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Blood SamplesImagine you are a Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) in a large teaching hospital. After running a routine specimen for a 38 year-old female who was admitted for abdominal pain and weakness, you obtain these lab results:

BUN: 18 (7-20 mg/dl)

Na: 140 (135-145 mmol/L)

K: 1.9 (3.5-5.1 mmol/L)

Cl: 128 (98-107 mmol/L)

CO2: 15 (21-21 mg/dL)

Glucose: 99 (70-99 mg/dL)

Creatinine: 0.78 (0.50-1.30 mg/dL)

Ca: 9.0 (8.5-10.1 mg/dL)

Anion Gap: 2.0 (7-16 mmol/L)

As an MLS, you are alarmed by the three abnormal and critical values that delta from previous results and need to decide what the next step is. Do you release the results as is? Do you ask the provider what they think about the results? Do you ask the nurse for a redraw?

Now before you decide too quickly, let’s take a second look at the values and what they mean in relation to each other. The potassium may catch your eye, telling you that something isn’t right. The fact that it is very low in conjunction with the chloride and carbon dioxide makes you highly suspect a spurious value. Because of your clinical laboratory education, you remember that if drawn improperly, normal saline (containing sodium and chloride) would cause the chloride to increase, potassium to decrease, thus causing a decrease in the anion gap. The CO2 would also be falsely decreased with IV saline. Because of your clinical laboratory training, you know that the IV contaminated specimen compromises the care of the patient, causing anything from unnecessary or delayed treatment and costs to severe harm and fatality. In order to help clinicians and protect patients, you as the laboratorian will decide to cancel the specimen and request a redraw, after communicating with the appropriate clinical staff.

While this is only one example, there are many pre-analytical variables that affect laboratory results. Spurious values can be caused by mislabeled specimens, infusions, blood transfusions, wrong tube pour-over, incorrect order of draw, among other technical errors. Although there are delta checks put into place, the laboratorian’s clinical judgment and knowledge is crucial to be able to differentiate an actual valid result from a spurious one. It is up to the clinical laboratorian to not only identify these situations, but also investigate to determine the cause and communicate with clinical staff as appropriate, making this role vital to patient safety and care. Medical laboratory professionals are essential members of the healthcare team.

Submitted by Jelinda Easo '19

The Medical Laboratory Science Program at Stevenson University has some amazing alumni!  2017 graduate Cody Maddox was hired before graduation in the Point of Care Department at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.  Sinai has a Superstar program that rewards employees who demonstrate superior customer service that is recognized by patients and co-workers. Cody quickly rose to "superstar" fame in June, earning the praise of his colleagues and management.  Some statements that earned him this recognition are:  "Cody has an upbeat and professional demeanor that inspires those around him to match that level of behavior.  He has a good sense of humor that allows him to handle stressful situations in a positive manner and comes to work engaged in every aspect of his job.  He is an excellent role model to all staff in the form of accountability and service excellence."  Way to go Cody!  Your Stevenson University family is very proud of you!

Want to learn more about this amazing, versatile and engaging profession?  Visit us at http://www.stevenson.edu/academics/undergraduate-programs/medical-laboratory-science/

Medical Laboratory Science is a little known profession, but one of tremendous importance to everyone's health and well being.  Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) underscored the importance of laboratory diagnostics, publishing a Model List of Essential In Vitro Diagnostics (EDL).  This list consists of 58 laboratory tests considered essential for the diagnosis, treatment and health maintenance of just about everyone.  The WHO publication stresses the importance of these essential laboratory tests, especially in under-served populations.  With a small amount of blood or body fluid, medical laboratory professionals can provide a wealth of information vital to the health and well being of the patient. 

The link between early detection and prevention of disease and quality of life cannot be overstated.  Medical laboratory professionals are needed now more than ever.  There has been, and continues to be, a critical shortage of these professionals.  Demand is high, salaries are rising and job opportunities are varied, fascinating and cutting edge.  We are the "little known profession"- but doctors and other health practitioners simply cannot do their jobs without us and the health of the world's population depends on us.  Think about that.  Are you looking for a career in healthcare?  Are you a critical thinker who likes to solve problems?  Do you enjoy science?  Think about becoming a medical laboratory professional.  You can get there with a degree from Stevenson University.      

Medical Laboratory Science Sophomores Bailey Martini and Jamie Murphy presented posters on a genetic disease or the use of genetics in technology at Johns Hopkins. The presenters were judged by graduate students and post doctoral fellows who felt our students were poised, confident and knowledgeable about the topics they researched. This event was organized by the Office of Career Development at Johns Hopkins. Stevenson University is a partner in the collaborative teaching fellowship between Hopkins and other Maryland universities. Bailey’s poster was scored the highest by the graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from Hopkins and the University of Maryland who reviewed the posters.  Congratulations Bailey and Jamie!

Genetic markers and genetic therapies are often used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Medical Laboratory Professionals are at the forefront of using this technology to provide doctors with the answers they need to make the best treatment choices for their patients. Want to learn more about becoming a Medical Laboratory Professional? Click here to learn about how you can become an integral part of the medical team with an exciting and rewarding career in Medical Laboratory Science. Our program boasts a 100% employment rate and a 100% Board of Certification pass rate. Demand is great and salaries are RISING. Check us out!

Congratulations to Medical Laboratory Science senior, Caitlin Pizarro!  Caitlin has earned numerous scholarships and grants, the latest of which are the Regina Welch Scholarship and the Bill Sweger Memorial Grant from the Keystone Point of Care Coordinators (KEYPOCC).  

Caitlin, the inaugural recipient of the Regina Welch Scholarship, applied through Stevenson University's Office of Financial Aid.  Both the KEYPOCC and the Welch Scholarships have requirements specifying that the recipient be a Medical Laboratory Science major, be enrolled full-time and meet specific GPA requirements.  Caitlin is pictured above (right) with Jeanne Mumford, President of the Keystone Point of Care Coordinators when she was awarded her grant. 

Medical Laboratory Professionals are in high demand due to a severe shortage of practitioners.  This means higher salaries and many job opportunities.  Click here to learn more about the profession and the Medical Laboratory Science Program at Stevenson University.  Click here to view A Life Saved.   This poignant and moving story helps to demonstrate the active, vital role that laboratorians play every day in every lab in the country. It is our hope that the video inspires you to consider the important contributions you could make to your community and to healthcare by becoming a Medical Laboratory Scientist.  

 
 
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