For my student practical skills development training, I had the opportunity to be placed as a trainee in the Immunology department of a Women’s and Children’s Hospital. It is naturally agreed that one acquires important practical skills and learns the ropes of one’s profession while on the practicum placement. A career in laboratory medicine requires a lot practical skills and one has to be conversant with many laboratory procedures involved.
The Women’s and Children’s Hospital is one of its kind. It is a care facility that centers on family needs, and it is specifically dedicated to offering services to women and children. Its mission is to bring healing to the children of the communities residing in the region. Meeting the needs of their families is also included in this mission. Giving the best care to their patients is what they aspire to.
My placement lasted for thirteen weeks. The immunology department had nine permanent staff members. They were highly trained and had extensive knowledge in immunology that they shared with amazing enthusiasm. The help I got from them and the amazing interpersonal relations we had led to a successful placement that really opened my eyes to the various tenets of laboratory medicine and its various applications.
In laboratory medicine, pathologists provide services such as testing of blood and urine samples from patients. This is usually in several but differing areas. The immunology department’s focus was to research about the immune responses, the immunologic techniques of analysis, developing a blood bank, and developing immunizations to various diseases such as malaria, typhoid, polio and cholera.
The aims of my placement were numerous. It was envisaged that I would acquire lots of lab management experience, which I did. In lab practice, any errors emerging are recorded and on next meeting, the whole hold in-depth discussions about it and make arrangements to avert the possibility of it happening again. No one carries blame of committing an error the lab staffs are tasked with helping each other. The essence and ways of maintaining high levels of laboratory cleanliness form part of lab management experience I learned.
With the impeccable assistance of a senior immunologist, I was introduced to the current analytical equipment and the innovative biomedical procedures. This introduction was a great enlightenment to me. An appreciation of the various biomedical procedures was also emphasized in detail.
During my placement, I attended two seminars on laboratory quality control. Gaining laboratory quality control knowledge was very important for me. Laboratory quality control focuses on the detection, reduction, and correction of any deficient elements in the process of analysis. Quality control procedures are followed to the latter to ensure production of test results that are of known precision and accuracy. The results also should be prompt, and the tests should within the stipulated test time. The staff emphasized that carrying out procedures that give assurance that a test run is valid enough and that the results will be reliable was mandatory. Quality control in laboratory tests can be achieved through use of quality control samples and committed inspection of equipment to ensure that they are in perfect working condition.
Technology plays a great role in storage and easy retrieval of laboratory data. It is also used in the preparation of sample reports. The staff I was attached to taught me how to collect, handle, and prepare reports of the clinical material. The aim of gaining awareness on legislation, regulation and accreditation of laboratory medical officers was aptly covered. I am appreciated so much this part since it lays the regulations followed in accreditation of successful medical officers.
Moreover, the placement helped me a great deal to grow into a good communicator, acquired informed decision-making skills, became proactive, and learned the essence of working as a team. These skills were imparted through the various activities I took part in, like making report presentations and contributing in seminars, group assignments, and random face off with problems at the work place. The aims of my training were superbly met culminating into a successful placement.
At the end of this semester, I will make a presentation in the University regarding my placement. While I was on my placement, I prepared my presentation, did some practice on it with the staff, and they were very helpful correcting me even in language mistakes therein. With knowledge, training received, and competence in communication developed discussing the clinical significance of the results is possible for me.
My clinical training and practice at the immunology department has helped me develop the requisite competencies required of a medical scientist. The competencies arise as a result of thorough training during my placement. Some tests were very complicated and took long times, even weeks. In those I could not do; I participated by preparing reagents and samples and finally the results report. All the tests methods arewritten by high professional staff, and they are continuously updated.
The staff is a bunch of jovial and helpful people. Each one of them accorded me all the help and support I required in my learning. All my enquiries were dealt with in great finesse and where I slipped, they corrected me with encouragement and amazing humility. It was fun and interesting interacting with them for the time I was there. To begin with, I was taken through a fire cause, which enumerated the various ways to avoid starting of laboratory fires and how to handle them in case of occurrence.
Holding birthday parties for staff in this department was a norm. During the second month of my placement, a birthday party for one staff member took place. Two hours in one afternoon were set aside for this. All the staff and trainees were invited. These two hours enabled me to bond with them and got to know them better.
Moreover, during my placement one staff retired from the hospital. She was a senior immunologist who did her work diligently. She also had a lot of experience in research. Her work at the hospital had lasted for thirty years, which was a feat to admire. The department did not waste a moment to hold a party for her. She challenged me to set a firm foundation for my career by being passionate, work hard in my studies, and aiming at being the best. It was a massive inspiration I got from her.
Essentially, the loosening up that took place occasionally in this department was to enable the staff achieve work-life balance envisaged in the mission of this hospital. Ultimately, this balance will result in excellent execution of their duties and happiness among the staff. Ultimately, this results in offering high-quality healthcare to women and children.
In the immunology department, I was with other five students who were also on training. They hailed from different colleges, and it was insightful sharing with them. We had various discussions regarding the difference the academic laboratories in the university and the lab in the hospital. The hospital laboratory had much superior facilities and employed intensive professionalism. Ultimately, I gained immense experience in lab management.