MDLB 1221
Professional Practices and Safety in Health Care

3.0 Credits


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.

Delivery Method



Recommended: HLTH 1981 and HLTH 1141.


After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • 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.
  • Describe effective interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Describe the features of quality-assurance improvement programs and the role played by medical laboratory assistants in such programs.
  • Define the legal and ethical considerations associated with being a medical laboratory assistant.
  • 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.
  • Describe the use, operating and cleaning procedures for identified laboratory equipment.
  • Describe the use of safety equipment and outline the components of appropriate accident reporting.
  • Describe basic firefighting and first aid procedures.
  • Define the key features of Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and identify safety issues associated with laboratory chemicals.

Course Outline

MDLB 1221: Professional Practices and Safety in Health Care includes the following ten modules:

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)

Maximum Completion

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

  1. McCall, R. E., & Tankersley, C. M. Phlebotomy Essentials. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016.
    Type: Textbook, ISBN: 978-1-4511-9452-4
  1. Shematek, G. & Wood, W. Laboratory Safety CSMLS Guidelines. Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science, 2012.
    Type: Textbook, 978-0-921479-30-7

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the Learning Environment's "Mail" tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information at start of course.


Quiz 1 20%
Quiz 2 20%
Quiz 3 20%
Final Exam 40%

Note: To successfully complete this course, students must obtain at least 50% on the mandatory final examination and 50% overall. 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.