Medical Laboratory Science Program

Medical Laboratory Science Program

The Sanford Health medical laboratory science program is committed to providing educational and practical instruction, which will allow our students to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to attain a high level of competency in the practice of medical laboratory science. The medical laboratory science program is one of several educational programs at Sanford Health and is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

The MLS program consists of 48 weeks (in Sioux Falls) or 50 weeks (in Fargo) of combined didactic classroom lecture and real life clinical laboratory training in our state of the art medical laboratory. The student to instructor ratio in the classroom is ten to one. The clinical training in the laboratory is typically one to one with an instructing staff member or instructor. A certificate of completion is awarded to graduating students.

The majority of students enrolled in the program are college seniors on affiliation from their respective colleges to complete the requirements for a medical laboratory science degree. Other students are those who have obtained a baccalaureate degree prior to entry. Graduates of this program are eligible to take national certifying examinations, including those of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) Board of Certification.

Fargo Program

Mission, Vision & Guiding Principles

Mission

The Sanford Health Program for Medical Laboratory Science's mission is to educate, support and inspire our students to become competent, fully functioning professionals in their career choice of clinical laboratory scientists so they can go on to improve the health and quality of life of the people they serve.

The program in medical laboratory science offers a 50-week curriculum at the senior college level leading to a bachelor degree in medical laboratory science from the intern's respective academic institution. After successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take national certification exams from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) Board of Certification. Graduates are then eligible for licensing or any additional testing that may be required by individual states.

Vision

  • To provide accurate, up-to-date education to meet the changing needs of the laboratory and health care environment.
  • To provide a framework to allow students and educators to interact in a positive, vital, respectful environment.
  • To provide support for students as individuals with varied concerns, therefore assisting in making for a successful internship year.
  • To inspire students to higher levels of thought process and expertise, and thus competency.
  • To inspire students to personally aspire to a goal of being a life-long learner.

Guiding Principles

  • We realize that each student, although part of a class, is an individual.
  • We realize that as individuals, each student may benefit from alternative learning styles.
  • We realize that it is each individual student's job to take responsibility for his or her own learning.

We realize that our goal is to provide education to enable each student to obtain entry-level laboratory competency.

Requirements

Sanford Health Program for Medical Laboratory Science academic acceptance policy assumes that the intern candidate has successfully completed the pre-clinical curriculum as proscribed by their respective academic institution. Minimum requirements for acceptance into the Sanford Program include anatomy and physiology, immunology, organic/biochemistry, genetic/molecular biology, microbiology, and statistics. The policy also states that the candidate have a cumulative grade point average of 2.8 (on a scale of 0-4.0) or higher and a scientific grade point average of 3.0 or higher. As acceptance into the internship is granted during the fall semester of the year prior to internship, Sanford Health Program for Medical Laboratory Science reserves the right to deny a student enrollment or participation in the training program if required or recommended course work is not completed or if individual grades are below a "C" (2.0) level after the student has been accepted into the program.

Successful completion of the program and the award of certification depend on a passing grade of at least 71% out of 100% on departmental lecture, practical material, student presentations and comprehensive exams. The educational degree is awarded through the students' academic institution. A full graded internship transcript is sent to the students' affiliate to become part of the students' institutional permanent record. At this point graduates are eligible to take national certification exams from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists Board of Certification. Upon successfully passing these exams, the graduates are then eligible for licensure or additional testing that may be required by individual states.

Application Process

The application deadline is Oct. 15 of the year prior to the internship with interviews and candidate selection completed in November. Sanford Program for Medical Laboratory Science accepts a maximum of 10 interns per school year. Applications are available through the affiliated academic institutions. Application evaluation is based on GPA, three professional references, a letter stating why said individual is interested in the field of Medical Laboratory Science and an interview with faculty and staff involved with the program. Interviews will be based on but not inclusive of the following:

  1. College course background
  2. Experience
  3. Presence
  4. Conversational ability and alertness
  5. Cooperation, maturity and self-concept
  6. Attitude toward internship

Sanford is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Sanford strives to be a great place to work and a great place to receive care. All applicants accepting an offer of employment at Sanford must consent to a drug screen.

Students who wish to become clinical laboratory scientists must meet the following minimal mental and physical requirements and sign the Essential Functions document, which should be included in the application forms process:

  1. Have reading, mathematics and writing skills
  2. Be able to communicate verbally
  3. Have eye-hand coordination and finger dexterity
  4. Be able to stand for extended periods of time
  5. Be able to lift/carry up to 30 pounds to waist level
  6. Have corrected vision and hearing to normal range
  7. Be able to work in highly stressful situations under time constraints
  8. Have good color vision
  9. Be willing to work in situations where the risk of exposure to blood and blood borne pathogens is high

The start date is the first Monday of June with completion of the program the following May. A non-refundable application fee of $25 is required at the time of application. In addition, any candidate accepted into the program must pay a non-refundable commitment fee of $150 (which will be applied toward the cost of required course textbooks) and a criminal background evaluation fee of $30.

Upon admission to the program, students must provide documentation of vaccination/immunity to measles, mumps, rubella and Hepatitis B virus, have had a TB skin test within twelve months of program initiation and have proof of both medical and liability insurance coverage. (Liability coverage is provided by the academic institution in some cases.)

Students must continue to pay tuition to their academic institution during the internship, as both credits and degree are awarded through the academic institution following successful completion of the internship program. Sanford does not refund tuition in cases of dismissal or withdrawal from the program.

Students who choose to withdraw from the program need to submit a letter of formal resignation to the Program Director.

Students may be dismissed from the program for violations of Sanford School or Health System policies after a series of both verbal and written warnings have gone unheeded.

We would be happy to send out a complete listing of policies and procedures, rules and regulations that apply to the Sanford Health Program for Medical Laboratory Science. If interested, please contact:

Sue Hollister, MS, MT(ASCP)
Program Director
Sanford Health
PO Box 2010
Fargo, ND 58122-0040
(701) 234-2877

Accreditation

Sanford Program for Medical Laboratory Science is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS), 5600 N River Road Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018, phone (773) 714-8880. NAACLS is recognized by the Council for Higher Education (CHEA). Recognition by CHEA affirms that standards and processes of accrediting organizations are consistent with quality improvement and expectations of accountability. Accreditation is a process of external peer review, which in turn grants public recognition to a program of study or an institution that meets established qualifications and educational standards.

Accreditation:

  1. Identifies for the public specialized programs and institutions that meet nationally established standards of educational quality.
  2. Stimulates improvement of educational programs involving faculty and staff in ongoing self-evaluation, research and planning.
  3. Promotes a better understanding of the goals of professional education.
  4. Provides reasonable assurance that practitioners meet minimum educational standards upon entry into the profession.

Sanford Health Program for Medical Laboratory Science maintains current accreditation and its oversight is the responsibility of a Program Director and an Advisory Committee. This committee is made up of both internal and external members involved in both industry and/or education. The committee's purpose is to discuss issues of relevancy and effectiveness in regards to curriculum, program and student policies, current student issues and appropriate market concerns to allow for a vital, responsive educational environment for our students and our school.

Internship Overview

Course Overview
The internship is spent helping students achieve the goal of becoming competent professionals in their chosen field of clinical laboratory science. At entry level into the profession, the MLS graduate will have the skills and basic knowledge to:

  • Be proficient at performing testing in each respective clinical rotation
  • Correlate laboratory testing to disease states and the impact on patient care
  • Utilize critical decision making and data driven strategies to solve problems in the clinical lab
  • Identify preanalytical, analytical, and postanalytic components of laboratory processes
  • Utilize the principles of quality assurance and continuous quality improvement practices in the clinical laboratory
  • Communicate effectively regarding laboratory issues with intra- and interdisciplinary team members
  • Participate in the development and evaluation of test systems
  • Demonstrate professional attributes

Didactic Lecture/Faculty
Typically didactic (formal) lecture takes place for 45 weeks out of the 50-week internship. Lectures are presented in the laboratory classroom Monday through Thursday from 1:15-3:30pm on two different areas of interest separated by a 15 minute break. Students are responsible and are tested on all concepts and knowledge presented. Students are also responsible for all information listed as reference information on the objectives and/or course syllabus. Information will be presented in such a format as to prepare the student with clinical and applicable thinking skills as well as preparation for national certification exams. The schools' faculty is composed primarily of Sanford laboratory managers, technologists and pathologists who share their expertise and knowledge with the interns. Arrangement for guest lecturers is the responsibility of individual lecturers if it is determined that the knowledge would be complementary and/or applicable. As an example, a PharmD might be invited to give a lecture about drug toxicology.

It is the students' responsibility to obtain lecture information in the event of a student absence. Lectures may be taped if so requested by a student in advance, or one-on-one make up lectures can be scheduled depending on the lecturer’s schedule.

The student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1.

Sanford is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Sanford strives to be a great place to work and a great place to receive care. All applicants accepting an offer of internship at Sanford must consent to a drug screen for cause.

Course Requirements

Orientation
All students start the clinical training with one week of orientation. This orientation typically includes:

  • Mandatory employee education, training and testing.
  • Laboratory safety training.
  • Review of student policies and procedures.
  • Introduction to phlebotomy.
  • Introduction to laboratory specific skills and departments.
  • Introduction to the Sanford Library System.
  • Introduction and training in the SCC laboratory information system.

Sanford Health is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. A pre-orientation meeting is also held in February of the spring prior to the beginning of the internship year. The meeting is attended by the program director, education coordinator, academic program directors and both current and future students. This meeting allows time for both current and future students to interact and allows future students the opportunity to meet each other. Issues discussed deal with student policies, the intensity of the program, dress code, vacation days, etc.

Phlebotomy
Phlebotomy, or the technique of obtaining a blood specimen, is an integral part of the internship process. The process involves not only the actual collection of a proper specimen but also all of the customer service interaction that is inherent in the process of blood collection. All interns will be instructed on proper phlebotomy techniques for both outpatient and inpatient collections, appropriate specimens for testing requirements, customer service and legal ramifications of invasive procedures. Interns will continue with actual blood drawing (venipuncture) processes until competency has been acquired and then periodically throughout the internship to maintain competency.

Hematology
Students spend ten weeks in three rotations training in hematology. Students perform specimen processing, instrumentation, blood cell differentials and miscellaneous testing. Students are evaluated on the basis of their professional capabilities, competency at performing routine testing, a case study report, proficiency at identification of unknown case study differentials, completion of worksheets, weekly testing and completion of a final exam. Students receive approximately 40 didactic lectures on hematology and are evaluated on the basis of unit examinations and a Kodachrome slide examination.

Chemistry
Students spend 10 and a half weeks training in chemistry. During the first two rotations, the student will spend time on five major areas of chemistry including general chemistry, toxicology, miscellaneous testing, specific protein and immunological testing along with customer communication and interaction and lab flow. The second two rotations include hormone testing, serological testing and a review of all previous knowledge and skills. Students are evaluated on the basis of their professional capabilities, competency at performing testing, chemistry presentation, weekly rotational exams and worksheets and a comprehensive final exam. Students receive approximately 45 didactic lectures on chemistry and are evaluated on the basis of unit examinations and worksheets. 

Coagulation
Students spend one and a half weeks separated into two rotations. During the first rotation basic instrumentation and testing along with case studies are presented and performed. The second rotation involves specialty coagulation testing and case studies. Students are evaluated on the basis of their professional capabilities, competency at performing routine testing, case studies and both weekly and final exams. Students receive approximately 20 didactic lectures and evaluated on the basis of examinations and worksheets given during the lecture series.

Immunohematology
Students spend ten weeks in three rotations learning blood group system serology, component preparation, antibody identification and blood product selection for patients. Students are evaluated on the basis of their professional capabilities, competency at performing routine tests and component preparation, proficiency at recognizing and solving serological problems, case study or research paper, weekly exams during first rotation and completion of a final comprehensive exam. Students receive approximately 45 didactic lectures on transfusion medicine and are evaluated on the basis of five lecture exams and case studies.

Immunology
Students spend one week in serology/immunology observing and performing manual serological test methods. Students are evaluated on their professional skills, competency at performing the manual tests, completion of a serology worksheet and their ability to write and perform an immunological procedure using the manufacturer’s package insert. Students receive approximately 25 lectures on basic immunology and diagnostic techniques. Evaluation is based on examinations and case studies given during the lecture series. 

Microbiology/Molecular Diagnostics
Students spend twelve weeks in training on bacteriology benches with added exposure to virology, parasitology, specimen processing and culture inoculation. Students are evaluated on the basis of their professional capabilities, competency at performing routine testing, case study reports, proficiency of identification of unknowns, a formal case study presentation and examinations. Students receive 95 lectures on microbiology topics including bacteriology, parasitology, mycology, mycobacteriology, virology and molecular diagnostics. Evaluation is based on examinations and worksheets given during lectures. 

Microscopy
Students spend three weeks in one rotation training on the urinalysis bench with exposure to specimen processing and routine physical, chemical and microscopic analysis of urine. Students are evaluated on the basis of their professional capabilities, competency at performing routine testing, study questions, proficiency at the analysis of unknowns, acceptable completion of an online education course with competencies and completion of a final exam. Students receive approximately 20 didactic lectures on urinalysis and evaluations are based on examinations and worksheets given during the lecture series.             

Professional Topics
The professional topics course provides discussion, lectures and learning experiences for clinical laboratory management, quality systems, ethics, educational methodologies and research practice. This course is also the culminating experience in which students are expected to integrate their academic and clinical rotation training to extend, critique and apply knowledge gained in the clinical laboratory science major. Students have approximately eight didactic lectures on clinical laboratory management, which includes principles applicable to the purchase of current laboratory instrumentation and information systems, four hours on educational methodologies and six hours on research design and practice. Students are evaluated on the basis of examinations and the submission of a culminating document or presentation.

Sioux Falls Program

Course Overview

The MLS program consists of 48 weeks of combined didactic classroom lecture and real life clinical laboratory training in our state of the art medical laboratory. The student to instructor ratio in the classroom is ten to one. The clinical training in the laboratory is typically one to one with an instructing staff member or instructor. A certificate of completion is awarded to graduating students.

The majority of students enrolled in the program are college seniors on affiliation from their respective colleges to complete the requirements for a medical laboratory science degree. Other students are those who have obtained a baccalaureate degree prior to entry. Graduates of this program are eligible to take national certifying examinations, including those of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) Board of Certification.

Download the essential requirements guide.
View the gainful employment and program outcome.

Application

How do I apply?

Application for admissions to any hospital-based Medical Laboratory Science Program is made through the Committee on Medical Laboratory Education (COMLE). A resume is required.

Application Instructions
Application for Admission
Reference Form

Program Sites:

Mercy Medical Center
801 5th Street
Sioux City, IA 51101
Dr. Askar Qalbani, Medical Director
Mary Smith, Education Coordinator
Phone: (712) 279-2371
Fax: (721) 279-2372
Email

St. Luke's College – UnityPoint Health
2720 Stone Park Blvd
Sioux City, IA 51104
Dr. James Quesenberry, Medical Director
Pam Briese, Program Director
Phone: (712) 279-3967
Fax: (712) 233-8017
Email

Sanford USD Medical Center
1305 W. 18th Street FAX:
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5039
Dr. DesiRae Muirhead, Medical Director
Renee Rydell, Program Director
Phone: (605) 333-7104
Fax: (605) 333-1532
Email

NOTE: Applications are accepted Aug. 1 to Oct. 1 for the programs starting the following summer. Deadline for receipt of application form and official transcript is Oct. 1. Applications postmarked after Oct. 1 will not be considered. Application must have a GPA of at least 2.80 to be considered for evaluation.

Contact Information

Renee Rydell - Program Director
Sanford USD Medical Center
1305 West 18th Street, PO Box 5039
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5039
(605) 333-7104
Email