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VA St Louis Health Care System School of Medical Laboratory Science

The VA St Louis Health Care System School of Medical Laboratory Science is designed to equip Medical Laboratory Scientists with the knowledge and critical thinking skills to perform diagnostic laboratory testing critical for supporting the whole health of those who have borne the battle, our community and our nation. In this program, students obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for entry level Medical Laboratory Scientists performing a wide array of medical laboratory tests that assist healthcare providers in the diagnosis and treatment of illness.

Program Overview

The VA St Louis Health Care System School of Medical Laboratory Science is designed to help prepare students for Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) certification upon completion of the program.

The VASTLHCS Medical Laboratory Science Program, consists of 11 months of clinical education beginning the second week of July.  All science courses at VASTLHCS have a didactic and a practical component enabling students to enhance clinical understanding and critical thinking skills through practical application.  The main campus is located at John Cochran VA Medical Center with some clinical rotations available at Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center.

The Program is seeking accreditation by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018, .

All Program policies and procedures, including those related to progression through the program, disciplinary action, conduct, contingency plans, non-discrimination practices, record retention, etc. are available from the Program Director upon request.

VA educational programs admit students in accordance with national non-discrimination policies.

 

Program Outcomes

  • Program outcomes data to be published when available.

 

Mission and Goals

Program Mission

To equip Medical Laboratory Scientists with the knowledge and critical thinking skills to perform diagnostic laboratory testing critical for supporting the whole health of those who have borne the battle, our community, and our nation. 

Program Goals

In this program, students obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for entry level Medical Laboratory Scientists performing a wide array of medical laboratory tests that assist healthcare providers in the diagnosis and treatment of illness.  

  • Educate Medical Laboratory Science students in the art and science of clinical laboratory medicine, thus preparing them to perform, develop, evaluate, correlate and assure accuracy and validity of laboratory information; direct and supervise clinical laboratory resources and operations; and collaborate in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
  • The VASTLHCS Medical Laboratory Science program is committed to student success.  Students have access to six board certified pathologists for guidance and instruction as well as many experienced Medical Laboratory Scientists for application of clinical laboratory principles and critical thinking skills.
  • Promote the highest ideal of the medical profession by instilling and modeling the VA core values of ICARE: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.
  • Provide quality, trained and dedicated Medical Laboratory Scientists in the profession positively facilitating the institutional ability to recruit and retain quality laboratory staff essential for the mission of caring for our veterans.

Curriculum

Prerequisites

A student must have a Baccalaureate degree and thus be eligible for application.  Admission is competitive, with a limited number of student positions available annually.  Attendance at an affiliated college or university or completion of prerequisite coursework does not guarantee a position.

Chemistry 

Sixteen (16) hours in Chemistry, including General Chemistry. 

Specifications 

  1. Three (3) courses must include lab experience. 
  2. One (1) course must be Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry. 

Biology 

Sixteen (16) hours in Biological Science, including General Biology or Zoology 

Specifications 

  1. Microbiology with laboratory component.      
  2. Immunology course. 
  3. Two (2) courses must include lab experience (includes Microbiology lab).

Mathematics 

  1. One college level course. Statistics is strongly encouraged. 

 

The content of the Chemistry, Biology and Math courses acceptable towards meeting these requirements would be those applicable towards a major in those fields or in medical technology.  Survey or remedial courses do not fulfill these prerequisites. 

Any applicant who has attended an educational institution outside of the U.S.  

is required to submit a transcript evaluation verifying U.S. equivalency. Contact the ASCP Board of Certification (www.ascp.org) For information. 

Files on all prospective applicants must be complete by January 31.  

Coursework

All science courses at VASTLHCS have a didactic and a practical component enabling the students to enhance their didactic learning through clinical correlation. The student will learn a wide variety of procedures and will be expected to become proficient in the performance and understanding of all commonly performed laboratory procedures.

Introduction to Clinical Laboratory Science (2 cr.) 

An introduction to clinical laboratory science, including the role of clinical laboratory in patient care, overview of clinical laboratory operations and management, workplace hazards and safety, accreditation and regulation of clinical labs, laboratory information (computer) systems. Theory and practice of the art of phlebotomy. Elucidate basic anatomy and physiology of the blood draw, proper procedure for various collections, legal and ethical issues, importance of confidentiality, pre-analytical factors, safety in handling biological specimens, customer service and patient interactions.    

Clinical Hematology & Hemostasis (3 cr.) 

Clinical Hematology is a study of the origin, development, morphology, physiology, & pathophysiology of the formed elements of the blood and bone marrow. Manual & automated methods of cell counting, differentiation & other special hematological procedures on blood & body fluids used in disease diagnosis. Coagulation (Clinical Hemostasis) is a study of the platelet, vascular, coagulation, & fibrinolytic systems. Testing procedures & the application of the principles of hemostasis as related to disease states & therapeutic monitoring are also included. 

Immunology and Serology (3 cr.) 

Theory and practice of basic immunology with emphasis on immune responses (antigen-antibody reactions), immunodeficiency disorders, autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivity, and tumor and transplant immunology. Also discusses the serologic principles and diagnosis of infectious diseases.  

Concepts of Quality Management in Clinical Laboratory (3 cr.) 

An overview of medical ethics, laboratory safety, quality management systems, and quality control.  Theory and practice of quality control, quality assurance, quality improvement. Basic statistics, process improvement and the regulatory requirements in clinical laboratories are also included. 

Clinical Urinalysis and Body Fluids (3 cr.) 

Theory of body fluid metabolism and practice of biochemical analyses and microscopic examination of urine and other body fluids with corresponding clinical correlations and clinical significance of laboratory test results 

Clinical Microbiology (3 cr.) 

Consists of clinical bacteriology, mycology ang virology. The bacteriology component consist of the theory and practice of the isolation and identification of pathogenic bacteria and mycobacteria clinical specimens through cultures, morphology, biochemical and/or serological reactions and their drug susceptibility.  

Clinical Chemistry (3 cr.) 

Theory and practice of analytical biochemistry as applied to physiologic and pathologic states of various organ systems.  Emphasizes study of test methodologies and instrumentation for routine and specialized Clinical Chemistry. Statistics are applied to reagent preparation, result determination and quality control. Clinical significance and clinical correlations of test and test results are incorporated. The student applies this theory at the clinical laboratory bench rotations using current diagnostic techniques and instrumentation to correlate laboratory test results to disease processes. 

Clinical Immunohematology (Blood Bank) (3 cr.) 

Study of red cell antigen-antibody systems, antibody screening & identification, compatibility testing & immunopathologic conditions. Also included are donor requirements & blood component preparation & hemotherapy. The clinical immunology component is a study of the principles of the protective & adversive aspects of the cellular & humoral immune responses. Theory & performance of test procedures based on antigen-antibody reactions & clinical significance of test results is included. 

Mycology & Parasitology pathology (3 cr.) 

Mycology and virology deal with the theory and practice of the isolation and identification of fungi, parasites and viruses utilizing morphological, cultural, biochemical and serological methods. With each component, the relation of clinical testing to disease states and epidemiology as it applies to clinical microbiology is also included. 

 Molecular pathology (3 cr.) 

Theory & practice of fundamental principles of molecular biochemistry, medical genetics, molecular pathology, performance, evaluation and interpretation of molecular tests.  Includes applications and analysis, and the development of competencies in nucleic acid isolation, analysis of nucleic acids and protein, PCR and others molecular biology techniques.  

MLS Content Review (1cr.) 

This course revisits and reinforces the fundamental principles and practices originally covered in the Medical Laboratory Technologist program. Our primary focus is on helping you achieve success in the certification examination for medical laboratory science. Through a thorough review we will dive deep into the core concepts and techniques learned during the program. We’ll provide a comprehensive overview, ensuring you have a strong foundation. This course is designed to align with the objectives of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) certification examination for medical laboratory technologists. You’ll receive targeted preparation to enhance your chances of passing this critical exam. 

Clinical Practical I & II (18 cr.) 

Under the guidance and supervision of a certified medical laboratory technologist, student will gain hands-on experience in performing a wide range of clinical laboratory procedures. This comprehensive training includes proficiency in blood bank procedures, as well as the execution of high- complexity laboratory tests. Throughout the course, students will develop a deep understanding of various disease processes, enhancing their diagnostic abilities. Additionally, the student will become proficient in operating and maintaining essential medical equipment, ensuring accurate and reliable results. Students will also learn to evaluate and implement quality control measures. 

This program will equip students with the skills needed to collect and analyze patient specimen samples. By the end of the course, students will be well prepared to contribute effectively to the field of medical laboratory science. 

How to Apply

General Policy

The VA St Louis Health Care System School of Medical Laboratory Science reserves the right to change conditions, provisions & requirements upon reasonable notice as may be necessary to maintain proper standards and objectives of the Program. Each student must exhibit professional conduct, satisfactory progress in academic standing and practical achievement. The Program reserves the right to require, at any time, the removal of any student whose attitude, conduct, health, scholastic records or practical experience is not in harmony with the policies of the hospital or its best interests.

All completed application documents must be received by January 31 for admission consideration into the 11-month program which commences the following July.  Materials received after January 31st will not be accepted.

Any applicant who has attended an educational institution outside of the U.S. is required to submit a transcript evaluation verifying U.S. equivalency. Contact the ASCP Board of Certification (www.ascp.org) for information.

Our evaluation and ranking of prospective students will be made by the Admissions Committee, comprised of Program officials and faculty, based on a personal interview (required), academic standing, academic background (considering coursework taken, withdrawals and repeats), previous experience, letters of reference and personal narrative. Minimum GPA requirement is 2.75 on a 4.0 scale overall and in the sciences. Students will be notified of acceptance status in February. 

Preference points will be given to veterans and to those students from affiliated colleges or universities. Non-citizens will be considered for enrollment only in the absence of qualified American citizens. VA educational programs admit students in accordance with national non-discrimination policies. (USAJOBS Help Center | Equal employment opportunity policy

 

General Application Procedure Checklist

  • Print out and complete the Application Form. Please attach a list and brief description of any courses you plan to take prior to admittance which do not appear on your official transcript. 
  • Official transcripts from EACH of the colleges or universities you’ve attended, including junior or community colleges, must be emailed or sent directly to the Program at the address listed below. NOTE: Applicants who have attended an academic institution outside of the United States must have their foreign transcript evaluated by an outside evaluating agency. Contact the ASCP Board of Certification for a list of acceptable evaluation agencies. 
  • Print out the recommendation form that is included as the last page of the application. Make copies and distribute them to your references. Completed recommendations must be sent directly to the Program by your references or may be enclosed with your application IF they are in signed and sealed envelopes. 
  • Return completed forms, including transcripts, to: 

Tara Lambert, MHS MLS, QLS (ASCP)CM, MLS Program Director  

VASTLHCS Medical Laboratory Science Program  

915 N Grand Blvd, Pathology & Lab Medicine Service (113-JC)   

St Louis, MO 63106  

(Fax )  

Email – tara.lambert@va.gov

 

*Those students who have completed their application by the closing date of January 31 and who meet our stated minimal acceptance criteria will be contacted by the Program Director to schedule a mandatory personal interview.  Interviews are generally conducted during late January and early February. 

*Those students who are accepted into the Program must present evidence of good health by obtaining a physical examination prior to the start of classes. Any medical findings that contraindicate admission to the Program may result in withdrawal of the appointment. 

*Those students who are accepted into the Program agree to submit to a federal employee criminal background check and fingerprinting as administered through the Hospital Human Resource Management Service. Any findings that contraindicate admission may result in withdrawal of the appointment to the Program. 

Application Deadline is January 31st, all items complete 

 

Contact Us

For questions, contact:

Tara Lambert, MHS MLS, QLS (ASCP)CM, MLS Program Director

tara.lambert@va.gov

 Lesley McCollough, MHA/Ed, MLS (ASCP)cm, Laboratory Manager

lesley.mccollough@va.gov

ext. 54729

Application Packets:

Tara Lambert, MHS MLS, QLS (ASCP)CM, MLS Program Director  

VASTLHCS Medical Laboratory Science Program  

915 N Grand Blvd, Pathology & Lab Medicine Service (113-JC)   

St Louis, MO 63106  

(Fax )  

Email – vhastlplabmls@va.gov