HERSHEY, Pa. — When Mya Falcioni first walked right into a laboratory, she was immediately fascinated by all of the work performed there.
“It’s like an enormous puzzle that it’s a must to determine,” she stated. “Opening the door to the lab all the time brings one thing thrilling.
Falcioni works as a licensed medical laboratory scientist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and is a 2020 graduate of its Medical Laboratory Science Program. This system has acquired an preliminary five-year accreditation from the Nationwide Accreditation Company for Medical Laboratory Sciences.
The accreditation means this system meets the most effective practices and requirements of medical laboratory science (MLS) and follows revered pointers and required curriculum. The expectation is that this system will keep requirements so that it’ll achieve continued accreditation in 2026.
Penn State Well being is celebrating the accomplishment as a result of it serves as a stamp of approval and acknowledges curricular and coaching excellence that gives competent laboratorians to assist meet the wants of institutional and statewide workforce shortages.
This system is just two years outdated with its third class of scholars starting this month. Falcioni stated the 11-month coaching program ready her to work in a big hospital the place laboratories look at a variety of specimens.
Admission into this system is aggressive and based mostly upon educational efficiency, letters of reference and an interview. Solely eight college students are accepted annually. They’ve both accomplished a university diploma or completed three years of undergraduate research earlier than enrolling within the MLS program for his or her last 12 months. This system runs from June via April. College students should have taken stipulations in chemistry, biology and math and earned a GPA of two.75 or better.
Mary Beth Miele, MLS program director, stated the purpose from the beginning has been to create a high-quality program that challenges college students and prepares them to work in quite a lot of settings, together with hospital laboratories, doctor workplace laboratories, reference laboratories, diagnostic gadget manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries. Graduates are also eligible to take a nationwide certification examination that attests to their competency and preparedness as a medical laboratory scientist. One of these certification is required to work in Penn State Well being’s scientific pathology laboratories.
“The laboratory workforce is getting older, and we want youthful individuals who have a robust background in medical laboratory science to take their place,” stated Miele. “This is a crucial job. Lab work doesn’t take a break. It’s wanted 24 hours a day, on daily basis of the 12 months.”
A lot of the program graduates up to now have taken jobs at Milton S. Hershey Medical Middle. Falcioni works within the microbiology lab with about 20 different laboratory professionals. She stated she enjoys her job and, when she determined to pursue a profession in well being care, wished to do one thing hands-on.
Due to the various fields of drugs inside the hospital system, MLS graduates can dive into quite a lot of lab work, from routine blood checks to infectious illness testing for COVID-19 and compatibility testing for blood transfusions, stem cell and organ transplants.
Throughout this system, college students spend the primary six months within the classroom and pupil laboratory the place they be taught fundamental abilities important for the apply of medical laboratory science. Within the final 5 months, they do scientific rotations all through Hershey Medical Middle’s many Medical Pathology laboratories the place they’re paired with skilled laboratorians who train them the every day operations and put together them to apply medical laboratory science.
Laboratory take a look at outcomes inform an estimated 70% of affected person care choices, and medical laboratory scientists present the front-line diagnostics that information medical doctors and nurses on tips on how to take care of sufferers, stated Dr. Melissa George, a professor within the Division of Pathology and Medical Drugs, who was instrumental in supporting the MLS program.
“The pandemic has introduced our unsung heroes out from behind the scenes to the forefront,” she stated. “The medical laboratory science program is important to the pipeline of future laboratory professionals who will present affected person care within the years to return.”