Everyone who lives in Ontario is acutely aware of how the shortage of nurses and doctors affects the delivery of health-care services. Critical skills shortages are starting to emerge in other health-care professions as well.
Medical Laboratory Technology is one of those professions. Medical Laboratory Technologists are “the behind scenes professionals” that provide important diagnostic information to physicians. This sector of health care sustained deep cuts through the health reforms of the last decade. In the mid 90s many training programs for technologists were closed due to funding cuts. Add to this, the estimates by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science, that 44 per cent of the current workforce will be retiring in the near future, and it’s easy to see why action is needed, to sustain this important health care service.
As with many other health-care professions in Ontario, there are a wealth of untapped resources in Internationally Educated individuals. Medical Laboratory Technologists from outside Canada have difficulty obtaining their licence to practice, since they need a route to obtain clinical hours.
A new program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Access to Professions and Trades, may be a step in the right direction.
Mohawk College admitted the first group of students into its nine month bridging program for Internationally Educated Medical Laboratory Technologists this past July. The program provides participants the opportunity to gain over 600 hours of clinical experience, along with theory and laboratory sessions at the College. Occupationally relevant language support, mentoring, examination preparation, and courses over the Internet are key features of this program. Graduates of the program will have direct access to the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) certification examination. This in turn will make the graduate eligible for licensing with the regulatory body, the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario (CMLTO).
The key strengths of this program are due to the input and support from the professional bodies, potential employers, and community agencies. The Mohawk College program is supported by professional bodies such as CMLTO, CSMLS and OSMT ( Ontario Society of Medical Technologists ). Community agencies such as Settlement Integration Services ( SISO ) have provided mentorship training.
One of the integral components of the program, is the provision of clinical placements, which removes the major barrier the Internationally Educated Technologist faces. The Mohawk College program is fortunate to have the Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program, MDS laboratories, and Toronto Medical Laboratories/University Health Network as their clinical affiliates.
Mohawk College would like to offer more openings in its July 2003 intake. This will be determined by the opportunity to find more clinical placements and mentors. Inquiries by all interested parties, be they students, potential mentors or clinical placements sites can be directed to 905 540-4247 extension 23559, email : Mary. Golba-Bylhouwer @ mohawkcollege.ca, or visit our website at cehs.mohawkc.on.ca
Our next information session will take place Jan 29th, 2003.