Blue Bell, PA —Each November, students in the Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) perform an important service for members of the college community—free health screenings that would typically cost patients more than $300!
For cash- and time-strapped college students, tests that include complete blood count, complete cholesterol profile, blood glucose, prothrombin time, blood type and routine urinalysis, can play a critical role in helping them to manage their health and wellness.
On Nov. 6, 23 MLT students performed 95 screenings for 19 patients during the program’s annual service learning activity. The exercise presents MLT students with realistic situations like those found in a hospital or an outpatient setting. It also provides sophomore students with experience mentoring MLT freshmen.
“There’s some things the first year students haven’t seen all. We’re here to introduce them to some of the equipment and answer their questions,” said Danielle Maninger, a sophomore MLT student who expects to graduate in May.
Maninger was on phlebotomy duty during part of the MLT activity—something she mastered during her off-campus clinical work at Holy Redeemer Hospital.
“I’m more confident now,” she said, referring to performing phlebotomy as a second-year student. “We only practice phlebotomy on each other, not on patients, in the first year.”
In addition to gaining mentoring and phlebotomy experience, sophomore students progress through all of the laboratory stations—from the registration process, to sample collection, to completion of the lab tests, and, finally, to evaluation of the accuracy and relevance of the results during the exercise.
“This activity is a collaborative experience between our freshmen and sophomore students who do not have the opportunity to interact normally because of their course and clinical schedules,” explained Debra Eckman, assistant professor and MLT program director. “The first year students love learning something new, and participation during their first year gives them insight into what their roles will be in the MLT activity during their sophomore year.”
MLT sophomore Brandon Engle feels he has more independence this year, participating in his second screening exercise.
“Everything for me is more hands-on. You have to figure out how to do the tests on your own,” shared Engle who is currently doing his clinical work at Grandview Hospital.
MCCC accepts 16 students annually into its nationally accredited Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program. Graduates are eligible to sit for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) examination, and many go on to enjoy rewarding careers as MLTs in hospitals, commercial laboratories, physician offices and pharmaceutical companies.
To learn more about the College’s MLT program, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics, then select Areas of Study, followed by Medical Laboratory Technician, or contact Assistant Professor Debra Eckman at 215-641-6487 or firstname.lastname@example.org.