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Med. Tech. school enviroment vs Lab. working enviroment. [Jul. 3rd, 2009|01:16 pm]
Medical Technologists
I'm glad to have found this site, I though there was no place out there for Med. Techs to exchange experiences.
Now, this is my issue.
I'm 4 weeks away from finishing a Med. Tech. program and about 6 weeks from taking my board exam, but during the past school year my classmates and I had been exchanging feelings of discontent about our schools' training techniques and how they will affect us once we hit the real world.
Our school schedule run lectures and rotations simultaneusly. We we're in lab in the morning for about 4 hours and lecture in the afternoon for about 3 hours. Due to the obvious time constrictions, our lab rotations are more focused on execution and production than correlating lectures with clinical work (at least that's how we fell them). This make everybody think  that we were training just to work as a "line production worker".  Also, in the rotation areas, we were treated as if we were uncompetent workers rather than sudents. Our questions were mostly anwered with the likes of: " you don't you know that"? or "you should know that already", moreover, with an attitude of humiliation.  Is this a common practice in Med. Tech. schools or do we just happen to be in a bad school?
Right now, I'm feeling that it was a big mistake switching from Pharmacy to Medical Technologist; I'm just hoping that everything will be different once I dive completely into the field.  

Here are some questions:
I was told before that Lab. professionals were not friendly people, but I was not expecting that to be true (sadly in our school program it is true). Is it every lab working enviroment  as uncomfortable and unprofessional as ours? 
Am I going to have the opportunity to "re-train"some of my weak areas once I start working? I mean, I never got to issue any blood product from blood bank (go figure), or am I expected to start producing  20 test per minute right away? 
Are turn around times more important than the quality of the tests? Or is it just in our hospital? It seems to be a conflicting issue to me.
Lastly, I'm studying for the board, but my lecture notes do not covered everything asked on the practice questions. Does anybody knows any good review-book or website that could help me with my studying?
I am very much thank full for any reply.

[User Picture]From: apotropaic
2009-07-03 06:47 pm (UTC)
I hope you don't already have a job lined up at this lab - it sounds awful!

Alas, in terms of correlating lectures with clinical work, I truly feel as if that is the school's responsibility, not the person training you in the lab. Of course it's really really important to know the theory, but when you're actually in the lab, it's the practical you need to be more concerned with that. Different departments will require different amounts of applied knowledge from what you've learned in school. For example, I work in microbiology - I use my knowledge from school every single day. It might be different for someone working the chemistry line.

I don't believe you should have experienced the humiliation that you have. I work in a teaching hospital, so along with med tech students, I'm constantly teaching infectious disease fellows, pathology residents, and pediatrics residents. They all have different amounts of knowledge in the field, and teaching is tailored to each. I do feel like there is some basic knowledge that people should have on their rotations, but more importantly to me is that people retain knowledge. If you don't know something important initially, I won't hold it against you... but I will later if it's something I've gone over thorougly and you don't remember it 2 days later.

From my experiences in microbiology, there really is an emphasis on both quality of turn-around time and quality of the tests.

As for training, in my department we realize that training in micro (which is very hands-on) takes at least a year to be comfortable with the basics.

So although I can't speak for every hospital and every program, I would strongly encourage you look for a job at a hospital other than the one you trained at.

As for studying materials, I highly recommend "Clinical Laboratory Science Review: A Bottom Line Approach." Most of the people I went to school with used it, and we always recommend it to our students. I also used the "Quick Review Cards for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences Examination" and found those to be very helpful.

Good luck!

(edit: I feel like I should state that my med tech schooling was arranged very differently - we had about 2.5 months of classes, followed by 2 months of rotations, then another 2.5 months of classes and 2 months of rotations.)

Edited at 2009-07-03 06:51 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: m0nkeygrl
2009-07-03 10:15 pm (UTC)
I'll second "Clinical Laboratory Science Review: A Bottom Line Approach". That is an awesome book! I did that and the simulation of the computer tests that came with the BOR study guide. I remember they were on 3.5" floppy disks. Holy shit am I that old...?

To the OP: It sounds like you're just running into a high concentration of unfriendly people. Most of the people I've worked with when I've first started a lab job have been nice and helpful. Still there will always be one or two assholes, but that's everywhere in life, not just labs. :) Don't worry too much about your "weak areas", you won't be cut loose to do anything until you're fully trained and competent (at least you shouldn't be). No one will expect you to jump in and perform like someone who's been there for years. The S.O.P. manual will be your bible.

Good luck on your test and with finding a job!
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[User Picture]From: apotropaic
2009-07-04 10:10 pm (UTC)

re: the floppy disks

Pshaw - I'm older than you! Mine was on CD though, because I didn't do the med tech program until I was nearly 30!
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[User Picture]From: kejlina
2009-07-04 02:05 pm (UTC)
"I feel like I should state that my med tech schooling was arranged very differently - we had about 2.5 months of classes, followed by 2 months of rotations, then another 2.5 months of classes and 2 months of rotations."

And mine is arranged differently from both of you :)

I get two years of labs and lectures, but the labs are on campus and are usually run by the same professors we have for lectures. Third year is clinical rotations, where we'll be in the lab for 8 hours a day. We don't get lectures during this period but we do have required reading and some online quizzes to do.

But I'm in Canada and my program is for a three-year diploma instead of a four-year degree, so there's that. I think our degree programs are run similarly, though, with the fourth year consisting solely of clinicals.
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From: gto_72
2009-07-04 04:44 pm (UTC)
Wow! kejlina your program sounds superb when compare to mine. Can you beleive that some of the students in the class previous to mine were actually my teachers in some of my rotations. They gave me bad grades for stupid things like the way I answered the phone. Can you beleive that? I had a 3.75 GPA when I apply to this program. Now, I'm even afraid to see it. I just want my degree with no grades whatsoever.
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[User Picture]From: apotropaic
2009-07-04 10:07 pm (UTC)
And now I feel like I need to clarify again! I did a post-grad program, so my degree is actually in psychology. The med tech program was a 1 year program, in which I have a certification and which made me eligible to take the ASCP certification exam for med techs.

There aren't very many 4-year med tech programs left in the US, most are either a single year after a degree has already been rewarded, or it's the last year of a 4-year degree program, with the students often being sent away to schools like the one I attended to complete that last year, but earning their degree from their home university. (whew - forgive the run-on sentence!)
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[User Picture]From: kejlina
2009-07-04 10:27 pm (UTC)
Ohhh okay. We have one-year programs too for technicians :) the three and four year programs are for the technologists.
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[User Picture]From: apotropaic
2009-07-04 10:32 pm (UTC)
And here, you can do a MLT at at community college that does not require a bachelor's, although I believe they're usually 2 year programs, and you get your associate degree at the end.
OR you can do the "4+1" or "3+1" to be a technologist.
The "4+1" is when you get a bachelors in whatever subject you major in, then take the one year med tech program afterwards.
The "3+1" is when you do the med tech program as your last year of your bachelors, so that you degree is actually in med tech.
And then there are traditional 4 year programs, but it's rare for schools to offer them anymore, it seems.

And I'm sure there are other variations!

What sort of certification exam do you have to take? Is it still ASCP or NCCLS, or is it something different? Or do you have to take a certification exam at all?

(btw: icon love!)

Edited at 2009-07-04 10:35 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: kejlina
2009-07-05 04:25 am (UTC)
I'll have to take an exam from the CSMLS - the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science. The technicians also take an exam from them but it's my understanding that their exam covers less material than the exam for technologists.
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[User Picture]From: tzigana
2009-07-05 01:09 pm (UTC)
Is that the one with all the cartoons?

I gave away most of my study books to the next years class, as I had no intention of taking the other exam after I passed the first one, so I'm trying to remember them based on covers, and of course those apparently changed in the last 5 years.
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[User Picture]From: apotropaic
2009-07-05 09:43 pm (UTC)
Yup, it's the one with cartoons. =)
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[User Picture]From: tzigana
2009-07-06 06:30 pm (UTC)
Dude, that one was awesome. We used it throughout our internship, after we made them get us our own copies once they showed us a few pages.
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