Jamaal Jackson–Grau is a Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (OMT) with the Stanton Territorial Hospital Clinic in Yellowknife, NWT. Originally from Wisconsin, with a Degree in Sociology and Criminology, Jamaal found it challenging to find a career opportunity where he could make a meaningful and positive impact on people’s lives.
When he found out about the fully paid, 2-year Ophthalmic Medical Technologist Training Program (OMTTP) through his wife’s friend and word of mouth in the community, his interest was piqued. “At the time, I remember thinking I wanted to use my skills from my Sociology education where I could really connect directly with people and see immediate improvements to their well-being. I was drawn to the short, but intensive, length of the program compared to something like a Nursing degree. The tuition cost for the program being fully covered was also a bonus along with the fact that I would have hard skills and a career that I could take with me anywhere in the world.”
When asked what the most surprising aspects of his program were, Jamaal admitted “The highly intense and highly immersive nature of the training where you are placed in direct, hands on contact with patients early in the program. It’s very much sink or swim and mostly has to do with the client interaction, which some people may not be good at dealing with, but which my Sociology degree prepared me for. Preparedness for all the travel clinics was also a nice surprise, as you really learned about what goes into travel clinics for the community since you must bring all your diagnostic tools.”
Which leads into Jamaal’s favorite part of the programs: “Getting to experience the diverse communities all across the NWT and the Baffin region of Nunavut. The people are warm and welcoming, always really excited for the services I provide. To date, I’ve been to 24 of the NWT’s 33 communities.”
Jamaal’s experience finds him in an amazing career in a Territory he still calls home despite the mobility his job provides him. His advice and final thoughts for those interested in the OMTTP? “Be prepared to work hard and don’t take the training lightly. Enjoy what you are doing with the clients and remember, this is an environment where you can have fun working in a fuller scope of practice than you would in the south. The rewards of being an Ophthalmic Medical Technologist are endless and you will be genuinely appreciated by those you help.”
For more information on the OMTTP program and to apply, please visit: www.practicenwt.ca/en/omttp