Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Applied Research partnership gives MLT students hands-on lab experience

A great addition to my clinical experience

In 2019, Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) program partnered with Stago Canada Ltd. on an applied research project. Stago was interested in researching the benefits of its new in vitro diagnostic reagents. Sask Polytech was interested in giving MLT students an opportunity to build their laboratory skills and research competencies. The project was a win for everyone.

“It was a good experience,” says Michelle Buck, one of three MLT students who participated. “I chose the MLT program because of the meaningful work you do in the background at hospitals, and this helped me push my thinking further. It helped me think outside routine lab practice.”

Classmate Tiffany Crandlemire got involved because she wanted to be part of a new learning opportunity. “I thought it would be a great addition to my clinical experience, giving me a different view of the lab, outside of a hospital setting.”

Tiffany credits the applied research experience with strengthening her everyday lab skills as well as building new skills. “I think exposure to the research aspect of the lab and completing hands-on work is beneficial to the clinical experience,” she says.

Students were supported by Sask Polytech faculty Linda Kappel and Charlene Schapansky, both MLTs. Not only were they co-leads on the project, they were the ones who approached Stago Canada about involving students in the applied research project. With assistance from Stago, they set up testing protocols on Sask Polytech analyzers, created test samples and analyzed the resulting research data.

“Through research and new testing procedures, therapies are developed to provide patients with better outcomes,” Schapansky says. “Applied research gives our students and faculty an opportunity to be a part of enhancing patient care. Students also benefit by learning new techniques, developing skills and learning to analyze data.”

Kappel agrees, “This collaboration gave me the opportunity to stay current with new industry trends. I’ve been able to share my experience with Sask Polytech colleagues to help them overcome any fears of performing research for the first time. Mostly, I enjoyed learning with the students.”

Through applied research, Sask Polytech collaborates with employers and individuals to solve business challenges. In this case, Sask Polytech’s research produced data that determined Stago’s new in vitro diagnostic reagents provided increased calibration stability compared to their present products.

Research results were shared with Sask Polytech faculty and with Stago Canada. Sask Polytech students and faculty also have an opportunity to present follow up articles and poster abstracts at provincial, national and international conferences.

Learn more about Sask Polytech’s Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) program.

Published January 2020.