Course Title: Contemporary Issues in Laboratory Medicine

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Contemporary Issues in Laboratory Medicine

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014

Course Coordinator: Janine Grant

Course Coordinator Phone: (03) 9342-7360

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Royal Melbourne Hospital

Course Coordinator Availability: By email or phone

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Students should have a working knowledge and experience of either diagnostic and/or medical research laboratories that allow them to contextualize their learning to the professional practice of Laboratory Medicine.

Course Description

This course is designed for practicing medical scientists and will acqaint them with some of the major scientific and managerial issues affecting current practice in laboratory medicine. This course is intended to cover the capabilities of knowledge (of Vitamin D, platelets and cardiovascular disease, non surgical cutup, blood doping, respiratory diseases & immunisation, pathology services in developed countries, somatic mutations in cancer, influenza, and disaster victim identification) , technical and management capability (in applying to different fields of laboratory medicine), professional work practices ( by participating in work place duties and applying higher level understanding), communication skills (through participation in on-line conferences and in completing written assessments) and reflective capability ( in development of a learning journal throughout the course).

Throughout the course students will examine ’state of the art’ advances in the diagnosis, pathophysiology, management and treatment of diseases from a laboratory medicine perspective. It will also promote an integration of ideas and practices affecting the delivery of health care services to communities and will allow medical scientists from all disciplines to reflect on their respective roles in the delivery of that service. The nature of this course requires the content to be dynamic and reflect current and future practices in laboratory medicine.

The delivery format will comprise provision of on-line learning materials to allow independent study on a range of topics selected from the list provided below. Selection of topics to be covered will be influenced by the background and specialities of the particular cohort of students taking the subject. All topic areas will address ’leading edge’ advances in medical science and will have input from specialist experts in the topic area. Students will also input to the topics through online discussion groups where they are able to link electronically with the topic authors and coordinators.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This couse contains the following program learning outcomes including (1) knowledge capability; (2) technical and management capability; (3) professional work practices; (4) communication skills and (5) reflective capability.

Upon completion of this course it is intended that you should be able to:

1. Be conversant in a wide variety of contemporary issues in laboratory medicine related to the delivery of health care services ranging from ethical and economic through to scientific and developmental.
2. Be confident in presenting opinions on any of these issues and be able to effectively justify arguments and viewpoints.
3. Be conscious of the professional responsibilities that senior medical scientists have in developing and promoting cross-disciplinary advances leading to improved health and community care.
4. Be able to develop a multdisciplinary perspective on contemporary issues related to laboratory medicine.
5. Develop awareness of the association between age, diet, lifestyle and disease and the varying approaches to health care in different communities and cultures.

On conclusion of this course you will have demonstrated through participation in online conferences, submission of critical reviews and submission of a learning journal:

1.   an awareness and understanding of a number of contemporary issues impacting on healthcare delivery;
2.   the role of medical scientists in that delivery process, and a
3.  considered opinions on the delivery of diagnostic services now and into the future.

Overview of Learning Activities

In this course, a number of topic areas in laboratory medicine will be selected in which there have been notable recent advances in the field. By combining online delivery of learning materials, assessment tasks and interaction between students and staff using online discussion boards, students will develop informed opinions on a range of contemporary issues.

It is expected that this course will enable students to gain a wider perspective on disease and disease control and to become more aware of life pattern changes associated with clinical symptoms and abnormalities. In addition, students will be capable of critically evaluating the contribution of modern science and technology and its organisational structure to the future of medical science and health care.

The flexible learning style through independent study and online delivery and interaction will allow students to communicate as medical scientists on a broader level with confidence and to assert influence on changes to multidisciplinary health care delivery both locally, nationally and internationally.

Overview of Learning Resources

The RMIT Library has an extensive range of electronic databases providing access to full-text articles.

To find articles on these topics, search Library databases such as Proquest and Ebsco Business Source Premier for international articles, and APA Full text and Worklit for Australian material.

For an overview of finding information on Laboratory Medicine, check:

Overview of Assessment

Students will be assessed on electronic submitted written assignments based on the topic areas covered in the program. In addition, students will be assessed on participation in online discussion groups and tutorials arranged by the course coordinator and other teaching staff. The final assessment task involves maintenace of an electronic learning journal detailing learning experiences and activities.