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Course Description

The Community Healthcare System School of Medical Laboratory Science program spans 11 months. Students spend the first part of their training in didactic lectures and student laboratory to gain competency to entering the clinical rotations. Major courses are Blood Bank, Chemistry, Hematology and Microbiology.

School of MLS courses include:

Introduction to Clinical Laboratory Principles and Techniques:

Study on the principles of instrumentation, including but not limited to particle/cell counting, clot detection, colorimetric detection, spectrophotometric absorbance, fluorescence, rate reactions, ion selective electrodes, enzyme and immunoassay, electrochemiluminescence, nucleic acid amplification; and biochemical staining as applicable in clinical chemistry, hematology, coagulation, immunohematology and microbiology. The course also covers the principles of quality control, laboratory safety, chemical hygiene, fire safety and response, security awareness, an overview of clinical laboratory departments and testing.

Phlebotomy for the Medical Laboratory Scientist

Study on blood and specimen collection techniques, including venipuncture, capillary collection, nasal and throat swabs, urine collection methods, patient instruction and preparation, with a philosophy of customer service. The class covers specimen and testing requirements, specimen processing, handling, transport, and storage.Other areas of study include discussion of appropriate ordering and associated documentation requirements, such as diagnosis coding, frequency, AMA terminology. Customer-focused AIDET communication, cultural diversity awareness, age appropriate communication, consideration of compassion and empathy is covered in this class.

Urinalysis and Body Fluids

Study on renal anatomy and function, acceptable specimen requirements for testing orders, manual and automated biochemical testing of urine, microscopic examination and disease correlation. The class also covers formation of various body fluids, clinical significance and disease processes, analysis for cells, crystals and biochemistries.

Basic Clinical Immunology and Microbiology Specimen Processing

Study on the principles of antibody-antigen reactions in clinical testing methods, detection of antigen or antibody as indication of disease, rapid immunological testing.  Other areas of study include culture specimen acceptability and processing; plating and incubation techniques.

Hematology and Coagulation

Examination of blood formation, circulatory system function, cell types and cell functions, description of normal and disease states, manual and automated measurement of hematological parameters, and cell identification/differentials. Study of hemostasis, mechanisms, components, sequences, with manual and automated principles and methods screening for coagulopathies, platelet function and therapeutic anticoagulation.

Microbiology in the Clinical Laboratory (Bacteriology, Parasitology, Medical Mycology, Molecular Applications, Immunology)

Clinical application of microbiological identification of normal flora vs. clinically significant organisms vs. opportunistic infections in disease processes. Selection of appropriate culture media for specimen type/acceptability. Morphological and biochemical identification by manual and automated methods, susceptibility testing. Visual, biochemical and immunological identification of human parasites and mycoses. Application of molecular/PCR/NAT in identification of fastidious organisms and viruses. Immunological and fluorescent methods in evaluation of diseases and autoimmune conditions.

Clinical Chemistry

Biochemical measurement of organ-/system-specific analytes to identify normal metabolic functions and/or differentiate disease states, including diabetes, renal, hepatic, and pancreatic disease, blood gases, electrolyte and acid-base balance, cardiac disease, hormone regulation, vitamin deficiencies, therapeutic drug monitoring, toxicology; and special considerations in geriatrics, pediatrics and pregnancy. Exploration of various methodologies in automated systems.

Blood Banking and Transfusion Practice

Genetics of red blood cell antigen groups, inheritance and frequencies, pretransfusion screening for unexpected antibodies to red cell antigens, antibody identification phases and methods -- manual and automated, detection of antibody-sensitized cells. Donor blood collection methods, donor screening and history, component preparation and storage, appropriate component selection, component therapies. Cord blood evaluation for HDFN, screening and quantitation of feto-maternal hemorrhage, prophylactic administration of immunoglobulin-D. Monitoring and regulation of storage and usage. Judicious use and handling of limited and perishable resources.

Topics for Medical Laboratory Scientists

Presented by laboratory administrators and pathologists, MLS topics include quality management, regulatory/accrediting organizations, accrediting agency inspection processes such as CAP, laboratory information systems and EMR, point of care testing applications and usage, reference laboratory testing and utilization, Six Sigma, laboratory supervision and management concerns -- including hiring and budget, and corporate compliance, overview of education and training methods. Principles addressed in these topics may also be presented in specific context in the clinical education courses.

Clinical Study and Design

Principles of clinical trials and studies, research design and methods are covered in this course. Students will participate as a group or individually in the design, implementation, data-gathering, evaluation, summarizing and presentation (dissemination) of findings. The research topic may be assigned or suggested by the program, or chosen by the students with approval from the program. The topic should reflect contemporary laboratory medicine issues of major clinical disciplines (Hematology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Blood Banking). These areas of study may involve new method evaluation, improved diagnostic tools or instrumentation, workflow efficiency, data-mining in evaluation of current methodologies for efficacy, patient safety and/or improving patient outcomes.

Clinical Laboratory Practicum (concurrently with didactic instruction)

Clinical rotations may not coincide with classroom lectures.

Real-time daily laboratory experience in this segment of the MLS program, alongside designated clinical trainers in all areas of clinical laboratory including Blood Bank, Chemistry, Hematology, Coagulation, Microbiology, Parasitology, Mycology, Immunology, Urinalysis, Body Fluids, Phlebotomy, and Specimen Processing and Handling. Specimen acceptability; pre-analytical handling, manual and automated testing; evaluation and interpretation of analytic validity of results in the context of specimen, instrument function and patient disease/condition; post-analytical considerations, such as reporting and documentation of results including any actions, investigation, follow-up and required notifications. Routine instrument maintenance, calibrations, quality control, observation of troubleshooting and repair, as necessary. Review and participation in basic departmental supervisory activities. A brief research/review topic, continuing education activity or case study may be assigned for presentation to the department staff, supervisors and administration during the final week of the clinical rotation.

The goal for the student is to learn processes, instrumentation, and perform laboratory testing. During the clinical practicum, as the student displays acceptable or appropriate skill, instrument operation, or technique to the designated trainer, the student may perform testing under direct guidance/supervision of the trainer.

The student is not expected to perform as a substitute for the trainer in the capacity of an employee.

School of MLS Faculty (in alphabetical order)

Tony Costello, Ph.D., Laboratory Site Director, St. Catherine Hospital
Diana Dingman, MS, MT(ASCP), Hematology Supervisor
Mary Sue Dolan, MT(ASCP), SC, Supervisor, Blood Bank
Dorothy Grisham, MT(ASCP), Supervisor, Phlebotomy
Robert Nelson, MHA, MT(ASCP), Laboratory Site Director, St. Mary Medical Center
Pravin Patel, Ph.D., D(ABBM), M(ASCP), SM(AAM), Supervisor, Microbiology; Immunology
Helen Torres, MS, MT(ASCP), SC, Chemistry & Laboratory Supervisor, Community Hospital
Mary Wallace, MS, MT(ASCP), Program Director, School of MLS