It’s often easy to spot a Medical Technology student around campus, from the Phlebotomy kits they always carry to the cotton balls taped to the inside of their arms. It’s one of the few things they consider as the trademark of their course. But any MedTech student knows that the trademarks don’t stop there.
If you’re planning to take up a BS Medical Technology degree, here are eight things we understand all too well in our field:
- “Patingin braso”
If you know any MedTech student, you’ve probably heard of this line before. Being in the field that deals with blood, it’s our job to extract blood from patients, and that requires ~a lot~ of practice. So when you encounter a student asking to see your arm, you may proceed with caution because it’s probably a MedTech student just mastering the technique of blood extraction!
- Being immune to gross topics and smells
Since the entire profession of Medical Technology centers on the laboratory, we are expected to deal with all kinds of specimens like urine, stool samples, and even a sample of fungi! We study all kinds of bacteria, cells, and parasites found in these specimens and relay this information to doctors for diagnosis and treatment. At first, everyone finds it gross and some even gag during classes, but once you get used to processing these specimens, you get to be immune to the smell. On some occasions, you might even catch MedTech students just casually talking about gross topics over lunch!
- Are they magic spells or names of bacteria?
Another tip for spotting a MedTech student around campus is to listen for anyone who sounds like they’re casting a spell into the air. Since MedTech students are required to study bacteria and parasites, medical terms aren’t the only things they need to memorize. Scientific names like Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura are just two of the hundreds of parasites they need to memorize. Sometimes—when people get rather bored—these scientific names even get mixed with actual names for better memorization! For example, you can sometimes assign the Klebsiella bacteria to your friend and she ends up being Klebsiella Marie!
- “Nagreview ka BB?” “Yes bb <3”
While “bb” sounds like a cute term of endearment, it means an entirely different thing in Medical Technology. For us, BB stands for Blood Banking, a subject that deals with the science of handling blood for transfusions and blood typing. It’s become a joke for a lot of us especially during exams season because when someone asks about BB, it sounds like they’re asking you as their significant other. You can hear someone ask, “Nagreview ka na ba BB?”, and people within earshot would assume you’re dating.
- You Better Remember God Loves Good Bees
It might sound like a random out-of-pocket quote, but You Better Remember God Loves Good Bees is one out of many mnemonics used to remember the correct order of draw. Order of draw is essentially the order in which blood gets transferred into color-coded tubes to be sent to the lab for processing, and each color is designated for specific tests. The colors that correspond to the mnemonic are Yellow, Blue, Red, Green, Lavender, Gray, and Blue.
When processing urine samples, one of the parameters being studied macroscopically is its turbidity, or the cloudiness of a specimen. When a specimen is “cloudy”, the correct term to describe it on paper is that it’s “turbid”. Once a MedTech learns this word, it often quickly becomes an inside joke that they tend to use on almost any liquid they encounter. Just like the previously mentioned immunity to gross topics, when we see a cloudy glass of iced tea, someone will randomly say “turbid” and any MedTech will for sure try to add their own analysis of the drink!
- Being hyper aware of bacteria
The amount of information we get from studying bacterias to such an extent undeniably makes MedTech students one of the most hyper aware demographics when it comes to germs. Aside from knowing a bacteria’s structure and scientific name, part of the trade involves knowing the diseases it causes and even antibiotics needed to treat a specific infection. For instance, a regular person enters a public restroom and sees a toilet, but a MedTech student is already spraying away any bacteria present!
- Getting hematomas almost every week
Any MedTech student has been a practice patient for their fellow MedTech student for blood extraction. And since everyone’s practicing, they are also bound to fall victim to a hematoma, or a bruise that indicates pooling of blood to a specific area under the skin. It’s a sign of a failed attempt to collect blood or any other extraction errors. But a hematoma is also a sign that they are taking their studies seriously, which includes sacrificing their own blood vessels in the name of science!