To become a medical technician or medical technologist is to join the ranks of some of the most crucial healthcare professionals in Canada. Medical lab technicians/assistants (MLT/A), under the supervision of a medical lab technologist are responsible for collecting patients’ body tissue and/or blood sample to perform essential tests for the diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease. Depending on the severity of a condition this could directly affect the quality, and length, of a patient’s life.
As you can imagine then, training for lab technician / medical laboratory technician and obtaining your medical technician certification, can be rigorous. And while it is vital that healthcare training programs do put future professionals to the test, with a few tips you can ace your program and step confidently into your role as a medical lab technician, MLT/A.
7 Key Tips to Survive and Thrive in Your Med Lab Technician Program
1. Keep a Trained Eye on Your Why
You have set your sights on this goal, will sacrifice a huge portion of your life energy and will have to juggle your studying with family, friends and perhaps even a job on the side, for a while. This can be taxing in and of itself. You will experience the challenges and the highs of committing to this program and your future and so, you when the going gets tough you need to have a clear idea of why you’re doing all this. Have you always dreamed of being a part of the medical field? Are you creating a better life for yourself, your children, your family back home? To take a moment to consciously consider, write down and keep this “Why” posted in plain sight as you study to achieve your vision, will add fuel to the fire of your determination.
2. There is No Substitute for Hard Work
There will be elements of the program that will come easily to you and others that will test your limits – that’s what needs to be when your work in the lab plays such a crucial role to the health and wellbeing of others. From the start and throughout you program, you want to make every day, every moment, count. Work hard. Period. Set aside the time you need to do what needs to be done. Attend all your classes. Keep up on your homework. And those little, consistent steps will lead to leaps in your exceptional career.
3. Create a Plan, Work Your Plan
To manage all your study, personal and professional responsibilities, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by all there is to do, plan your days. Stress is created by knowing there is a lot to accomplish and not being sure about how you’re going to fit it all in. Map it out in your Day-Timer, or calendar on your phone, by the hour. You’ll see the big picture and the steps to get there and have a no-brainer schedule to follow moment by moment. You’ll be amazed when you look back, to realize how much you achieved by simply setting, and working, a plan. And don’t forget to include the downtime-relaxation, health and joy activities to keep you rejuvenated and connected to those you care about.
4. Care for Self, Be Attentive and Organized
You’re entering a detail-oriented career; it begins in the classroom. Get good rest, nutrition, and exercise so that you’re always brining your A Game. Be aware of the details. Take great notes and organize them, and yourself, to allow your learning and studying habits to take on a vibrant life of their own.
5. Communicate Effectively
If this doesn’t come naturally to you, come out of your comfort zone and learn. You will be connecting and communicating with a wide array of people in your new career. From doctors, nurses, and other members of the healthcare team to patients and their families, you need to be able to communicate precisely, concisely and effectively. Hone your skills in this area. Practice with fellow students and put your focus on enhancing your abilities. And if you don’t know what needs improving, ask. Your instructors are there to encourage you on all levels.
6. Assimilate and Adapt
There’s going to be a huge learning curve professionally, and perhaps even personally, along the way and to excel, sometimes that learning will come in the form of mistakes. This is natural and essential when you’re pushing yourself to the limits (this is where the ‘good life’ is, by the way). Don’t be afraid to leap and fall, but don’t live there. Get up and try again. As is true with any great achiever, you’ll need to assimilate the lessons learned into your life and adapt your ways as you move forward.
7. Surround Yourself with Support
We are stronger, more capable, and able to achieve more when we have the support, even the love, of those around us, cheering us on and/or picking up the slack when needed. Whether this is family, friends, fellow students, or your instructors and admin team, connect with those who are invested in your success and ask for help, when needed. You are not alone. Form a study group. Reach out to an instructor and clarify or ask questions. Ask an administrative staff how to navigate the details of your program. Find the hand to lift you up or the shoulder to rest your head upon at home and realize that you’re giving them a gift to … to be part of your amazing journey to career success and taking your life to new levels.
8. Remember Your Purpose and Persevere
No worthy goal comes without intense work, focus and commitment. You’ve got this! Hundreds of students were just where you are, felt just how you feel, and wondered how they were going to make it – and did! Keep these graduates in mind. In fact, at every chance you get, imagine yourself crossing that stage to accept your diploma, see yourself working in a thriving laboratory, working behind the scenes or with patients. This will help you remember the purposeful career you are embarking on and empower you to persevere.
9. Accentuate the Positive
This is your vision, your dream, and you’ve got a whole cheering section rooting for your success. Realize you will have high and low days, and focus on what you have overcome and accomplished up to here. Celebrate your wins and those lessons learned, and then get ready for more. Take stock of what is working along the way, so you can keep the perspective that in just embarking on this goal you’ve paved the way for a brighter future. And we can’t wait to see where you soar next!
At Anderson College, we know precisely what it takes to set your sights on, and to achieve, the career you imagine and the life you deserve. We’re here to help you navigate this exciting program and new profession, every step along the way. If you’re still deciding if your interests align with a medical lab technician or medical laboratory technologist program, you can take the “Anderson College Medical Professional Career Training Readiness Quiz”.
Quick Links to Fuel Your Success!
We want to make sure you have what you need to succeed! Check out these reference links:
- Anderson Blog – “Expert Insights on Becoming a Med Lab Technician”
- Anderson College’s Medical Lab Technician Assistant program
- Anderson College’s Complete Medical Lab Science program offerings
- Anderson College’s New Medical Laboratory Technology Program to Address Massive Industry Shortages (yahoo.com)