New Medical Lab Science Program Begins At Mercy Hospital - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

New Medical Lab Science Program Begins At Mercy Hospital

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ARDMORE, OK -- Mercy Hospital in Ardmore recently began a new program to help educate the next generation of medical lab specialists.

Although a patient may never see them at their bedside, lab technicians help hundreds of patients every day.

Chances are if you've ever been a patient, you've probably benefited from the field of laboratory science.

"Literature will say that 70 to 80 percent of diagnoses are based or come from laboratory science," said the program's director Karen Ford.

A new program that started three weeks ago at Mercy Hospital in Ardmore is helping teach the next generation of lab technicians.

The program coordinators at Mercy say the students are learning an integral part of patient care. Although they don't physically interact with patients, the medical lab scientists help treat and diagnose hundreds of patients every day.

The 49-week program has students working alongside laboratory scientists inside a fully operational lab.

"They're going to learn how to take those specimens and turn them into results that the doctors can use to actually diagnose, treat, and take care of our patients," said laboratory educator Kari Butler.

Truc Pham and Merissa Goodman were chosen for the program this year and both say the practical experience is a better way to learn.

"It's easier for me to learn something that way than just sitting in class and listening," said Pham.

Along with the practical, hands-on experience comes a dose of what real hospital life is like.

"There's always stuff coming and going, moving to different machines," said Goodman. "You're just constantly going."

Larry Lovelace has been a lab scientist for more than 40 years and says the benefits of a program like this one are invaluable.

"It's fun to see them grow and share your knowledge that you have with them," said Lovelace. "It means a whole lot more to see what they're doing and why they're doing it and how they're helping the doctors, and the patients, and the nurses."

Mercy's medical lab science program is only the fourth of its kind in the state of Oklahoma.

Program director Karen Ford says many have been shut down due to cutbacks.

The students will complete the program in May of next year.