Q: Can you tell us about your background and what you’re doing now?
A: I am an international student from Nigeria. I came to UK in fall of 2013, and graduated in December 2016 with a degree in Medical Laboratory Science. I am currently working in the Clinical Lab at the UK HealthCare Chandler Medical Center.
Q: Why did you choose Medical Laboratory Science as your major/career?
A: My dad is a Medical Laboratory Scientist. He started out running a small private lab, before switching over to sales of reagents and equipment further down the line. Hence, I was introduced to the lab early in life. As I grew older, I began to understand what my dad actually did and how important the lab is. This in turn led me to personally choose MLS as a major/career path because I grew to appreciate the role Medical Laboratory Scientists play in patient health care. The fact that 70 to 80 percent of patient diagnoses made are based on laboratory results goes to show how critical the laboratory is to health care. Being a Medical Laboratory Scientist affords you the opportunity to make a positive influence in the life of an individual, without even having direct contact with the patient. I have also always loved getting hands-on and working in a very practical setting and being a Medical Lab Scientist fits that perfectly.
I really think MLS is a good career path for anyone interested in working in health care. It suits the needs of someone who wants a more indirect role in patient care. Most people going into health care as doctors, pharmacists, or nurses always go with the intent of helping people, but the truth is that you don't necessarily have to be a doctor or nurse or a direct caregiver to help people. Working in the lab and running tests on patients is a means of helping too. The College’s MLS program is great and will prepare you to work in any lab, anywhere.
Q: What is the most surprising or challenging part of your transition from MLS student to lab employee?
A: I honestly will say I that I have not had any specific aspect of my transition be too challenging. However, the one thing that is a bit hard to get used to is the fact that you have to implement what you’ve learned in class to an actual job situation. Because it’s easy to read and understand from a textbook or a note, but when you have to apply that knowledge to a real-world scenario and a real-life patient, it can get a bit challenging. More so, I feel like the ease of transition is slightly dependent on where you work. For instance, I work in the UK HealthCare Chandler Clinical Lab, and working in such a big lab can be a bit unnerving because of the huge workload and the high volume of tests performed. Coming straight out of college, I was not used to working in such a high-tech, fast-paced and time-constrained environment. It certainly takes some getting used to. This is in comparison to someone else who works in a much smaller lab, perhaps a clinic lab where the workflow is probably not as intense. That person might have a faster and smoother transition from student to employee.
Q: What were the main advantages of the College’s MLS program?
A: One of the biggest advantages of the College’s MLS program is the faculty, along with the program director. They are good at what they do, and they genuinely care about the students. It’s not all about exams and grades to them. They actually take their time to make sure students understand what is being taught and also help out whenever or wherever they see someone isn’t doing too well. This goes a long way in establishing that teacher-student connection and subsequently fosters a more conducive learning environment. Furthermore, I think the program is steps ahead of others, in terms of quality of education provided. After interacting with others who attended different MLS programs, I can confidently say that the College’s MLS program is one of the best there is, in terms of the amount of information students are provided with through the course of the program and leading up to the Board of Certification Exam. The program gives you everything you need to know to take the board exams and pass on your first try — provided you supplement with your own personal studying.
Q: What advice would you give a potential MLS student?
A: I would say Medical Laboratory Science is a good major and a great career path. It is one of the few majors available that offers employment opportunities and job security in this present economic situation. It suits whatever path you want to pursue. It is a great undergraduate program for students who seek to go further in their academics, such as pre-med, pre-pharm and pre-dental students, or even others wanting to pursue master’s and doctorate degrees. This is because the classes you take in the program are very similar to the classes you'll take if you get into professional school, and it sets a solid foundation. In addition, going through the rigors of the program helps to build a work ethic and study habits that go a long way in supplementing your education in professional or graduate school. Even to the person who just want to work their everyday 9-5 job, there are ample employment opportunities. This major caters to variety of needs.