Case studies: Medical Science - Point of Care Testing

The Point of Care Testing elective was offered for the first time to health and medical science students in semester two, 2010 to a class of 17 students. The elective is an initiative from the School of Medical Sciences (HE) and the School of Life and Physical Sciences (VET). The elective provides students with knowledge and practical skills to undertake diagnostic tests using point of care devices to assist in patient management.

Regulatory requirements, documentation and analytical considerations as well as the theory involved in diabetes, glucose metabolism and blood gas measurements are covered in online and face-to-face lectures with HE staff. The practical components of patient testing are delivered by staff from the School of Life and Physical Sciences.


As well as undertaking competency tests in point of care, students are exposed to measurement and reference ranges and quality control procedures. Dr. Ronda Greaves from the School of Medical Sciences said the elective was an important first step for the university and a move forward for the industry.

“Point of care patient testing is an important growth area in Australia and we need graduates to have both a theoretical and practical knowledge of its applications,” she said.


Dr. Greaves acknowledged the hard work of her colleagues Dr. Peter Roche and Dr. Andrew Wootton. She also paid tribute to Ian Farrance for his online work, the support of her School and Professor Denise Jackson. Cheryl Underwood, Head of the School of Life and Physical Sciences, also praised the work of teacher Katie Fox in developing the elective.

“This has been a joint effort, and shows the advantages of both sectors working together to provide better outcomes for our students,” she said.


Some comments from 2010 students:

I have done the Point of Care Testing skills elective (ONPS2426) this semester. My degree is in Medical Science. This elective has given me new practical skills that I could not do in my degree, like collecting actual specimens and using the equipment to test for diabetes or haemoglobin counts etc. I have learnt how to read the different instruments and now understand how mistakes can really happen! It is exciting and valuable to do this course and it is better for my employment.

- Student, Bachelor of Medical Science