBC) coverage is extended to all students during a clinical practicum. A practicum is defined as an integral component of a program which is required for program completion and certification. It is an unpaid and supervised work experience which takes place at the host employer's premises or place of business. Out-of-province clinical practicums are not covered by WSBC.

The process for student injury reporting is as follows:

  • The student must report the injury to his or her supervisor on site and to the Program Assistant.
  • The student should be strongly encouraged to report to a first aid attendant or medical practitioner or medical treatment facility as appropriate.
  • The student must complete a Form 6A "Worker's Report of injury or Occupational disease to Employer" for all injuries which arose or are claimed to have arisen from activities undertaken as part of a practicum as defined by WSBC. This form must be faxed to the Camosun Occupational Safety & Health Liaison, at 250-370-3664.

Note Form 6A can be misleading in that it contains information on contacting WSBC, but it must be forwarded to Camosun Occupational Safety and Health Liaison, who will fill out the "Employer's Report of Injury" and forward it to the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills for authorization.

It is recommended that the Designated Employee have copies of the WSBC Form 6A readily available in the case of a sudden injury. The WSBC Form 6A is available online.

Note WSBC's Teleclaim process is NOT set up for use by students.

8.3 Supervision

Determining the appropriate level of supervision for a student depends on patient acuity/complexity, and the student's prior knowledge and clinical experience.

The ability of a student to perform a single procedure unassisted or pass a single competency assessment does not imply that the student has developed the competence to function independently. A student must first gain adequate exposure to a variety of clinical scenarios before being expected to function independently or with minimal guidance. Therefore, there are specific guidelines to follow when determining the appropriate supervision for a student.

For a student to be deemed competent enough to perform procedures independently requires a combination of academic learning, laboratory simulation (MLAB 121 and MLAB 151) and validation of competence during the clinical practicum course (PRAC 180).

A student who learns to perform a more advanced procedure during his or her clinical practicum cannot be deemed clinically competent since all academic requirements have not yet been met. To protect students and ensure patient safety, during the practicum, all students must work under direct supervision (designated employee is present in the procedure room observing student) at all times.

In addition, the students level of participation (observed, assisted, or unassisted) must be established between the student and designated employee before attempting each procedure. This may be a collaborative decision between the student and the designated employee and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. When a clinical scenario is deemed too difficult for the student's level of competence/experience, assistance from a designated employee is required to ensure high quality and safe patient care.

8.4 Practice Guidelines/Professional Standards of Practice

Learning Contracts

Should there be concerns about student progress, the Clinical Liaison should be notified and a learning contract may be put in place. This learning contract is put in place to support the student in attaining the required outcomes for practicum course completion and continuation in the program. It is intended to clarify what outcomes must be met within a specified timeframe. Unsuccessful completion of the learning contract may be considered an indication that the student is at significant risk of receiving a final grade status of "not complete (NC)" for the practicum course and may not be able to complete the program. 

CSMLS Competency-Based Curriculum

The clinical education component of the Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant program is designed to ensure that graduates meet the entry-level requirements for a Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA) practicing in Canada.

It is important to note that students will gradually become proficient at performing each procedure throughout their entire clinical practicum experience. It is presumed that not all students will gain clinical exposure to all of the procedures listed in this handbook. An individual student's experience performing each procedure could be site dependent.

It is up to the Designated Employee/mentor to help the student set appropriate learning goals based on what is available at each practicum site. The ability for a student to reach entry-to-practice capability on an overall basis will require satisfactory performance in both simulated and clinical assessment. Clinical assessment must include documented experiences that are representative of the total CSMLS Competency Profile. This includes completion of the activities established during the clinical practicum course and completion of the Portfolio of Clinical Experience and Competence.

Practicum-Based Courses

There is one practicum-based course in the Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant program PRAC 180 Clinical Practicum.

Each practicum-based course includes an online component, which allows students to stay connected with the school and each other throughout the duration of the clinical term. Camosun's learning management system, Desire2Learn (D2L), enables students to access support materials, submit clinical documentation, complete assignments, track absenteeism, view course completion status, participate in discussion forums, and many other activities. Participation in online activities is an essential part of each practicum-based course.

Academic Preparation

During academic terms, students are required to complete a series of courses having an integrated curriculum, which helps students to develop the foundational skills needed to practice in the clinical environment. Course assessments are designed to ensure that students arrive with the minimum level of competence needed to be safe to practice under the level of supervision specified for each phase of learning. 

Description of Clinical Progression

Novice Phase

During the novice phase, students may only perform procedures under the direct supervision of a Medical Laboratory Assistant.

At the beginning of Clinical Practicum, students will be expected to observe or assist with specimen collection procedures, as this will be the first time they are encountered in the clinical setting. Students will be provided with a pocket book for documenting daily experiences. Students will be required to keep a record of the accession number, date performed, details of collection, and the Designated Employee initials to validate their participation in these procedures.

Starting in week 2, students will be expected to perform a minimum number of routine phlebotomies unassisted, demonstrating optimal quality and best practices. Optimal quality and best practices must be evident by having a MLA complete an Observation Form. Students are encouraged to start practicing all procedure steps as soon as they have observed or assisted with a similar case type; however students should not necessarily expect that all attempts at performing a procedure unassisted will be accepted for the portfolio.

Completion of all Clinical Practicum activities is representative that the student has achieved the novice level of clinical competence and is ready to progress to the advanced beginner phase of the program.

Advanced Beginner Phase

At the beginning of week 4 of the Clinical Practicum, students will be expected to expand on their prior level of clinical competence by participating in more advanced procedures, demonstrating optimal quality, best practices and independent decision-making. Evidence of best practices and independent decision-making must be validated by having a MLA complete an Observation Form.

Once students have demonstrated sufficient practical experience and several unassisted procedures have been validated (with the exception of infrequent/unavailable procedures), they will have the opportunity to attempt several Advanced Beginner Competency Assessments. Starting in week 3-5 students must demonstrate several successful attempts on procedures having varied levels of adaptation and/or complexity

8.5 Practice Assessment and Evaluation

Guidelines for Clinical Assessment - Learning Pillars

Learning pillars are domains that represent the broader learning outcomes in the Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant program. These domains are used for assessment of clinical competence and to guide student development throughout each phase of learning. All of these domains are interdependent and integrated throughout the entire program. Depending on the learning activity or assessment, one domain may be emphasized more than the others. These pillars directly link to program outcomes.

Learning Pillar

Key Program Outcome

ProfessionalismDemonstrate professionalism in a variety of health care settings and situations by exemplifying the core professional attributes of a Medical Laboratory Assistant by adhering to the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists’ Code of Ethics and Best Practice Guidelines.
KnowledgeProduce optimal quality diagnostic samples by applying their knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, pathology, professionalism, communication, and scientific principles.
Safe PracticeManage clinical interactions proficiently utilizing best practices in a competent, safe, and responsible manner, observing legal and ethical workplace standards.
CommunicationPractice appropriate, accurate, effective communication with members of the public and all members of the health care team.
TeamworkSupport and promote a collaborative approach to providing high quality, patient-centred care with cultural humility, while ensuring the effective functioning of self.
Critical ThinkingRespond independently to challenging and complex practice situations by evaluating relevant variables to make appropriate decisions or solve problems.
CompetenceMeet the entry-to-practice capabilities of the CSML


Formative Evaluation

Formative evaluations are needed to assess overall performance within a specific timeframe and to provide ongoing feedback to a student. These evaluations are intended to motivate future learning and improvement. There is a formative evaluation form specifically designed for each phase of clinical progression (novice and advanced beginner). In general, students will be evaluated based on specific assessment criteria, which are categorized by learning pillar.

Each learning pillar will have one or more key course learning outcomes. "Critical criteria" on formative evaluations are different than critical criteria that are included as part of a single clinical scenario competency assessment. Non-critical criteria represent areas where students may require further guidance or where performance may be less consistent due to variability in clinical experiences and learning opportunities. For critical criteria, a higher degree of consistency in performance will be expected.

Tips and Techniques for Providing Feedback

There are several factors contributing to student development of competence during clinical practicum. In additional to student preparation, successful development depends on the experiences that are available at each clinical site, coordinated scheduling of clinical rotations, appropriate interpersonal interactions with staff and instructors, and the effectiveness of feedback.

Clinical Staff-Student Interactions

"To avoid conflict of interest, a teacher must not enter into a dual-role relationship with a student that is likely to detract from student development or lead to actual or perceived favoritism on the part of the teacher." (Murray, Gillese, Lennon, Mercer, Robinson, 1996)

During academic terms, students learn about appropriate professional relationships from faculty and peers. Professional boundaries must also be established during a clinical staff-student relationship—in other words, we must "practice what we preach". To assist clinical staff Designated Employee in maintaining professional boundaries, the following guidelines have been established in the Allied Health & Technologies Department at Camosun:

  1. Workplace mentors (Clinical Instructors, Designated Employees, & Supervisors) should not give out their personal phone number(s). Students must be provided with clinical site contact numbers. In general, email and D2L are the preferred method of communication with students.
  2. Workplace mentors (Clinical Instructors, Designated Employees, & Supervisors) should not socialize with students outside of the class/practicum setting in any manner whatsoever.
  3. Provision of a personal/character/employment reference related to the program of study for a student by an instructor or workplace mentor is strictly prohibited; however a professional reference for purposes of a financial aid/award is acceptable.
  4. Instructors and workplace mentors cannot give to or receive gifts from students. There is great potential for perceiving such a gesture as bribery or favoritism. This may pose a challenge for instructors and workplace mentors, particularly with students from other cultures where gift giving is an expected practice when saying "thank-you". It is therefore critical that instructors and workplace mentors make it clear from the start that gifts will not be accepted (cards and shared treats are allowed). If the students feel very strongly about giving something, the instructor might suggest that a gift to the clinical site department or a donation to a student bursary would be suitable.
  5. Finally, it is crucial to remember that we are our students' instructors, not their peers. Our role is to mentor, guide, facilitate and describe clear, specific expectations for practice while maintaining our professional boundaries.
  6. Failure of just one person to follow the above guidelines will have a profound impact on the rest of the teaching team.

8.6 Attendance and Absenteeism (Clinical)

In order to meet course outcomes and develop entry-level clinical competence, attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to participate in 30 hours of clinical practice per week.

Clinical hours will be distributed across four days in a manner which optimizes each student's potential for meeting clinical requirements. Therefore, shift distribution will be site dependent and will not necessarily be scheduled on consecutive days. Shift start times will range from mornings to afternoons, evenings, and nights. With the exception of "extenuating circumstances" (see description in program handbook), personal requests for scheduling will not be taken into consideration and shift change requests throughout the term are not permitted.

Absenteeism during Orientation

Students must first complete an orientation at each clinical site before beginning regular rotations and proceeding with other course requirements. Students who are unable to complete orientation requirements within the first two weeks of the practicum will not be permitted to continue in the course.

Absenteeism during Regular Rotations

Students who miss two or more days within the same rotation will automatically be required to make up this time during the remediation time/flexible rotation. Students who miss two or more days within the same rotation on multiple occasions should consider themselves at significant risk of receiving "not complete (NC)" as their final grade for the course.

Students who miss a single day due to illness or other personal reasons will not be able to make up lost clinical time. Students who miss a single day on multiple occasions (more than four instances) will automatically be required to make up this time during the remediation time/flexible rotation. Students who miss significant clinical time due to absenteeism and who are unable to meet clinical requirements will receive a "not complete (NC)" as their final grade for the course.

Reporting Absenteeism

Student absenteeism from clinical days must be communicated to the program by means of the online course discussion forum (D2L). Although participation in the required clinical time will be included as part of clinical assessments, it is the student's responsibility to report any missed clinical time, including illness or lateness. Except in the case of an emergency, students will also be required to directly notify the designated individual at the clinical site prior to their expected arrival time. Chronic absenteeism, including repeated lateness, may result in a formal learning contract.

The clinical rotation has been developed so that all students have equal opportunity to each procedure area and clinical instruction time, and that demand is minimized on your respective medical imaging departments. It is important that there are no alterations made to the clinical schedule.
You may attend important appointments, but should not expect to have any adjustments made to your schedule. Clinical days missed for appointments, illness, and other circumstances will be recorded as days absent. If you have a personal concern about missing clinical time, you may opt to make up the shift that was missed during non-mandatory time.

You do not have to disclose the nature of your appointments for missing clinical time.

Attendance is a critical criterion on your formative evaluation. All critical criteria must be met on each formative evaluation. You may be at risk for receiving an incomplete grade if you do not follow attendance guidelines.

Academic Days

Students should consider an academic day to be a day reserved for school-related activities. Students may be expected to attend examinations on campus, or participate in other course-related activities during this time. Students should not make arrangements to attend to personal matters such as appointments without first consulting with the course instructors for both online and clinical courses. Students may be expected to meet with a course instructor, either on campus, during a site visit, or through Skype/telephone during academic time. Requests made by students to adjust the allocation of academic days within the clinical rotation schedule will not be permitted.


9. Program Resources for Learning

9.1 Roles and Responsibilities

Camosun College


  • Adheres to guidelines and policies established by the school for a safe and effective clinical education experience
  • Adheres to CMLA clinical site policies and guidelines related to clinical practice and student practice
  • Takes personal responsibility for learning and is familiar with the information posted to D2L
  • Upholds the program values and professional expectations while continuing educational program off site (at practicum site)
  • Actively participates in laboratory procedures and recognizes the dual-role of the clinical setting as a learning environment and patient care/treatment facility
  • Maintains professional boundaries and resolves personal conflict/personal ethical dilemmas without being disruptive to others
  • Seeks help when needed and never works outside of personal scope of practice

Camosun Instructor/Liaison

  • Manages/updates D2L content
  • Manages/responds to online discussion forums
  • Conducts site visits to ensure students are meeting course learning objectives/clinical requirements according to suggested milestones
  • Provides written feedback to students on all assignments
  • Helps resolve conflicts
  • Initiates success plans and/or learning contracts when remediation determined by the Designated Employee does not result in favourable outcomes
  • Determines final course grade (status of completion)
  • Member of the Clinical Liaison Committee

Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant Program Leader

  • Participates/facilitates collaboration between clinical sites and school (e.g. Clinical Liaison Committee and Program Advisory Committee)
  • Supports students (e.g. responding to student questions or concerns)
  • Supports faculty and designated employees (e.g. provides resources and information)

Allied Health & Technologies Department Chair

  • Participates/facilitates collaboration between clinical sites and school (e.g. Clinical Liaison Committee and Program Advisory Committee)
  • Participates/facilitates collaboration between Department and external partners (e.g. Other Schools, Health Authorities, Ministries, Regulators, Government)
  • Supports students (e.g. involvement in learning contracts, student appeals, learning accommodations)
  • Supports faculty (e.g. involvement in Scheduled Development, workload, scheduling, budget)

Health Care Organization

Designated Employee

  • Fills the roll of clinical workplace mentor
  • Offered training by the program for evaluation of students (competency assessments and formative evaluations)
  • Maintains appropriate professional boundaries/student-instructor relationship
  • Provides feedback in a supportive and constructive manner
  • Helps resolve student-staff interactions/conflicts
  • Is familiar with the contents of the clinical portfolio and all workplace student records
  • Understands the guidelines and learning process established by the school for safe and effective clinical education
  • Expected to observe/supervise student practice and offer assistance/guidance in daily practice scenarios
  • Expected to provide verbal feedback as well as written feedback through the use of competency, formative, and observation forms
  • May be a member of the Clinical Liaison Committee

Clinical Staff/Medical Laboratory Assistants

  • Expected to intervene/correct student practice and offer assistance in practice scenarios which may result in error, injury or other untoward events
  • Expected to observe/supervise student practice and offer assistance in daily practice scenarios
  • Encouraged to provide verbal feedback as well as written feedback through the use of observation forms
  • Have not been trained by the program for evaluation of students (does not complete competency assessments and formative evaluations)

Clinical Site Supervisor/Leader/Department Manager

  • Participates/facilitates collaboration between clinical sites and school (e.g. Clinical Liaison Committee and Program Advisory Committee)
  • Meets the needs of students and staff
  • Site supervisors participate in managing student practice when the Designated Employee is not on site or not available
  • Site supervisors or training coordinators who have been trained by the program for evaluation of students, may complete competency assessments or formative evaluations when the Designated Employee is not on site or not available

9.2 Terminology

Levels of Clinical Competence


A student who has met or is in progress for completion of Clinical Practicum. Novices typically "recall" information and rely on repetition of similar experiences. The novice level of competence is based on the ability to demonstrate all critical criteria, along with a reasonable attempt at all other skills (non-critical criteria), demonstrating optimal quality and best practices. Novice students must work under direct supervision and be observed in their interactions with patients at all times.

Advanced Beginner

Advanced beginners should begin to "analyze, interpret, and synthesize" information when faced with new experiences.


A student who has completed Clinical Practicum requirements and can demonstrate all entry-to-practice capabilities on a reliable basis (or graduate of the Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant Program).

Levels of Participation/Supervision

Determining the appropriate level of participation for a student is a collaborative decision between the student and designated employee and must be evaluated on a case-by-case/daily basis. This may depend on acuity, complexity, and the student's prior knowledge and clinical experience.

Observed (O)

The student must be observant of all steps of the procedure; minimal contact or interaction with the patient; may have assisted with simple tasks (e.g. stocking phlebotomy trays) most likely when a new examination type is encountered or when the patient complexity/acuity is high, etc.

Assisted (A)

The student should demonstrate all critical criteria and must observe all steps of the procedure not performed independently; most likely when experience with the examination type is limited; there is a sudden change in patient status or an unexpected complication, etc.

Unassisted (U)

The student must demonstrate all critical criteria and perform all other steps of the procedure with minimal guidance/minimal instructions; most likely when a similar examination type has already been observed or assisted with; the patient complexity/acuity is low, etc.

A novice student is expected to demonstrate all critical criteria without prompting, but may only be able to execute the remaining procedural steps by following direct instructions/clarification. With guidance, the novice student should be able to recognize optimal quality and best practices.

An advanced beginner student is expected to demonstrate all critical criteria without prompting and execute the remaining procedural steps independently or with minimal guidance. The advanced beginner student is expected to demonstrate independent decision-making, while maintaining the ability to recognize optimal quality and best practices.

The level of participation must be established between the student and designated employee before attempting the procedure. When a clinical scenario is deemed too difficult for the student's level of competence/experience, assistance from a designated employee is required to ensure high quality and safe patient care.

Direct Supervision

Direct supervision means that a designated employee is present in the room with the student and carefully observing (or directing) all student-patient interactions.

A student entering the practicum will not be proficient at performing procedures on real patients and must only interact with patients under direct supervision.


There are a variety of tools used to direct learning in the clinical environment and required as evidence for meeting the learning outcomes of each practicum course.

Portfolio of Clinical Experience and Competence

(Also called the portfolio) The portfolio is a document that is used to record confidential information about student participation in specific department procedures, as well as student assessment results. The portfolio must remain at the clinical site in a secure location during a clinical term and must be returned to the school or collected by the Clinical Liaison at completion of the clinical rotation.

Student Pocket Book

The pocket book is an intermediary between daily work and the portfolio used to record daily clinical activities, including procedures participated in with designated employees. Observation forms and the level of participation must be documented in the pocket book on the day the procedure was performed. The pocket book must remain at the clinical site during a clinical term and must be returned to the school or collected by the Clinical Liaison at completion of the clinical rotation.

Observation Form

A "pre-assessment" form, which focuses entirely on observable critical criteria and limited performance indicators. Observations forms are included in the pocket book.

There are two types of observations forms: daily performance and single procedure.

Single procedure observation forms are used to validate that student performance of an unassisted case met the criteria appropriate for the practicum level. A completed observation form is needed to transfer any unassisted procedure from the pocket book to the portfolio.

Daily performance observation forms are used to provide frequent feedback on student performance.

Steps for completing an observation form:

  • Student briefly reviews the request to ensure procedure/workload is appropriate.
  • Designated employee agrees to observe student performance and record feedback
  • Student ensures form has been completed, including designated employee’s name and initials.
  • Student submits observation for to clinical course via. D2L to be used for reflective practice

Competency Assessment Form

Assessment form used to validate that student performance of particular clinical scenario met level of competence appropriate for practicum level. Novice Competency Assessment Forms are bound in the novice portfolio. Advanced Beginner Competency Assessment Forms are provided as loose forms.

Each individual assessment provides detailed feedback regarding student performance, focusing on critical criteria, as well as additional non-critical steps. Before attempting a competency assessment, a student must demonstrate sufficient ability and/or be able to provide documented evidence that sufficient clinical (or academic) experience has been gained for that procedure. In other words, a competency assessment should not be the first time the students is attempting to perform that particular procedure. Students may begin to attempt competency assessments while simultaneously working to achieve unassisted procedures for the remaining competencies.

Each competency assessment determines whether or not the student has demonstrated a satisfactory level of competence in that particular clinical (or simulated) scenario and may be treated as representative of how they would most likely perform in a future similar situation. Results of successful attempts are accumulated and contribute to a student's summative assessment of clinical competence.

Formative Evaluation Form

Assessment form used to judge ongoing student progression/increasing clinical competence (usually bi-weekly or at the end of a clinical rotation in a procedure area). Formative Evaluation Forms are bound in the portfolio. All formative evaluation forms must be submitted to D2L according to the deadlines specified in the course syllabi.

Results of formative evaluations are not cumulative, and only represent student performance for the specified period of time. It is expected that while students are gaining experience in the clinical setting and moving between procedure areas/clinical sites, consistency in performance may fluctuate. However, students who are repeatedly unable to meet expectations or demonstrate improvement will be required to participate in remedial activities. A student must meet the appropriate level of competence by the final formative evaluation in order to receive a complete grade status for each clinical course (see rating scale).

Scenario/Case Selection for Competency Assessment

Testing scenarios (simulated or clinical) become increasingly more challenging as students advance through various learning activities and/or clinical experiences. This includes:

  • Routine
  • Minimally Adaptive
  • Trauma/Acute/Adaptive
  • Mobility (or non-ambulatory )
  • Pediatric (infant, toddler, or young child)

In order to prepare for competency assessments, students are expected to practice a variety of clinical scenarios throughout their scheduled clinical hours. It is the student's responsibility to seek out appropriate case scenarios and be aware of individual progress.

Desire-2-Learn (D2L)

D2L is Camosun's Learning Management System (LMS). All students enrolled in the program, as well as clinical staff who have ongoing involvement with the program, will have access to the online content applicable to the clinical practicum course. This can be accessed through a web browser at any time.

D2L News Feed

The D2L News Feed is used as a centralized communication hub for updates and reminders pertaining to the all courses. The News Feed is accessible to all students enrolled in courses, academic instructors, Clinical Liaisons - the faculty course instructors, and clinical site staff who are directly involved in assessment and evaluation. Online content should be considered dynamic. All users are encouraged to set their notification settings to have notices sent directly to their email accounts. It is recommended that the News Feed be reviewed on a daily basis.

Discussion Forum

Online public forums are available for general inquiries about matters related to academic courses and clinical practicum courses, such as questions about assignments, guidelines, learning goals, etc. All users, including clinical site staff, are encouraged to post inquiries or comments and respond to each other. The Clinical Liaison and/or faculty course instructors will review posts on a daily basis. All efforts will be made to provide a response within 48 business hours.


10. Info for Graduates

10.1 Licensing & Professional Association Information

In order to be certified as an MLA, graduates must apply to the British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science (BCSLS) or Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS).

Certifications a one-time process in which graduates of approved programs can demonstrate that they have attained a recognized level of standards and training through BCSLS approved educational institutions receive a Certificate of Qualifications. This certification is essential for employment in BC at most health authority and corporate laboratories.

Membership in the BCSLS can be renewed each year for a 12 month period. Membership has many benefits: Leadership opportunities, significant discounts on educational seminars and Congress, the right to vote at the Annual General Meeting and hold elected office with BCSLS.

Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS)

CSMLS offers national certification for Certified Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLAs). Although not yet mandatory in every province in Canada, MLA certification is quickly gaining recognition as the standard requirement in the profession. More information on this process can be found on the CSMLS website.

Ongoing Regulation

The Ministry for Health is in the process of reviewing the regulation of health professionals in BC and the creation of appropriate professional colleges.  A professional college serves and protects the public, and acts in the public interest at all times, making sure its registrants are qualified, competent and follow defined standards of practice and ethics. Professional colleges are responsible for responding to complaints from patients and the public. They can also take action if one of their registrants is practicing in a manner that is incompetent, unethical, illegal or impaired by alcohol, drugs or illness.

Medical Laboratory Assistants in BC can expect to see many developments in regulation over the next 3-5 years.