Medical laboratory community to examine simulation as potential solution to nation-wide shortage

Toronto, April 22, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - On April 23rd, the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is sponsoring a one-day forum for members of the laboratory education community to discuss the current and future states of clinical placements and the use of simulated learning. This is the first such meeting of representatives of medical laboratory programs at a national level. 

"This forum represents an important step in addressing the urgent challenge of a lack of clinical education spots in our profession," says Christine Nielsen, CSMLS's Chief Executive Officer.  "Simulation could be the key to increasing the capacity of our existing educational programs, which is critical to addressing the health human resource needs across the country."

Canada is facing a serious shortage of medical laboratory technologists (MLTs). About half of all MLTs will be eligible to retire in the next ten years. These shortages are already being felt in our rural and remote communities and the impending retirements will exacerbate this issue. The current supply of new MLT graduates is not sufficient to offset the projected retirement numbers.

A shortage of MLTs has a cascading effect throughout the medical system, as delayed diagnosis means delayed treatment. This is undesirable in any situation, but is all the worse given Canada's aging population will inevitably mean increased demand for medical services.

"This forum will be the first time our profession's education community has come together to look at solutions to the critical bottleneck in the system – a lack of clinical placements for students," says Nielsen. "This national meeting of educators will help ensure that ideas for increased throughput does not come at a cost to patient safety."

All medical laboratory technology students must undertake a clinical placement (internship) as part of their educational program. Programs cannot increase spots without corresponding clinical placements. These spots are scarce due to staffing shortages, heavy workloads and lack of dedicated education personnel.

The CSMLS Forum will provide a review of the data collected from the CSMLS Clinical Placement and Simulation Survey (2015) and Recent Graduate Clinical Placement Survey (2016).  Over the course of the one-day event, the CSMLS will share key research in simulation, conduct educator and graduate panel discussions and provide an opportunity to discuss how to enhance the education programs to better fit the needs of a changing health care and medical laboratory science landscape.  

"There has been a long-standing debate on the use of simulation to enhance and/or replace clinical education," says Nielsen. "Research in nursing and physician education has shown the potential to reduce the duration of clinical placement requirements, which may provide our profession the direction it needs to enhance its current curricula."

Details for the forum are as follows:

Date: Saturday April 23rd 2016, 8:30am4:30pm

Location: The forum will be held at the Pearson Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel (901 Dixon Rd, Toronto, Ontario).

The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science is the national certifying body for medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory assistants, and the national professional society for Canada's medical laboratory professionals. Incorporated in 1937 as the Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists, the society has over 14,000 members in Canada and in countries around the world.


SOURCE Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science

For further information: or interview requests, please contact: Michael Grant, Director, Marketing & Communications,Phone: 1.800.263.8277 x8687

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