The journey to becoming a Registered Medical Technologist is inarguably challenging. In the midst of battling against bacteria, parasites, blood groups, cells, hand-outs, and most importantly, sleep, Medical Technology students find comfort in the truth that the same struggle is shared. Here are ten things that will make Medtech students nod their heads in approval.
- "Uy, meron kang alcohol?" "Ha? Wala? Diba Medtech ka?"
Whenever there is a need for rubbing alcohol, people immediately turn to you with the assumption that you must always be carrying one since you are a Medical Technology student. This is fine at first but it usually becomes annoying at times. Not because you handle the most infectious specimens and body fluids, doesn't mean you have to be extra hygienic all the time. HRM students don't even bring ladles anywhere around, just saying.
- Your friends think you're gross and dirty.
Unlike friends who come up to each other to ask for advice or food or stuff, you usually ask your friends for their blood, literally. Sometimes, you go way beyond just blood extraction and even ask for other body fluid samples such as urine, stool, and saliva. When you'd visit your friends with a disposable specimen cup on hand, most of them usually make a face in distaste. There is a consistent look of wonder in their faces, thinking how you handle the process of collecting and examining these specimen. Although we don't want to involve our friends in our *dirty* business, critical times call for drastic measures.
- The struggle of the first blood extraction.
Although labeled as the modern day "blood-suckers," the struggle of the first ever blood extraction is undeniably real! With hands shaking, cold sweat dropping, and heart racing in your chest, you proceed with uncapping the syringe or ETS needle and inserting it in the skin with the hope that you've hit the vein. When the blood starts to flow into the tube, you let out an inaudible sigh of relief for a job well done—if you're lucky. When blood doesn't show no matter how much you swim the needle, well, you know there's always room for practice 'til you get it right.
- Patient crisis.
Since the course deals with practical laboratory exams, you need patients. May it be only for a specimen sample or for an actual procedure demonstration, you will always need patients. Most often than not, there is a "patient-crisis" happening especially when Midterms or Final exams are in season. Though there is a shortage of patients in these times, you always end up having one. All the time, you are grateful for friends who show up as your patients and willingly give their blood and other body fluids to you.
Going around the campus in white gala uniform with a kit on one hand and a book or notebook on the other is the usual get-up of Medical Technology students. The kit is almost an extension of your life as a student that whether you admit it or not, there is an undeclared need for this kit to be always filled with materials and equipment. Once you start to run out of cotton balls or glass slides, you make a mental note to buy one from the nearest drugstore as soon as classes are finished. You see to it that you always have what you need in that kit.
- Low-key vein obsession.
After successfully mastering how to extract blood, you never looked at people's arms the same way again. Whenever you would come across someone whose vein protrudes so visibly, your eyes would sparkle at the thought of how convenient that person would be as a patient. You also find yourself unnoticeably and unintentionally palpating others' veins. You even share photos of people with noticeable dominant veins on social media. Lastly, you know that you secretly hope that everyone has palpable and detectible veins because that would be of great help to the success of your performance.
- The hype over the uniforms.
There is a different sense of delight felt upon wearing the white gala uniform for the first time. Although it is hassle during the rainy season, you know wearing the uniform makes you feel like a legit Medical Technology student. This hype over the uniform intensifies as you trade your old white gala uniform for your internship scrub suit. Finally, it is time to face the actual laboratory outside of the walls of the school, and nothing makes you prouder than wearing the school in your uniform.
- "Sorry, busy. Medtech student ako."
Learning to conduct laboratory examinations that will aid the diagnosis of the physicians is not something you learn overnight. You have to study it for years and you have to choose it between dates, hang-outs, gatherings, and other occasions. Dealing with major subjects with laboratory practical examinations (and not to mention research) is more than enough to consume your time. Sometimes, you might not even have enough. Which is why, you always find yourself declining casual invitations to party or stroll-out because exams arrive in multitudes, and of course, Medtech is *life*.
- Medtech jokes.
Despite the demands of the course and the stress caused by it, somehow, you still find time to crack a joke in relation to the course that's driving you crazy. Most of the time, these jokes end up really corny especially to those who can't relate to it. For example:
"Sino ang nilalaman ng puso mo?"
"HEPARIN talaga. Huhu."
- "Bakit ba ako nag-Medtech?"
In every language, this is the unending question that you ask yourself for every time the going gets tough. In the middle of cramming for an exam, you ask yourself this. After an exam you know you did so bad, you ask yourself this. Rushing around to find samples, equipment, and the like, you ask yourself this. Even when you're just in deep contemplation, you ask yourself this. But no matter how much you want to quit and give up what you started, you never do, because you know that despite all the frustrations, one day you will eventually finally get that Registered Medical Technologist title just after your surname.
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