The medical laboratory placement courses are mandatory and offered in both years of the Associate Degree in Medical Laboratory Science.
This program prepares students to pursue career opportunities in hospital and private pathology laboratories as qualified medical laboratory technicians.
On graduation, the opportunity exists to complete the Bachelor of Biomedical Science with one further year of full-time study.
In today’s workplace, employers seek graduates who have relevant qualifications as well as skills and competencies related to the pathology industry. This includes experience in pathology-based work integrated learning that meets the professional objectives of the employer's organisation.
The Medical Laboratory Placement courses provide an opportunity for students to obtain academic credit for a course at University at the same time as gaining valuable experience in the workplace prior to completing their studies and seeking employment in their chosen field.
Undertaking a clinical placement as part of the Associate Degree in Medical Laboratory Science provides students with graduate attributes which meet pathology industry expectations. UniSC program staff meet annually with employers to ensure that course content, including work integrated learning, remains current and relevant to the industry. A student representative attends meetings of the industry advisory group.
A Medical Laboratory Placement course provides the opportunity to put theory into practice, develop a range of essential skills sought by employers, establish a work history and create networking contacts.
During the academic program, students cement their course experience during industry placements supervised by experienced medical scientists to develop practical skills in laboratory medicine. The placement courses can cover the following clinical areas:
- Pre-Analytical – Specimen Reception
- Clinical Chemistry
- Immunohaematology (Blood Banking)
Placements are located throughout metropolitan, regional and rural areas of Queensland in Pathology Queensland laboratories (public hospitals) or in Private Pathology laboratories.
Timely completion of the Associate Degree Medical Laboratory Science program is dependent on students’ ability to complete placement. If students decline placement opportunities based, for example, on geographical restrictions, they may delay their program completion until both placements are completed and associated assessments are passed. The majority of placement opportunities are located away from the Sunshine Coast. Students are responsible for travel and accommodation costs, and making arrangements for work, family and other commitments while on placement.
Students in the Associate Degree of Medical Laboratory Science program must complete two placement courses.
Placement courses and duration are:
- MLS131 Medical Laboratory Placement 1 20 days full time (12-units)
- MLS231 Medical Laboratory Placement 2 20 days full time (12-units)
The two placement courses each comprise 20 days (usually 4 consecutive weeks) of full time placement consisting of 8 hour days, and are usually outside of the Semester timetables. Any days lost due to public holidays, illness or other absence must be made up to ensure 20 full days are completed in the workplace.
A limited number of placement opportunities are available on the Sunshine Coast. As many job opportunities are located beyond the Sunshine Coast, students are encouraged to consider other locations where they have the possibility of staying with relatives or friends, or to spend time in a community or area that interests them while undertaking placement.
The rural and regional laboratories often provide students with a more ‘hands on’ laboratory experience in multiple clinical areas, whereas a placement in a metropolitan laboratory may only provide one to two clinical areas, but in greater depth.
In the case of locations away from the student's usual place of residence, students will be responsible for arranging and covering the cost of travel and accommodation. The time and cost commitments should be considered by the student well ahead of the placement.
The placement experience involves contact with bodily fluids and tissue samples, including blood. For that reason it is a mandatory requirement for all placement students to be vaccinated against a range of vaccine preventable diseases, including Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Varicella (Chickenpox) Pertussis (Whooping Cough) and COVID-19 - see Mandatory Requirements link below. Students will be responsible for arranging and covering the cost of these requirements.
All pathology placements are organised for the student by the University Clinical Placement Course Coordinator, and require up to 6 months lead in time for this preparation.
NOTE: some of the mandatory checks can take quite some time to organise and students are advised to commence working on obtaining their specific mandatories in a timely manner. Some must be undertaken well in advance of placement offers being made, while others can be attended to once a placement has been confirmed. For example, it will take seven months to complete a vaccination course for Hepatitis B and the time taken to obtain a Blue Card can vary from student to student.
No remuneration or payment is made by the Pathology Organisation to the students or to the University for hosting the student. Students need to consider the impact of the placement on any other work or family arrangements when planning their placement.
Students undertaking an approved medical laboratory placement are covered by the University’s insurance policies.
Students are assessed by completion of a Clinical Placement Guide (Competency Manual) which covers the 6 pathology disciplines. The Competency Manual contains activities for completion during placement and requires a Pathology Supervisor to assess competency in the pathology activity and sign a statement that satisfactory skills have been obtained in the activity.
Students are also required to submit a progress report following the first week of placement, and must complete a daily laboratory notebook to fulfil their assessment requirement.
Workplace supervisors are asked to provide formal feedback on each student's placement, and this forms part of the summative assessment.
In order to pass the courses, a student must complete 20 full days for each placement, complete the assessment listed above, and adhere to all aspects of the “Code of Conduct for Medical Laboratory Science students on work placement”. This Code of Conduct will be included in the placement agreement signed by each student, and copies will be provided prior to attending placement.
Email: Rosemary Rasmussen
For general enquiries about School of Health and Behavioural Sciences work integrated learning opportunities please contact:
Clinical Placements Administrative Assistant
Tel: +61 7 5456 5823