Owensboro Health Recognizes 39th Medical Laboratory Scientist Class
Owensboro Health has graduated its 39th medical laboratory scientist class, with five of the six grads joining the health system upon completion of the program.
The medical laboratory scientist program helps students complete their degree while getting real-world experience. Since the program’s inception, 209 students have completed the course. The program’s location is also a rarity said Owensboro Health Laboratory Director Bob MacLafferty.
"This is one of only four medical laboratory scientist programs in Kentucky, and one of only two that are hospital-based, which we think are much more powerful,” MacLafferty said.
MacLafferty said that educating and training students is a superior way to recruit laboratory scientists.
“We get all year to evaluate them, not only as students but also as employees. By the time we get later into the year, we have as strong an idea as we could possibly have as to whether they're going to be a good fit,” MacLafferty said. “This is our primary strategy for creating new medical laboratory scientists. We think creating them is a better staffing route than finding them.”
MacLafferty said this year’s class is truly exceptional.
“They have great work ethic. Their attitude, their teamwork, are above average. They're a very smart group. We've got higher scoring in their finals than we've ever seen in the program,” MacLafferty said.
Pathologist Dr. Brian Ward, who teaches in the medical laboratory scientist program, said having reliable, skilled medical laboratory scientist in the lab is a necessity.
“The data they provide on a daily basis is critical to patient care. There's no room for error, misinterpretation or coming to work with your mind disengaged,” Dr. Ward said. “The number of medical laboratory scientist programs in the United States is in decline and medical laboratory scientists are a hard commodity to come by.”
MacLafferty added that the program heavily relies on Lisa Cecil, the program director. Cecil is a Master’s level educator and this year’s class is the 25th she has trained.
“Her legacy is the fact that many of her students continue to work at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital or at other area hospitals. She is the driving force behind the longstanding success of this program, MacLafferty said. “The passion she has for the success of her students is never more evident than it is right now as she anxiously awaits the national board exam test scores of her fresh graduates.”
MacLafferty said he’s very pleased that almost all of this year’s grads will stay at Owensboro Health.
“We are blessed to be keeping five out of six of them as employees,” MacLafferty said. “That's an unprecedented number to be keeping, and we're very happy with that. We are thankful that they have chosen Owensboro Health and we expect them to be a critical part of carrying out our mission for years to come.”