A promising program for science lovers

Do you have a high school student who excels in science, but doesn’t know where they want those skills to take them? Are you a chemistry or biology major mapping out your career path? We might have a compatible career option. Brian Goff MA, MLS(ASCP)CM, education/safety specialist, program director, Parkview Health Lab, and Lynn Subler, MLS(ASCP)CM, medical lab scientist, share their thoughts on the Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program.

The program

Brian: The MLS program is a rotation-based medical laboratory science program that is 11 months long, usually running from the second week in July to the first full week of June. Students spend most of their time working in the clinical laboratory with clinical instructors. They have lectures two days a week (Tuesday and Wednesday mornings) and spend the rest of their time in the clinical laboratory learning to perform laboratory tests that physicians rely on to diagnose and treat patients. In both lecture and laboratory educational activities students learn how to operate and maintain sophisticated analytical instruments and the significance of each test they perform.

When the student graduates from the MLS program, they are eligible to sit for a national certification exam such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology – Board of Certification exam or the American Medical Technologists exam. Parkview students have done well on the ASCP-BOR examination and compare well with other hospital-based MLS programs.

Praise from a recent grad

Lynn: I graduated from the Parkview MLS Internship in 2015 and passed by board of certification (BOC) test the first time. I got a job working at Parkview Regional Medical Center as soon as I graduated, working second shift in the blood bank. I worked there for 1 ½ years then got a job working first shift in the chemistry department, where I later become the automated chemistry student instructor.

I liked the idea of staying in the Fort Wayne area after I graduated, and Parkview loves to employ their own students. Also the bench isn’t just a student bench. I was working and being taught by actual techs who work in the hospital lab every day. This made the transition from student to tech quite smooth, because I already knew what to expect. Some students even get a part-time job working in the lab during their internship.

When I graduated, I felt prepared for what was expected of me for both the BOC and as a working tech. And most importantly, everybody in the Parkview lab is both enjoyable to work with and incredibly knowledgeable in their field. By the end of the internship I didn’t want to work anywhere but Parkview. I love the opportunity I was given.

Why is this program so notable for the area?

Brian: Parkview Regional Medical Center’s MLS program is one of only seven bachelor degree MLS programs in Indiana that are accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science and the only bachelor degree MLS program in northeast Indiana. The MLS program provides essential personnel for healthcare teams in the treatment of patients.

Who might be interested in this opportunity?

Brian: Our MLS students need a strong background in science to do well in the program. Biology, chemistry or other science majors with at least 16 hours of biology (that includes microbiology and immunology), and 16 hours of chemistry (with at least one semester of organic and/or biochemistry) are eligible to apply. For students returning to school to pursue a second career and already have a bachelor’s degree in another major may be eligible to apply as long as they have completed the 16 hours of biology and 16 hours of chemistry with recent (last 7 years) courses in microbiology, immunology and an upper-level chemistry class, such as organic and/or biochemistry. Students also must have a minimum GPA of 2.7 or higher (both overall and science).

Lynn: They should have a love of science and an interest in the medical field. We perform hundreds of tests in order to help physicians make a proper diagnosis and to help them monitor patient treatments. There are a number of different departments you can choose to work in as well, such as chemistry, immunology, molecular, microbiology, hematology, urinalysis, coagulation and blood bank. MLS is also a great career option if you don’t want to work in a hospital. You could do technical work for companies that make laboratory instrumentation or you could choose to work at a reference lab. Either way, MLS is a high demand, rewarding career option.

What opportunities are available at Parkview for those who complete the program?

Brian: The primary opportunity at Parkview Health for the graduates of our program is a job working as a medical laboratory scientist in one of Parkview’s hospital laboratories. Once working at Parkview Health Laboratories, graduates may pursue career tracks specializing in a particular area of the lab, such as chemistry or blood bank. They may want to pursue roles in management or to work in some of our other specialties, such as education, safety, point-of-care testing, compliance and accreditation.

What can people do if they’re interested in applying?

Contact Brian Goff, program director, at (260) 266-1504, or by email at brian.goff@parkview.com. Applications for the term that starts in July are taken during the summer and fall of the year before. So, to attend the class that starts in 2019, the application and all college transcripts must be received by December 1, 2018. Interviews start in October and run to December 15. The application and transcripts must be received before the student will be granted an interview.

 

 

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