Medical Laboratory Scientist, LabPlus
Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science
Certificate in Applied Science
When Shakil Tausheed Mohammed moved to New Zealand from Fiji, he spent several years helping rebuild Christchurch before deciding to come to university to study science.
“I migrated to New Zealand after completing my high school back in Fiji. Although I did science subjects at high school, I really wasn’t sure which pathway was right for me. I had a gap of several years between my high school and university studies, in which I worked as a painter, helping to rebuild Christchurch after the earthquake.
“Finally, when I was ready to join a university, I decided to start off with a Certificate in Applied Science as a refresher course. I chose AUT because it had a very detailed layout of the course and offered the science subjects that I preferred. It was during my certificate course that I came to know about the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science that AUT offered, and that’s when I decided to enrol in the degree.”
The people he met at AUT were what he enjoyed the most about his studies.
“The highlight for me was coming across all the wonderful people, including lecturers and students. I was particularly inspired by my histology lecturer Sharita Meharry. Her vast amount of knowledge and the way she delivered that knowledge just sparked my passion to be a histologist. She always presented detailed lectures with exam type questions at the end for students to revise on, making the subject easy to understand.”
Making a difference
Since graduating from AUT in 2021, Shakil now enjoys working as a medical laboratory scientist specialising in histology.
“I enjoy the fact that as a medical laboratory scientist, you never stop learning. I believe this field is a vast ocean of knowledge, where we keep on learning about different abnormalities, developing new methods and techniques, and connecting our findings to make the correct decisions. Histology is one of those fields where there’s constant interaction between the scientists and pathologists, and it’s always a pleasure knowing that your work could potentially help save a patient’s life.
“In this role, I’m responsible for processing tissue samples and preparing slides for the pathologist for examination and diagnosis of malignancies or anatomical dysfunction. Because we’re based at Auckland City Hospital, we also receive a large number of urgent tissue samples from the operating theatres. That requires preparation of frozen sections by cryotomy, followed by rapid staining, for an urgent diagnosis to be made.”
He feels that his studies have prepared him well for his career now.
“Histology has a very manual workflow, therefore when new graduates join the lab, having both practical and theory knowledge is really helpful. Fortunately, AUT’s teaching method covers both aspects. In the last two years of my degree, the practical components of histology ensured that I was confident with all the manual workflows and the laboratory environment. AUT’s histology content is very current, which ensures that students are familiar with recent techniques and methods.”
Advice for other students
Shakil has some great advice for other students.
“Never stop chasing your dreams, take one step at a time and eventually you will get there. Medical laboratory courses can pack a punch, especially in the specialising years, so don’t lose your focus at the start of your degree.
“You also need to be aware that doing a job while studying can be stressful. I was a full-time student and was working in between lectures.”
Ask for help if you need it, he adds.
“If you’re in doubt about something, ask the lecturers to explain. It really helps if you understand your lectures so that you don’t have to spend a lot of time going through it, and instead take some time out for yourself. Just remember that you joined uni for a reason – your input will decide your results, so make the most of it.”