MLA Education Day

Our annual MLA Education Day is fast approaching. It will be held at Douglas College, New Westminster on May 13th at 10:00AM-4:00PM (Registration starts at 9:00am)

Early Bird Rate: $99 (BCSLS Members)/$145 (Non-Members), ends May 1, 2006. Late Registration:: $145 (BCSLS Members/$165 (Non-Members), after May 1st.

Online Registration is now available or you can use the mail-in Agenda & Registration Form (Adobe PDF format).


  • The Future for MLAs
  • Paediatric Blood Collection
  • Advanced ECGs for MLAs
  • MLA Liability Issues & Cases

Lunch is provided and there are door prizes. Registrants will receive a free 30 day subscription to our webcast Making ECGs Easy by Cathy Dockx, ARCT MDS Metro. Register early in order to view the webcast in advance of the live event.

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National Medical Laboratory Week Events

Many National Medical Laboratory Week events have been organized throughout BC. Some examples reported to BCSLS include

Golden General Hospital is providing a “Name this Object” display and quiz in the cafeteria for hospital staff all day each day between April 23rd and 29th. There will be prizes at the end of the week. Free coffee/tea and goodies are available in the cafeteria during breaks for hospital staff

G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital, Quesnel is providing a display table with examples of each lab discipline and a wall-board of lab staff photos showing them doing different jobs in the lab. April 26, 27, 28 1000 hrs to 1500 hrs.

Lakes District Hospital, Burns Lake will provide a display with pamphlets in the public laboratory waiting area between April 24-29th through each day.

Prince George Regional Hospital is holding an Information Session in partnership with the College of New Caledonia which will include hands-on displays, information brochures and an opportunity to ask Medical Laboratory Technologists and MLT students about the profession and education required to become an MLT. April 26/06, 1830-2030 at the College of New Caledonia, room I-723.

Prince Rupert Regional Hospital is providing a public information display in hospital lobby, and will give away NMLW fridge magnets between April 24th-25th at 1000 hrs – 1400 hrs. Tours for high school students (ongoing all year) are available and all hospital staff are invited to attend a tea in the cafeteria April 28, 1430-1530. Contests and prizes have also been arranged.

Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, Trail is providing a public display in hospital lobby between April 23rd-29th; a coffee party for all staff has been organized and there will be questionnaires, puzzles, prizes. A laboratory staff dinner is also being arranged. All dates and times are to be announced soon.

If your lab is arranging something let BCSLS know using our NMLW Event Form as soon as possible and we will put it on our website. Or email us using the link at the bottom of this newsletter.

Check out our TV Public Service Announcement which will be aired on CTV throughout April 23rd-29th.

Also check out the Saskatchewan Society of Medical Laboratory Technolgists Radio Public Service Announcement and the CSMLS website for the message from The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health (Government of Canada) regarding NMLW.

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West Kootenay Academy Education Day

The West Kootenay Academy held its spring Education day on April 1 2006. About 20 participants (photo) came out to enjoy speakers and share their knowledge.

The first group to speak was a seven member Lab Information System (LIS) retrofit team (Mike Guercio photo); who has been participating in working groups (more photos below) throughout the Interior Health Authority (IHA). The working groups have been striving to standardize reporting, procedures and some methodologies. The team gave a very informative talk about progress made, explained why these changes were important, and gave a quick glimpse into changes to come.

After a break participants engaged in an interactive haematology session with Dr V. Loyola (photo), a Pathologist at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital. Dr Loyola provided a one-hour presentation, reviewing red cell morphologies and the disease states most commonly associated with them.

After lunch Rene Maier (photo), BCSLS Director of Professional Development, spoke on The Future for MLA’s. Her informative and well received talk covered the evolving and increasingly important role of MLA’s.

To close the day Wayne Hohn (photo), a retired Med Lab Tech, now Coroners’ Agent in the area, spoke about the BC Coroners Service. Wayne shared information about his training and the scope of his current work. He provided a great insight into when a death becomes a Coroner's case and the power that a Coroner has to fully investigate a fatality.

Participants enjoyed the education day and rated it a great success! Consequently, the West Kootenay Academy is planning another Education for early summer!

Working Group Photos:

Carla Nixon: Microbiology

Cathy McAlpine: Haematology

Charles Pengelly: Chemistry

Natale Foglia: Accession

Raoul Regnault: Histology

Anita Cameron: Transfusion Medicine

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PLCO Stakeholders Forum

On April 12th the Provincial Laboratory Coordinating Office (PLCO) held a stakeholders forum on Specialized Laboratory Training. Over 100 representatives from health care organizations, educational institutions, professional bodies, and government attended.

John Mabbott, BCSLS Executive Director participated in the event and raised several issues relevant to technologists and assistants, including:

  • Pathology Assistants positions should be part of a career ladder for laboratory professionals.
  • Formal PA training and credentialing should recognize and encourage the continued participation of Medical Laboratory Technologists in these positions.
  • Licensing of Pathology Assistants is needed along with the licensing of other laboratory and diagnostic services professions.
  • In general, specialized skills training should be seen as part of a continuous learning culture in laboratories with additional support from employers and government.

Pathology Assistants

A shortage of pathologists has lead to an increased demand for Pathology Assistants. The forum heard presentations on PA deployment in Canada and the U.S. as well as reports on current training programs in both countries. Kent Neuert, a Pathology Assistant at Children & Women's Hospital, also spoke of his experience, training and credentialing by the American Association of Pathology Assistants. Most stakeholders agreed that there could be a greater role for Pathology Assistants, but more formal training, credentialling, and licensing in Canada is also needed.

Specialized Lab Training

Presentations were given on the demand for more specialized laboratory skills. Darlene Samin, CSMLS Board Member, provided an overview of the new Advanced Registered Technologist (ART) certification process. Most stakesholders agreed that a broad foundation of lab skills is critical, with opportunities to develop and credential advanced specialized training. Education institutions were asked to develop more flexible, accessible, and modular forms of specialty training programs to compliment general programs.

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Cardiac Markers Seminar

On May 25th at 6:00pm to 8:00pm (PST) BCSLS will be presenting its third TeleHealth Seminar for 2006 at various sites throughout BC. The event is:

Biochemical Cardiac Tests, Before, During and After the Infarct by Dr. J Heathcote, Director of Chemistry at BC Biomedical Laboratories, Medical Director of the Riverview Provincial Toxicology Centre, and Regional Biochemist for the Fraser Health Authority

Dr. Heathcote will discuss some commonly used cardiac markers that are used to evaluate the future risk of myocardial infarct, the diagnosis of an infarct, and the risk of future adverse events (eg. re-infarct, congestive heart failure) after the event.

Online Registration (Early Bird Rates thru May 11th)

Brochure & Mail-in Registration Form

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BNP Test Study Reveals Insufficient Use

A new brain chemical test (BNP) that predicts which patients with heart attack symptoms are at higher risk of dying is paradoxically not being used in younger, healthier patients who could benefit the most from the prognostic information provided by this test, according to a new analysis by cardiologists at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI).

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Flu Pandemic Costs Calculated

In its World Economic Outlook report this week, the International Monetary Fund took a look at the possible economic impact of a global flu pandemic. It figured Canada would get off lighter than some, but noted that countries heavily dependent on exports (as Canada is) would be vulnerable. Globally, the IMF said a pandemic could knock two per cent of global GDP just by the effect of so much of the labour force getting sick. However, the IMF also said economies are expected to quickly rebound “and the long-term economic impact of the pandemic would be modest.”

Source: Merck Frost Health Edition

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HEAL Health HR Paper

On April 6th The Health Action Lobby (HEAL) released a discussion paper calling on governments to recognize the importance of adopting a pan-Canadian approach to health human resources (HHR).

The discussion paper, entitled Core Principles and Strategic Directions for a Pan-Canadian Health Human Resources Plan, includes the perspectives of all stakeholders and offers strategic, co-ordinated solutions to Canada’s growing health human resource crisis.

An Ipsos-Reid poll conducted at the end of March for HEAL showed that ninety-three per cent of respondents indicated that Canada should strive to become self-sufficient in training enough health professionals to meet future needs, with only 36 per cent confident that Canada will have enough health professionals to meet future demand.

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UBC Patient Safety Report

A recent UBC report has proposed the creation of an independent national agency to investigate medical errors and other incidents that compromise patient safety. The Victoria Times-Colonist (Apr. 19) said, “A myriad of patient-protection measures are already in place at all levels of the health-care system.” It questioned whether “another guardian to watch over the guardians who are already watching over patients” is going to make any difference. “But it will cost additional millions of dollars that might be better spent on patient care.” The Calgary Herald ( Apr. 19) had a similar view. Regarding the proposed agency, the Herald commented, “No doubt it would shed useful insights, but one wonders why the bureaucracies we already have ... aren’t already asking the tough questions, and demanding the high standards.” However, the Regina Leader-Post (Apr. 19) took a different position. It noted the report’s call “for a more serious commitment to safety ...” and agreed that a new agency empowered to make the necessary changes is needed. “And while it is true that change won’t happen overnight, Canadians need to know their health-care system is determined to address the issue.”

Source: Merck Frost Health Edition

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