Contact information:

Mrs Mariaan Buckle
Lecturer
Tel: 27 41 504 3354
Mariaan.Buckle@mandela.ac.za

Evolve Team Series: Medical Laboratory Science

17/11/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it, including the way we work. The Evolve Team Series seeks to capture these changes and salute staff in navigating and adapting to remain productive in very trying circumstances. Tell us how your team as evolved (see details at end).

Medical Laboratory Science team finds new balance

In establishing a new balance with their new way of teaching and developing students, the Medical Laboratory Science team committed to continue to strive for excellence, albeit that there could be no out-of-the-box thinking. There was neither a proverbial box nor guidelines for navigating the changes. 

What is the role and responsibility of your team?
The core purpose of the Department of Medical Laboratory Science is to teach and develop students into fit-for-purpose health professionals, adding value to the health sector. The purpose of our office is to facilitate this in providing students with accurate, career-related knowledge and guidance through various practices.

What were the biggest hurdles that you had to overcome during lockdown?

  • Our disconnect from a dedicated work space, colleagues and students often becomes overwhelming and creates haziness between home and work life, and
  • Keeping in mind that individuals differ, we found that by extending common courtesy and respecting colleagues’ time goes a long way in yielding productivity.

What new skills has your team learnt – as individuals and as a whole?

To aptly quote our Faculty of Health Sciences Director of Learning and Teaching “dismiss thinking out of the box … THERE IS NO BOX”.

Staff are constantly navigating the virtual platform and discovering methods of facilitating learning and teaching beyond the confinement of a classroom without compromising the quality of education. Equipping our students with the necessary tools to yield well rounded professionals, remains a top priority, including the adjustment of what would ordinarily be a hands-on experience. To facilitate this, academics together with laboratory staff, thoroughly investigated and facilitated practical components via the virtual platform and reported an improved overall depth of understanding.

With the move to digital operations, how best can you describe your new way of working?

We have most certainly adapted to working smarter as information can simply be accessed and shared by the touch of a button. Despite teething problems and ongoing challenges, we have certainly paved a way for new and innovative teaching practices that will remain long after COVID has passed.

In the midst of global change, our department has gained new appreciation for the profession and industry to which we belong. This remains the driving force in continuing to serve colleagues and students with EXCELLENCE!

Or to quote the experience MLS Department 2020 student:

“We have all been through an incredibly challenging year in many ways. However, our amazing lecturers and staff have gone above and beyond to ensure that we, as students, are well-supported in navigating the world of online-learning. This pandemic has emphasised to us as students the importance of our future profession and we cannot wait to make our own contribution one day. “ - Jonel Roos BHSc: MLS Third Year

Left to Right - Jyoti Anandjiwala, Lindsey Beyleveld, Siphokazi Tili, Fiona Van Rayner, Thando Bada and Mariaan Buckle. In front Leyli Zondie

Share your Team’s Evolve story with us by responding to the above questions and capture shots of your team wherever they are working.