Medical Laboratory Scientist, North Shore Hospital, Waitematā District Health Board
Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science
Applying her understanding of science to help with COVID-19 testing was a highlight of her final year at university, says Phoebe Malley who completed a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science, specialising in Medical Microbiology and Clinical Chemistry.
“During my final year, I received the incredible opportunity to be employed as a laboratory assistant at North Shore Hospital, helping with molecular testing for COVID-19. To play such a key role in the diagnosis of this emerging global disease was extremely rewarding. I was providing vital test results that I knew were going to help my community and country overcome this virus. To be thrown into the workforce while still a student and given the chance to put the skills I had learned at AUT to the test was the best opportunity I could have received.”
Phoebe has always had a strong passion for science and for helping people.
“For me, the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science was the perfect blend of the two. Even though we don’t deal with patients directly, medical laboratory scientists play an essential role in healthcare, operating behind the scenes. I take great pride in knowing that my job has a significant impact on patient health and wellbeing.
“The degree offers a great balance of both theoretical and practical knowledge, which has really prepared me for working life in a busy laboratory. I made so many friends during my studies and found it incredibly fun and engaging to be able to learn and grow together. Not to mention, the lecturers at AUT are truly inspiring. Every single one taught with such passion which helped fuel my motivation to keep studying.”
Working as a healthcare detective
Now working as a medical laboratory scientist at North Shore Hospital, Phoebe loves using her skills to solve clinical problems and contribute to improving patient health.
“My role involves detecting and diagnosing patient infections caused by a range of microorganisms, from bacteria and fungi to viruses and parasites. I conduct various microbiological tests and techniques to determine what organism is causing harm to a patient and also help deduce appropriate treatment for the infection. I’m also still heavily involved in COVID-19 testing, which I have found to be incredibly rewarding in this current pandemic.”
Phoebe loves being a healthcare detective.
“What I find most enjoyable about this career is playing detective; piecing together different clues about an infection to determine which pathogen is causing harm and what antibiotics are best to treat it. Microbiology is never black and white – there’s always an exception to the rule. I find it very exciting to search my brain when trying to interpret the trickier cases. I’m incredibly proud to be working in this field, discovering the answers that help people receive the healthcare they need.”
Advice for other students
Phoebe – who graduated in March 2021 and was chosen to give the valedictory speech at her graduation ceremony – has some great advice for other students.
“It’s okay if you feel confused about what you want to study. The important thing is that you explore all your options with an open mind. Take a chance on the things that interest and excite you. Be sure to make the most of your time at university because it goes by so quickly. It’s a great opportunity to challenge yourself in any way that you can, make new friends and study hard.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, she adds.
“What I loved about AUT is that everyone wants you to succeed. The university offers so many amazing resources to help you on your journey; you just need to ask. I have always felt incredibly supported by AUT instead of being treated as just another number.”