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For several years, students from the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science have had the opportunity to work part-time in McLendon Clinical Laboratories, the in-house laboratories for the UNC Medical Center and UNC Health Care. Students are able to begin work at McLendon Laboratories following their first year of instruction; most continue to work part-time until graduation.

CLS 2020 students
Clinical laboratory science class of 2020 students Claire Long, Lexie Edwards, Miranda Holt, Srijana Bhattarai Chhetri, Elisabeth Lowe, Sasha Hesselgesser, Ellie Gillon, and Ferriel Siapno.

Student employees have the opportunity to experience the work environment of the core, microbiology, and transfusion medicine departments of a clinical laboratory housed in an academic hospital setting. Students have limitations on the types of tasks that they can perform since there are strict requirements for minimal education, training, and certification of those performing clinical testing on patient samples. However, they are able to see and to experience work in different areas of the lab and gain a better understanding of patient care before they graduate. Following graduation, students are eligible to sit for a national certification exam offered through the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification. They are then qualified to work in most clinical laboratories across the country.

Lexie Edwards, who will graduate in 2020, said working in transfusion medicine at UNC Hospitals has proven to be both challenging and rewarding. She handles tasks such as massive transfusion protocol, modifying blood units, and scanning in specimens.

“I feel like I was well prepared for the job, thanks instruction in our clinical laboratory science transfusion medicine course and lab,” Edwards said. “All of the staff have been very helpful and kind as they’ve taught me the procedures of the lab. I’m excited to learn more and to continue making a difference in patients’ lives.”

The Division of Clinical Laboratory Science is housed in the Department of Allied Health Sciences.