Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Ending Is The Beginning Of A New Chapter

The final trip on RapidPenang bus to go back home marks the end of my industrial training (Latihan Industri, or LI in short) for 6 weeks as required in my course. I couldn’t help but to feel relieve that everything went well after days of waking up early, traveling, running tests and finally to return home for report typing.

The part which is the most exhausting is the report writing part. After nights (especially this week, in a roll) of reading, report-typing, flow chart-constructing, re-reading and editing, finally the completed report was printed and bound. This process wouldn’t be so exhausting if the printer in my house AND in Seberang Jaya Hospital didn’t break down at the same time.

I went to submit my report at Seberang Jaya Hospital and Bukit Mertajam Hospital this morning. Thanks to RapidPengang bus, I managed to finish all these in 3 hours time. Well, I always hear a lot of Penangite passengers still aren’t satisfied with the public transport here, which includes RapidPenang. Not that I want to defend RapidPenang because those bad experiences the former faced might be true. It’s just that I have never encountered them myself, not that I can remember. OK, except the time I went to Queensbay Mall in Penang Island. Maybe due to lack of demand, there is very limited number of bus going there directly.

OK, let’s go back to the industrial training experience. Honestly, I think HBM has a friendlier working environment than HSJ. Maybe because the latter has more work loads, that’s why they don’t have the time to sit around and do some team-bonding stuff. However, all the personnels working in both labs are nice and pleasant people. I have definitely learnt a lot in Microbiology Lab in HSJ, but not much in Histopathology Lab because we only receive specimens and directly refer all out to Penang General Hospital. Nonetheless, I think it’s good for me because I need time to complete my report and hand in to HSJ, HBM and UKM as requested. Heck, some of my friends don’t have to hand in report to so many parties, and definitely not immediately on the last day of LI.

I’ve re-learnt a lot of principles and tests, manned a number of machines (I’m a technophobe, by the way), and have my share of record-keeping experience. Oh, I’ve been suspecting that HSJ purposely leave a lot of records for 2 months to be keyed in by the attachment students there. Not that I don’t like to do this record typing work. I just don’t like to do the work which is supposed to be done ages ago. If it’s things we do when the time is here, like preparing culture media and stains when it’s running low, photostating request forms, dispatching results, or even keeping records for that very day, I don’t mind to do all these. Dealing with other people’s mess isn’t what I happy to do. Well, maybe this might happen in future, too, eh?

I’ve also seen some work place politics and hope that I can live with it when I’m working in the future. I’ve met people who are annoying though with good intention, people who love to compare work loads, people who have nothing better to do than to gossip about other people behind, people who’d leave their job behind and go for activities that interest them, people (actually it’s the USM Microbiology female attachment students) who knows nothing about basic laboratory rules, not even the tie-up-your-hair-and-no-open-toe-sandals-are allowed-in-lab rules. Sometimes Tay even wears open-toe high heels in lab! Puh-lease! *eyes rolling* You know what, this bunch of people expect to be C41 Pegawai Science (something like a manager in lab, hold a higher post than the normal lab personnels – the MLTs, who run the tests) whose job scope includes quality control, ordering stocks and validating the tests results.

Oh, not to mention for up to two years of microbiology study, the USM student who were also attached in Pathology Department (the labs) have never seen blood agar, TSI (Triple Sugar Iron, one of the media to identify bacterial species via their biochemical reaction), or maybe every test in the lab. Although it’s their own field and they should know it better than I do, I can’t blame the students because it’s not them who decide on the subjects to study. But please, as you’ve come for LI in hospital lab and known that there are still many things to learn, please be more humble and don’t have too high an expectation. Even if you are lucky to get the post (albeit immediately) after you graduated, that doesn’t mean you are sure ready for the job. You will only be respected because of the real knowledge you have, not the piece of paper you call Degree certificate.

This LI as a whole keeps reminding me of UKM. The things thought by our lecturers, especially. I don’t feel so nervous when I know I’ve learnt about something on the tests. Hence I only need to read further to know them better, that’s all. I’ve also remember how the lecturers in UKM want us to be humble, especially when working at the same bench with the MLTs. Because we actually learnt the same thing, and no doubt that they may know something a lot more in-depth than we do. With years of experience reading and interpreting the tests results, the MLTs definitely deserve our respect. It’s us who should work hard to earn ours from them.

I think that’s all I wanted to say. I’m going back KL tomorrow because I need to meet my thesis supervisor on Monday. I think I better read something before I meet her up. I was too busy (too tired after every day in the lab, actually) with the LI for the past 6 weeks. This LI has strengthened me somehow, to meet with more challenging tasks in future. Hope this experience can help me through my thesis year =)


Teddy said...


yes, there are companies/organization out there whic take in interns not to really train them but actually to help them finish up some not so important jobs which they find they have not much time to do, that's a fact..

about the USM student ah, well, when u really work in a lab, u will notice more things rather than her toe-showing shoes.. have u seen ppl wearing shorts working in lab? slippers? sandals? trust me, i can come out with a long list of ppl i've seen doing things which r all against what we have learnt in our practical classes.

when i try to advise them.. they say "You are following the old-school teachings so strictly, the wonder Malaysians are so backwards"... hmm.. wat u think?

U know what is EtBr? Ethidium Bromide use for visualizing DNA under UV light.. in our UKM labs, we have EtBr zones, where everything there is considered contaminated, n shudnt be brought to other places, coz EtBr is carcinogenic... But i've seen ppl, who are Research fellow (PhD) using the gloves that handled EtBr to touch computers, door knobs, other lab equipments.. so, wat if i go touch those equipments without a glove? I kena lor... they can be so inconsiderate til it may harm others, but they dun give a damn.. the most important thing to do is publish data, write journal, be famous, get promotion n money in.. that's it..

Pegawai Sains in hospital dun normally do work, they approve analytical data only before submitting to doctors.. thats wat i heard from my fren la, im not really sure.. my LI was in a commercial research oso the same... dats y i can tell u so much about the unethical practice ppl do in lab... when i advise them not to do so, those ppl with PhD will say it doesnt matter, or just ignore me.. I onli got a B.Sc wat... wat i say isnt as correct as wat a PhD person say they feel..


Cher Linn Tang said...

Hi Teddy,

They did allow us to run the real test, in fact, a lot of it. And when the media is running low, they have to prepare it from time to time. We'll be learning from A to Z if they were willing to teach us, which I feel they really loved to. Learning more is definitely good for us. It's just that I don't like to do overdue jobs.

Yes I am aware about the shorts-and-slippers-in-lab thing. It's imappropriate la, but I think it's even more hazardous in microbe lab. Basically everything in lab is contaminated. I was handling the urine sample, and I need to label the specimens before running the test. the pencil and the request forms were contaminated by me because as I checked the name on the urine container, my glove was contaminated with urine because they didn't urinate properly (there are steps to be followed but most of the time the attendant wouldn't explain it to the patient) into the container. I couldn't change glove after every labeling because I'd spend my whole day just to do this - the specimens were really a lot. besides, it'll cost a lot, too. Only when I think it's really too dirty I'll change the glove and continue labeling. I'll change another glove when I start culturing - to protect the culture. I think I've washed my hands slightly more often than others, haha. Later I have to write record in the book. I'll still be wearing glove for it because I know the request forms were contaminated. Following this, the record book is contaminated, too. See?

About that high heel girl, I didn't give her a damn because she wasn't really doing anything pun. maybe that's why she taught her wearing high heels didn't affect much. still *eyes rolling*

As for the pegawai sains, well, different jobs are appreciated differently. the job scope doesn't sound busy, doesn't mean it's an easy job. sometimes one get higher ranking because of the risk he can handle and the huge responsibility he bears to make certain decisions. in other words, one's using brain la.

BTW, sorry to hear about your experience with the "seniors" in the lab.

Teddy said...


but dis ppl r not afraid of death.. they r either too ignorant or just too materialistic thinking of getting fame/promotion onli, so they dun follow lab regulations, n say those regulations taught by our lecturers as very Old-school, not productive..

wat use is it when u publish very good data but u mampus very young?! many scientist die due to bacterial infections n lab hazard...

anyway, they wan mampus is their own problem.. but wat i cant stand is their inconsiderate attitude... did ur lecturers taught u about working with one hand with glove?

we do that in our lab a lot in UKM last time, coz sometimes i have to use EtBr which is very dangerous.. so, when im holding the gel with EtBr, i use left hand with gloves on, but my right hand is no gloves which i can hold pen to jot down things, n touch the computer n devices to record the gel profile... im right handed, so if u r left handed, then u reverse it lor, right hand wear gloves, left hand manipulate device n writing.. get it?

but in my current lab, those ppl just use the same gloves that touch mutagenic, carcinogenic chemicals n touch everything, even their own pens n labbooks!!! OMG!!!! then they even put their hands in their labcoat pockets.. OMG!! really beh ta han... imagine the chemicals all rubbed onto their shirts lor.. hahaha

Cher Linn Tang said...

Haha, that's why I switched off my hp when I'm doing lab work. I have the tendency to read the sms whenever it's received. I don't want to be "lured" to touch my hp when I'm handling specimens with gloves on =)