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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

MDLB 1525: MLA Workshop

This practical course allows students to develop and demonstrate the skills learned in MDLB 1221, 1321 and 1521, to further explore the roles and professional responsibilities of a Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA), and to gain experience in performing venipuncture, electrocardiograms, and laboratory procedures under the guidance of experienced MLA's.

This course is only available for registration to students residing in Canada.

Learning outcomes

  • Clarify the role of the medical laboratory assistant
  • Describe the need for professionalism and confidentiality in the hospital / lab setting
  • Describe the need for clear and calming communication with patients
  • Identify and explain clearly the procedures of normal and special blood collection
  • Describe the procedures and situations requiring different types of phlebotomy, including single tubes, multiple tubes, and butterfly and syringe collections
  • Perform an average of 40 venipunctures on artificial arms (including butterfly collections)
  • Perform at least 12 venipunctures on volunteer arms and on hand veins, displaying sound judgment when evaluating alternative procedures
  • Maintain composure while performing venipuncture
  • Follow instructions accurately, and clearly articulate questions when required
  • Demonstrate a pleasant and empathetic approach to "patients", communicating clearly to identify the "patient", explain procedures and to alleviate any fears
  • Demonstrate a professional appearance in dress, manner, and speech
  • Perform an ECG on a volunteer patient using a 12-lead ECG machine
  • Collection and Preparation of Urine Specimens
    • Provide instructions for common urinalysis tests
    • Measure total volume of 24 hour urine
    • Label correctly
    • Prepare and store urine samples according to established protocols
  • Collection and Preparation of Microbiology Specimens
    • Collect and label blood cultures correctly
    • Instruct patient in collection of common microbiology tests
    • Inoculation and streak methods
  • Specimen Collection and Processing: Hematology
    • Slide making technique for blood smear
    • Thick and thin slide making technique

Course topics

The following topics will be covered in this course:

  • Professionalism, Communication, Safety and Confidentiality
  • Customer Service in the lab and hospital setting
  • Collection Equipment-Safety regulations and hazards
  • How to Take Blood - Procedure review
  • Practice Venipuncture-Artificial arms
  • Actual Venipuncture-Student-to-student and volunteer
  • Demonstrate/practice Butterfly Technique and Capillary Collection
  • Perform ECG Procedure
  • Collection and Preparation of Urine Specimens
  • Collection and Preparation of Microbiology Specimens
  • Specimen Collection and Processing: Hematology
  • Tour of Medical Laboratory

Required text and materials

The following material is required for the course:

  1. Competency Manual (TRU-OL)

Note: This competency manual is also used and required for MDLB 1721.

Additional requirements

Dress Code: Uniform (scrubs) and Worksafe approved footwear required.


Grading: Complete (COM) or Did Not Complete (DNC)

There is no formal test for this workshop. A Complete grade will be awarded to all students who meet the course objectives successfully as listed above, demonstrating a willingness to participate and learn laboratory and phlebotomy skills. A "Did Not Complete" grade would occur in cases where the student did not demonstrate the required skills and attitudes that are required for a MLA. The following items could be considered in the case where a DNC grade would apply: inability to follow through with successful venipunctures, minimal participation which limited the facilitators' ability to help the student meet the objectives, constant use of communication skills that are inappropriate to the lab environment, and/or consistent lack of receptiveness to feedback.

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