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The Program


The UPMC Chautauqua Medical Laboratory Science Program is an accredited, 45-week, preceptorship offering intensive study and experience in clinical laboratory science as the final year of a Bachelor's degree (or Advanced Certificate).  The classroom-based and hands-on medical education is designed to develop a responsible and competent laboratory professional who will be prepared to pass an examination required for national certification as a Medical Laboratory Scientist.

A student engaged in the 3 + 1 (or 4 + 1) university plan, spends the first three (or four) years of undergraduate study enrolled in a Medical Laboratory Science curriculum at an accredited USA college or university that will culminate in a Bachelor of Science (or Advanced Certificate) upon completion of the medical laboratory program year.  At the start of the fall semester of the final year on-sight at the university, the student applies to a hospital-based program for possible acceptance.  It is understood that prerequisites might not be finished yet; however, the applicant must clearly prove that all prerequisite courses will be successfully completed prior to the start of the clinical program year for which he/she is applying.  To be eligible to attend the UPMC Chautauqua program, (1) a student must continue to be enrolled in his/her university, (2) the university must record the clinical experience credits on the student’s university transcript, and (3) the student must graduate from the university with a Bachelor of Science (or Advanced Certificate) upon successfully completing the medical laboratory program year.

Upon successful completion of the UPMC Chautauqua Medical Laboratory Science Program, students are eligible to apply and sit for a national certification examination (e.g. ASCP Board of Certification, Related Links).

Our mission at UPMC Chautauqua Medical Laboratory Science Program is to provide a challenging program for assisting students in acquiring the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes, and values to gain the level of excellence required for the profession of Medical Laboratory Science.

Program Structure

The program is divided into two major divisions, "Rotation I: Didactic" and "Rotation II: Clinical".

ROTATION I: DIDACTIC (August - January)
Rotation I: Didactic consists of the formal lecture series with corresponding student laboratory activities in all the major laboratory disciplines, Clinical Chemistry, Urinalysis, Immunochemistry, Hematology/Coagulation, Blood Bank, and Microbiology. A brief orientation period is incorporated into this first phase of the program in order to aid the student in the transition from the academic classroom to the new professional medical environment. Phlebotomy is also included in this rotation.

A typical day consists of two lecture presentations in the morning with a mid-morning break in between.  A discussion period or audiovisual presentation may also be scheduled.  The afternoon is spent in the supervised student laboratory performing laboratory assays related to the morning lecture content.  Student competency is evaluated on both academic and practical performance.  During this rotation, students will experience approximately 300 hours of clinical laboratory experience in a controlled, supervised Student Laboratory.

The rotation II phase emphasizes the practical application of the theory and practice learned in Rotation I and serves as a bridge between the student's role as trainee and that of a professional Medical Laboratory Scientist.

Students are assigned four, five-week rotation periods in each of the major clinical departments: Clinical Chemistry/Immunochemistry, Hematology/Coagulation/Urinalysis, Blood Bank/Phlebotomy, and Microbiology.  Students are evaluated on their practical performance and cumulative knowledge during this time.  Under direct supervision of the bench instructors (managers, technologists and technicians), students perform and report actual patient test results, further developing and demonstrating the techniques and skills necessary to function in the capacity of a professional, independent, entry-level, Medical Laboratory Scientist.

During this rotation, students complete a self-study laboratory research project, such as a validation, parallel, or a quality assurance/improvement study. All research projects are utilized by the laboratory for advancement of its purpose. The research project culminates in the completion of a written research article and oral presentation of the research poster. Students also participate in specialty rotations and lectures to gain knowledge into the other key aspects of the laboratory including laboratory management, pathology, quality assurance, point-of-care, LIS, infection control and more.

Students will experience over 720 hours of clinical laboratory experience during this rotation.