Med Tech 3
Janet Rosin, Affinity Lab Education Coordinator for the School of Medical Technology at St. Elizabeth Hospital, talks with several of the medical technology interns from UW Oshkosh. Photo by Shawn McAfee/UW Oshkosh Learning Technologies.
Learning the Sciences
At UW Oshkosh, students spend three years learning basic sciences. Along with general courses, they hammer through 35 credits of biology and microbiology while earning a minor in chemistry before they enter the real-life application phase of the program.
Thimmig says the program is quite challenging. “I have to study every night,” she says. “My free time is nothing but studying.”
|Michelle Cheslock, an intern at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton, Wis., studies a blood sample. Photo by Shawn McAfee/UW Oshkosh Learning Technologies.
Listen to Michelle's audio-only podcasted interview with COLS Special Reports producer Grace Lim about how pop culture has affected the field of medical technology.
Med tech students spend their final year in a 9-month internship in either Mercy Hospital in Oshkosh or St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. At the hospitals, the students work full time under the supervision of professional medical technologists. They work with patients, they run tests. One day a week, they take classes from instructors who are also medical technologists.
“We do really well at teaching basic sciences; the hospitals do really well at teaching cutting-edge technology,” Strous says. “The students get in and get their hands on experience, they work with real specimens. It’s like when you work on research with faculty, but it’s in a different environment.”
Janet Rosin, Affinity Lab Education Coordinator for the School of Medical Technology at St. Elizabeth Hospital, says the hands-on experience is invaluable to the students.
On the Job Training
“The nine-month internship that the students do to get the bachelors degree in medical technology is a requirement to get their degree, but it is also a very necessary part to get that hands-on experience,” Rosin says. “When they graduate, they are able to correlate the lab results with a diagnosis.”
Affinity Health Systems, which includes St. Elizabeth and Mercy, has five to six interns from UW Oshkosh each year. Upon graduating, the interns are regularly hired by the host hospitals.
“Our students are readily made available and usually hired on the spot knowing that they have the good background that they get from our program here,” Rosin said. “Employers know of our good program here because of our reputation statewide and throughout the Midwest and through references.”
Student Miranda LaPointe, who is interning at St. Elizabeth, says the internship has allowed her to take class learning and apply it in a real lab environment.
“It’s really exciting when you’re in the lab processing a specimen and getting the results the next day,” she says. “You can correlate the purpose of what you’re doing when you’re in the internship, and that makes a big difference in enhancing the learning experience.”
Student intern Erica Luedeke says being a part of the whole diagnosis process is an unique experience.
“You interact with the patient, you get their blood, bring it to the lab, and you’re the one that runs it through the analyzers,” she says, adding while student interns are not allowed to write up the official report, they do get to see the patient’s medical background and diagnosis. “It’s really cool to see everything you’ve learned kind of line up. It’s really cool that you get to play such a big part in their diagnosis.”
|Erica Luedeke, a student intern at Mercy Medical Center, landed a job with the hospital after graduation. Listen to her audio-only interview with COLS Special Reports Producer Grace Lim.
Rosin says those outside the medical profession often don’t realize how big a role medical technologists play in health care.
“Often times the general public forgets about just how the physician makes a diagnosis,” she says. “Actually, 80 to 90 percent of the physician’s diagnosis is directly related to the lab results we give them.
“People and patients always know they have these results that the doctor gets and makes their plan of attack from,” Rosin says, “but they forget where that actually come from because we aren’t really seen a lot like the nurses and doctors and other areas of the health field.”
Michelle Cheslock, a student intern at Mercy, says when people ask her what exactly she does as a medical technologist she explains using pop-culture references.
“You know in (the television show) ‘CSI,’ the forensics science stuff? It’s like that only with live people," Cheslock says.