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Laboratory Medicine

Profession
 
Various health care professionals work in our laboratory at North York General Hospital, providing high-quality lab medicine and care for our patients. Our laboratory professionals often work behind the scenes to help physicians diagnose and treat patients, as well as monitor and prevent diseases through laboratory testing, diagnoses and analysis.

Our full service laboratory at the General site enables us to provide approximately 1.6 million tests annually. An expert team of pathologists, technologists, technicians and pathologists' assistants serves our hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These professionals provide diagnostic, screening and monitoring tests for inpatients, outpatients and long-term care residents. Approximately 100 highly trained individuals work in our laboratory and provide excellent care to our patients.

Medical laboratory technologists
Medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) are the fourth-largest group of health care professionals in Ontario, who perform complex procedures on tissue specimens, blood samples and other body fluids providing information to physicians. They work in all areas of our laboratory, including biochemistry, hematology, transfusion medicine, pathology and microbiology, as well as in Genetics labs.

At NYGH, MLTs work in the department of Laboratory Medicine, where they operate a variety of complicated and state of the arts instruments. They possess good motor skills, hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. In addition to technical skills, they employ attention to detail in order to detect subtle change to the microscopic appearance of blood, tissue and bacterial cells. MLTs also determine the validity of the results they obtain, which requires good analytical and critical thinking skills.
 
MLTs work in an ever-evolving environment, and on occasion need to design new procedures to reflect the rapid pace of change in their workplace. Whether working alone or as a member of a team, the MLT must be able to manage time efficiently and communicate clearly.

Medical laboratory technicians
Medical laboratory technicians, also referred to as medical laboratory assistants (MLAs) work alongside MLTs, but their day is focused on more of the prep work required for testing and diagnoses. MLAs are responsible for collecting blood and performing ECG; receiving and handling blood, tissue and other samples in the lab, logging samples and preparing them for testing. Also, MLAs assist in setting up, cleaning and maintaining laboratory and its equipment.

Pathologists' assistants
Pathologists' assistants (PAs) are highly trained laboratory professionals who work under the supervision of a pathologist, providing a broad range of services in anatomic pathology. Pathologists' assistants are primarily responsible for the initial examination and dissection of all surgically removed tissues and, in some cases, assisting with the dissection of bodies during autopsies.

MLTs and MLAs
In the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act of 1990, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care defines a medical laboratory technologist and a medical laboratory assistant/technician as different roles in terms of education, experience and responsibilities.

Partnerships
We also have regional and provincial partnerships. Our laboratory partnered with The Scarborough Hospital and Toronto East General Hospital to create the Shared Hospital Laboratory, located in northeast Toronto that handles microbiology testing. This cooperative venture enables more efficient use of resources, sharing of expertise and improved testing and screening ability.

North York General has partnered with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Canada Lab Solutions for reference testing. Tests of high complexity and low volume are centralized to ensure high quality and cost effectiveness. An interface between the sites will ensure a rapid turnaround time for reporting results.

The hospital provides laboratory testing for Seniors' Health Centre (Buchan Court site), including the collection of samples. Our pathologists also provide expertise to some regional hospitals. Representatives from Laboratory Medicine are also members of regional laboratory steering committees.

Education program

Graduates of accredited programs for both medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory assistants/technicians are eligible to write the national certification examinations conducted by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science, or the provincial certification exams conducted by the Medical Laboratory Professionals' Associaton of Ontario.

A medical laboratory technologist is a regulated health care professional in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991and the Medical Laboratory Technology Act, 1991. After obtaining certification, a medical laboratory technologist must register with the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario to be able to practice in the province. Currently, medical laboratory assistants/technicians are not regulated professions in Ontario, but the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario is working toward having this important profession regulated in the future.

Seeking a placement

The Department of Laboratory Medicine contributes to the future of health care by providing education and clinical training for health professionals such as Pathology residents, MLTs and MLAs through its affiliations with the University of Toronto, the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences and Centennial College.

Please contact your academic institution for a placement. To reach a staff member at NYGH, view our contacts below. 

Starting a placement

Placement prerequisites

The following prerequisites are required in order for a student to start a placement at North York General Hospital:

  • Mask fit testing
    You must have completed mask fit testing within the past 24 months. The following information will be requested upon registration:
    Date mask fitted
    Location mask fitted
    Size/Model

  • Immunizations
    Your immunizations need to be up to date. This includes a TB test within the past 12 months. The hospital is not responsible for any expenses relating to immunization requirements. Students will not be allowed to start a placement without proper documentation. Seasonal influenza immunizations are highly recommended. Your rotation or placement may be affected if this is missing.

    If you are a student in a graduate program and have not provided your institution with documentation regarding immunizations, you must bring this with you on or prior to your first day of placement.

    You will be asked to confirm your immunization status as well as your TB test results during the registration process.
    Immunization form

  • Workplace insurance

    Institutional Workplace Insurance Agreement
    The students from publically funded Ontario colleges and universities are covered for workplace injuries through a program from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. If you are from one of these academic
    institutions you do not need to do anything else.

    Private workplace insurance
    This applies to the following:
    • Out of province students
    • Students from private institutions
    • Students in a practicum placement following completion of their academic studies

    Bring certificate of coverage on Day 1

    Not applicable
    • Observers
    • Students paid by NYGH

  • Vulnerable sector screen
    Vulnerable sector screen must be completed within the past 12 months for all students and must be submitted to your academic institution. If you have not provided the completed screen to your academic institution, you must bring it in on Day 1 of your placement.

    If your screen has positive findings, please notify us before your placement, as conditions of your placement will need to be reviewed.

  • Mandatory training
    All mandatory training modules must be completed prior to the first day of your rotation. You will be asked to verify that you have completed the online modules including date of completion as part of your registration process. The modules are also available on the registration pages.

Prior to first day

Online registration
All students must register for their placement through the Centre for Education. You will receive a link to our registration system upon approval of your placement.

Online mandatory training
The online mandatory training program is designed in compliance with provincial legislation and to provide you with knowledge of our programs, services and policies.

On the first day

Bring with you:
Registration documents
  • Mask fit record
  • Completed immunization form
  • Completed vulnerable sector screen
  • Workplace insurance – if applicable

Government issued photo ID — This is required in order for you to receive a hospital ID. The Badge Office is located at the General site on the east wing, ground floor besides shipping. Hours of operation are 10-10:30 a.m. and 1:30-2 p.m., Monday to Friday. If you are a student at the Branson Ambulatory Care Centre, you may want to receive your badge a couple of days earlier to not affect your placement time.

Payment for parking (if applicable) — Monthly costs of $60 (debit or credit card accepted). Daily rates are also available by contacting the parking office. Parking at the hospital is available in the Staff Parking Lot. Please park in Visitors Parking on your first day, once you pay for your monthly pass, your parking ticket for that day will be validated. The Parking Office is located at the parking deck, ground level, adjacent to the exit gates. The hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

Contacts

For all MLT clinical placement related inquiries contact:
Nurun Muhammed
Site Clinical Coordinator
Medical Laboratory Science, Michener Institute & UOIT BHSc
Tel: 416-756-6470
nurun.muhammed@nygh.on.ca

For all MLA clinical placement related inquiries contact
Joanne Tomassi
Site Clinical Coordinator
Medical Laboratory Technician, Centennial College
Tel: 416-756-6751
joanne.tomassi@nygh.on.ca
 
Centre for Education
Ann Bickram
Education Coordinator, Nursing, Health Professions, Administrative & Operational
Centre for Education, 6 North–Room 630
North York General Hospital
4001 Leslie Street
Toronto ON M2K 1E1
Tel: 416-756-6000 x4805
 
Red Button

Access the Red Button, a quick reference for students and residents at North York General Hospital who find themselves in an emergency or crisis situation of various kinds.