Published on 11 April 2013
Six University of the Sunshine Coast students have been honing their scientific skills at pathology laboratories at Caloundra, Buderim, Nambour General Hospital and Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane.
They are the first students to complete work placements as part of USC’s new Associate Degree in Medical Laboratory Science.
USC Lecturer in Medical Laboratory Sciences Dr Rebecca Donkin said the two-year associate degree enabled the students to develop technical pathology skills in laboratory medicine.
“Graduates can seek positions as entry-level Medical Laboratory Technicians,” Dr Donkin said.
“One student secured a casual position as a Technician at QML after completing her first placement.”
The course involved 20 days of work-integrated learning at a public or private pathology service. Students received training in clinical areas ranging from cytology (analysing cells of the body) to haematology (studying blood and related organs) to understand, prevent and treat diseases.
Student Penny Blundell of Buderim said she chose the new USC course to build on her qualifications and enjoyed its emphasis on practical science skills.
“Going into relevant workplaces is ideal,” Penny said. “It is a huge chance to meet technicians and scientists, perhaps potential employers, with a wealth of knowledge and ideas to draw upon.”
Kimberley Smith of Mooloolaba said it was an exciting opportunity to be involved in the industry.
“I chose this course because I always wanted to work in a lab and I enjoyed interacting with staff members in a professional environment,” Kimberley said.
The work placement project was possible due to funding made available by Health Workforce Australia as an Australian Government initiative.
— Julie Schomberg