Carter BloodCare at Medical City Dallas
“Medical laboratory technology may not sound familiar to you, but you might already have experienced its services if you have ever been sick. The first thing a doctor orders in the ER is to draw a blood specimen and send it to a medical lab for analysis. Doctors make almost all decisions based on lab results, which play a vital role in almost every medical field.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for me to go back to school, since I was already in my late 30s, and had two children to take care of. I didn’t know anything about Medical Lab Technology — my major was economics and I was a stockbroker for many years in South Korea. Worst of all, my English was not good at all.
“Though I had earned a bachelor’s degree in South Korea, I had to take the TSI (Texas Success Initiative) test to attend a college-level class because I didn’t graduate from high school in the U.S. It was hard while I took prerequisites for a year and a half, and I can never forget the first class I took. It was English composition, and the professor was much younger than I. Whenever I talked with the professor or asked questions in class, I was embarrassed because I didn’t know how to say things well in English. I also needed much more time than the other students to read books and to understand my classes. It was very hard.
“When I heard I got admitted to the Medical Lab Tech program, I yelled and jumped up and down. I was more than happy because I was one step closer to my goal. After I joined the program, it was a lot different from the prerequisites. It wasn’t so competitive anymore. All of us students became friends, and we helped and encouraged one another. My only competitor was myself. I always said to myself ‘do some more, do some more.’ I had to take care of my kids while I was at home, and the only way to save some time to study was to sleep less. It was very hard, but I didn’t want to fail.
“The most fun part of the Medical Laboratory Technology program was studying and making friends with other students; we were from all over the world and not only studied together but shared cultures and food. We had a lot of fun together and became real friends. The professors in the program are also very patient and knowledgeable.
“Time just flew, and I finished the program successfully. I was also named Medical Laboratory Technology ‘Student of the Year.’ I passed the ASCP certification test with a very good score and got a job where I did a clinical rotation.
“I’m working in a blood bank now, which provides patients with the best matching blood products such as red blood cells, platelets. Without a blood bank, it wouldn’t be possible to have blood for surgery, transplantation and dialysis.
“I currently work the night shift, and I also have one more baby to take care of. My life is still very challenging, but I enjoy it. I love what I’m doing, and I’m so proud that I’m a part of this profession. And I am still moving forward.
“Now I want to encourage you. If I could make it with all the obstacles I had, including having to learn to speak English, why can’t you? Now it is your turn. Challenge yourself and make your dream come true in El Centro’s Medical Laboratory Technology program.”
Dongho Kim is a medical laboratory technologist (MLT) certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and has a categorical Blood Bank certificate (BB). A graduate of El Centro’s Medical Laboratory Technology associate degree program, he previously earned a degree in economics from Yeungnam University in Gyeongsan, in his native country of the Republic of South Korea.