The Medical laboratory Science Profession is a distinct profession among health care professions that produces professionals who are skilled in the practical and theory of medical laboratory science. These skilled and enviable professionals are indispensable in the diagnosis, monitoring and prevention of disease conditions.
Specialization, according to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is defined as a particular area of knowledge or the process of becoming an expert in a particular area. A specialist is defined as someone who has a lot of experience, knowledge or skill in a particular subject. The Medical laboratory science curriculum is one that prepares its students to choose an area of specialty at their final year of study. This is totally different from what is obtainable in other health professional courses like Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing etc where specialisation is only allowed for the “afternoon classes” i.e Post graduate levels.
Specialization at undergrate level as practiced by MLS has on its own several limitations.
Firstly, undergraduate specialisation does not equip mls students with adequate knowledge in the 5 fields of medical lab. This has given rise to graduate scientist who know nothing or little in the areas they never specialised.
Secondly, undergraduate specialisation is a limitation and a cause of professional myopism to mls graduates. Mls students who had specialised in a given area feels and sees themselves as not capable of working and generating good results in other areas of medical lab that they never specialised. This is a limitation and a bottle neck to the profession.
Thirdly, Undergraduate specialisation is a way of producing “half baked Medical lab. Scientist”. Of course, the only way to appreciate and correlate the Medical laboratory science training as it relates to diagnosis, patients care and disease prevention is to study the medical laboratory science courses holistically and not in parts. Truth be told, the more we harbour undergraduate specialisation with us, the greater number of half baked graduates we would have in MLS.
Finally, I believe Medical laboratory science is the best professional course to be studied by anyone. It is a great profession with great opportunities. The opportunities presented by MLS is so numerous and cut across entrepreneurship, research, academics, health care, hospital management etc!
The only way MLS graduates can take full advantages of these great oppurtunities and shine as true Oracles worthy of consultation is by being trained holistically.
Let’s put an end to undergraduate specialization in MLS!!!!
Long live MLS!!!!
Long live MLSCN
By E.C Mbata.