Patient's life is in our hands

This article was first published on The New Paper: 

Written by Adeline Tan, 14 June 2017


Not many people know what a medical technologist does.

Some may even have the misconception that he does routine tasks, such as washing and preparing medical equipment.

Mr Yu Junkirk, 24, said that is not the case. Instead, he assists doctors with lab tests and also draws up reports of test analyses.

He said: "Not many people know about us. Most people know about nurses and doctors, but they won't expect medical technologists to work in polyclinics."

Mr Yu has been working in Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic for almost eight months.

He decided to pursue a life sciences degree under La Trobe University, which is offered by PSB Academy.

Because of his diploma in molecular biotechnology from Nanyang Polytechnic, he had a one-year exemption, so it took him only a year to get his degree.

He graduated in August last year with a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences. Biomedical scientists require an understanding of medical biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, cell and molecular biology, anatomy, physiology, infectious diseases and neuroscience.

Graduates often find work in medical research institutes or government and private sector laboratories in hospitals, universities and pharmaceutical companies.

Mr Yu said his course emphasised the importance of accuracy when reporting test results and that proved to be true in real life.

He described his job as "being a support for both doctors and nurses".


Mr Yu said: "Because we handle the patient's results, we work closely with the doctor.

"After a while, I was able to predict what kind of diagnosis will come with the results, but the final diagnosis comes from the doctor."

This also means that his job is challenging.

He said: "Even though we are not doctors, we are responsible for the patient's life.

"We must be accurate in our results reporting because it could result in a wrong diagnosis. This means the patient's life is in our hands."

Dr Martin Grunert, the associate dean of teaching and learning and head of School of Life and Physical Sciences at PSB Academy, said: "Graduates from this course have good employment prospects because science is needed everywhere.

"Our students are certainly not at a disadvantage compared to students from local universities."