Malorie Brazell graduated with a medical laboratory technician (MLT) degree from LSC in 2013. “Microbiology was the hardest for me to learn at first. It is a very in-depth category of the laboratory but I have grown to absolutely love it!”
Brazell notes that a medical lab tech’s work is much broader than just drawing blood. “You are the person doing the laboratory testing and finding out what is causing a patient’s symptoms. You are the one responsible for getting the results for the doctor.” She noted that at larger medical providers, phlebotomists bring you blood samples but at smaller places like North Shore Health in Grand Marais, MN where she works now, they draw their own samples.
She recently graduated with her four-year medical laboratory scientist (MLS) degree from St. Cloud State University through a Minnesota State MLT to MLS Pathways program offered through LSC. It is available for professionals already working as med lab techs.
Brazell continued to work full time at North Shore Health in Grand Marais, MN, (her home town,) while she completed her MLS degree. Brazell attended classes to work on her degree through remote ITV since Grand Marais is located about 100 miles from Duluth and Lake Superior College. “I did ITV at Higher Education in Grand Marais so I did not have to travel much to complete this program. The people who I paired up with on group assignments were a couple of girls who did their ITV classes at LSC for the MLT to MLS program.” She also received credit for her general laboratory work experience and only had to do additional clinical work, including bone marrows and blood bank panels, in Duluth for testing they don’t provide in Grand Marais.
Brazell says that a typical day at North Shore Health begins with the daily tasks of getting your analyzers up and running and any QC/calibrations that need to be done. “It is always interesting because they rotate departments. Then depending on what department you are in you’ll proceed to do patient work.” She enjoys the Chemistry shift because it starts early and keeps you busy throughout the day. She also likes Microbiology. “It intrigues me to ID organisms and give sensitivities to doctors for patients that aid in them deciding which antibiotics/drugs to use to treat the patient. I also like the fast pace of the ER where you need to get your samples and hustle a little bit when we have trauma incidents.”
She chose to attend LSC for a number of reasons. “I had originally gone to UMD but knew I wanted to pursue a medical career. I job shadowed nursing, lab, and x-ray and made the decision that lab was my most intriguing career choice. I had a place to live in Duluth and LSC had an MLT program with a good reputation. Location played a huge factor when choosing which school to go to.”
She endorses LSC as a wonderful college to attend. “My instructors really wanted their students to have a chance to learn the material and push through the tough courses to become knowledgeable in the field and succeed. Not only do the credits transfer easily to other colleges, they are affordable credits. College can put a financial burden on students that end up in long-term debt. I have some friends who went to universities who are still paying for college student loans with no end in sight. The degrees you can get at LSC are useful so that when you are done, you can actually use your education to get a job.”