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Functional Expectations for the Medical Laboratory Science Program

Functional expectations for the Medical Laboratory Science Program represent non-academic demands of the program. These are described as the physical, mental and behavioral standards that the MLS student must possess to successfully participate in and complete the clinical training “year.” Inability to function in these essential areas at an entry level capacity, with or without reasonable accommodations may compromise successful completion of the program. The need for reasonable accommodations will be discussed after acceptance into the program.

The functional expectations (also known as “essential functions”) for students in the program include:

  • Ability to use senses of smell, vision and touch to observe demonstrations and perform exercises in which biological fluids and products are being analyzed for biochemical, hematological, immunological, microbiological and histochemical components. Visual acuity to be able to identify microscopic structures, cells, organisms and color recognition. The student must be able to characterize color, odor, clarity and viscosity of biological fluids, reagents or chemical reaction products. The student must be able to read and comprehend numbers, text and graphs displayed in print and on video monitors.
  • Fine motor skills and manual dexterity to perform all tasks within the scope of practice for the practitioner in the workplace, including the ability to obtain and manipulate specimens, reagents, instruments and analytical equipment according to established guidelines with speed, accuracy, precision and in a manner that does not endanger students, coworkers and patients. The student must be able to collect blood specimens, manipulate instruments that require eye-hand coordination and perform manual laboratory procedures. The student must be able to move freely and safely in the laboratory and patient areas. The student must be able to operate computers.
  • Effective and efficient oral and written communication in English, allowing the student to convey and/or explain results with all members of the health care team within and outside the laboratory. The ability to read and comprehend written material is essential to correctly and independently perform laboratory test procedures. The student must be able to instruct patients, clients and other health care workers clearly.
  • Ability to comprehend, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, integrate and apply information. The student should be able to use sufficient judgment to recognize and correct performance and solve problems, such as unexpected observations or outcomes of laboratory test procedures.
  • Interactive skills to maintain cooperative and productive working relationships with patients and other health care personnel.
  • Emotional stability to exercise appropriate judgment in responding to emergency situations that may present in the health care environment. The student must be able to exercise sound judgment, complete responsibilities promptly, work in a changing and stressful environment, display flexibility and function independently in the face of uncertainties that might arise. The student should be able to manage time and prioritize activities to complete tasks within reasonable time frames. The student must recognize potentially hazardous materials and situations and proceed safely to minimize risk of injury to patients, staff and self. Student must be able to work with all types of biological specimens.
  • Professional demeanor and behavior. The student must behave in an ethical manner when dealing with peers, faculty, staff, patients and other health care team members. The student must be honest and compassionate, admit to mistakes, ask questions when uncertain and both give and take constructive feedback.
  • Ability to meet academic expectations of the program. The student must take written, oral and computer examinations, complete assignments, prepare and deliver presentations, use computer software and systems and perform required laboratory activities to generate accurate results. The student must be able to obtain knowledge from lectures, laboratory activities, clinical assignments and independent study. The student must be able to work independently, in small groups and as members of a team.
  • Ability with or without reasonable accommodation to safely perform all core tasks required of a medical laboratory scientist.