Progressing as a Lab Technician

NaikaruaScience classes were Naikarua’s favourite times in school.  Having a keen interest in the experiments conducted during lab sessions, he chose to enroll in the Pure Science stream from Year 11 in high school and studied Biology, Chemistry and Physics.         

Naikarua worked hard in school and attained marks he needed to qualify for the Bachelor in Medical Laboratory Science programme at the Fiji National University’s (FNU) College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS).

“I chose medical laboratory science because I believe that science helps us understand the workings of the world. I have always been interested in inquiring how things grow, how things move, and why certain organisms exist,” said Naikarua.

“My interest has always been in science and FNU had the best fit programme for my interest in this career so I chose FNU and crossed my fingers that I was going to graduate with this degree,” he said.

Originally from Ra, Naikarua is an only child and grew up in Nadi.  He left home in 2015 to begin his tertiary education at FNU’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences in Suva.

“Student life was intense. It was a sprint and marathon.  It was a lot of hard work. I kicked off with seven units in my freshman year. With those many units, we had either formative or summative assessments nearly every other week. So I was constantly in study mode. You adjust though; you learn how to scrape together time here and there for personal relaxation, to run errands, or to get other stuff done. Once you get used to it, I think you’re alright,” said Naikarua.

As a student at FNU, Naikarua served as the Vice President for the Medical Laboratory Science Student Association.

“I was very fortunate to be part of a team that hosted the first ever blood drive for medical students on campus,” he said.

In 2017, he received two accolades: a Research Presenting Scholarship by Fiji Institute of Medical Scientists, and, an award for the Best Undergraduate Research Presenter by the Pacific Paramedical Training Centre (PPTC), New Zealand.

“I have had the best lecturers at the FNU. I don’t think I could ever ask for a better tutor or research supervisor to guide me through my journey in discovering life through lenses of microscopes than this group of gifted people at FNU. For this I will always be grateful for FNU,” he added.

Naikarua graduated with a Bachelor in Medical Laboratory Science in December 2017.

He began working for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services as the Divisional Tuberculosis Project Officer – West. He worked on this post for one year before taking up his current position, Microbiology Technical Officer at the Lautoka Hospital.

“My present job focuses on microorganisms. Microorganisms that are potentially harmful to the human population. I prepare cultures from specimens, identify and classify various organisms. These organisms can be in the form of bacteria, virus, parasite or fungi. I carry out scientific based investigations to discover these organisms. With these discovered organisms my team and I will have to agree on drugs suitable to treat these organisms so we assist doctors in something we call antibiotic susceptibilities. These drugs are carefully considered after a series of measurements and confirmations before we dispatch each document out,” said Naikarua.

Naikarua draws his inspiration from his mother who is a Pastry Chef.  “Her love and hard work as a single mother made me understand that I could have no greater ambition in life than to be the best possible son for her. She’s the one person in my life whom I want to make proud,” he said. 

Naikarua’s advise to tertiary students is not to procrastinate and to prioritize time as well as to take responsibility for themselves and their actions.

Over the next five years, Naikarua plans to attain a Masters in Microbiology.