Fourth year is when med lab science students complete their placements, and thanks to the up-to-date laboratory and science facilities available for students at JCU, Isabel says she felt confident and well-prepared.
“We get to do a lot of practical components of our studies at the JCU lab facilities which have up-to-date technology, allowing you to practise in a setting similar to that of a real laboratory. For our final year, we spend around 15 hours, if not more, in the labs on campus each week. Having this hands-on experience makes a huge difference when you go out on placement as you are already familiar with a large range of techniques and equipment in the lab,” she says.
Having just completed all of her placements, Isabel says she was enjoying it so much that she never wanted it to end.
“On my last day of placement at Townsville University Hospital, I was genuinely upset as I didn’t want it to end! I also really enjoyed my placement in Cairns for six weeks at the Mater Hospital, working with Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology. Because it's a smaller lab you get to work across all of disciplines, including microbiology, biochemistry, haematology, and transfusion. You also get the opportunity to see a bigger picture of the patient as you are analysing the results of the individual across a broader range of tests and disciplines.”
Isabel’s enthusiasm on placement was so contagious that she was offered a job not long after she had finished.
“Whilst I was on my second placement block, I was contacted by the head of the molecular department at Townsville University Hospital who I met on my first placement and offered a position there. The job will involve a lot of PCR [Polymerase Chain Reaction] testing, including preparing and analysing COVID swabs.”