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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

MDLB 1221: Professional Practices and Safety in Health Care

This course takes an in-depth look at the basic principles of professional and safety issues related to the position of medical laboratory assistant (MLA). The main objectives are as follows: clarify the role of the MLA in health care; promote the need for professionalism in the position of MLA; convey the importance of good interpersonal and communication skills; and provide important information about workplace safety.

Learning outcomes

  • Define the responsibilities of the medical laboratory assistant and her/his role in the health care team.
  • Outline how professionalism applies to the role of medical laboratory assistants.
  • Define the legal and ethical considerations associated with being a medical laboratory assistant.
  • Describe effective interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Describe biohazards and routes of transmission.
  • Identify the necessary precautions to take when handling infectious hazards.
  • Describe disinfection and sterilization techniques and recognize the importance of microbial control.
  • Define the key features of Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and identify safety issues associated with laboratory chemicals.
  • Describe the use of safety equipment and outline the components of appropriate accident reporting.
  • Describe the features of quality-assurance improvement programs and the role played by medical laboratory assistants in such programs.
  • Describe the use, operating and cleaning procedures for identified laboratory equipment.
  • Describe basic firefighting and first aid procedures.

Course topics

Module A: An Introduction to the Health Care Team and Important Issues Related to the Medical Laboratory Assistant

Module B: Effective Interpersonal and Communication Skills Applicable to Medical Laboratory Assistants

Module C: The Role of the Medical Laboratory Assistant within the Hospital and Clinical Laboratory

Module D: Quality Assurance/Improvement Programs

Module E: Legal and Ethical Issues Involving the Medical Laboratory Assistant

Module F: Infection, Infection Control, and Isolation Systems

Module G: Effective Handling of Biohazardous Material

Module H: Microbial Control, Cleaning and Operation of Laboratory Equipment, and Waste Disposal

Module I: Fire Fighting, First Aid and Other Safety Procedures

Module J: Chemical Safety and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. McCall, R. E. (2020). Phlebotomy essentials (7th enhanced ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-1-284-20994-5
  1. O’Grady, Eoin. (2022). Laboratory safety CSMLS guidelines (9th ed.). Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-1-989042-01-4

Note: Throughout the course, Phlebotomy Essentials will be referred to as “the Phlebotomy text” and Laboratory Safety CSMLS Guidelines will be referred to as “the Lab Safety text.”


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Note: Students applying this course towards any TRU Health Care program may be required to obtain a minimum 60% on the course overall to meet program requirements

Quiz 1: Modules A, B, and C 20%
Quiz 2: Modules D and E 20%
Quiz 3: Modules F, G, H, I, and J 20%
Final Examination (mandatory) 40%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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