SVSU Honors Medical Laboratory Science Students at White Coat Ceremony

Saginaw Valley State University recognized graduating students from the Medical Laboratory Science program during a white coat ceremony Friday, June 10 at SVSU’s Gilbertson Hall.

The students pledged to serve others by reciting a patient care oath and accepting the white coat as a symbol of their professional status. It’s a familiar rite of passage to many in the healthcare field.

“This ceremony presents students with a lapel pin and lab coat to honor their dedication and perseverance through this intense program and to signify the completion of their internship and graduation. Students are then eligible to take the exam for the National Certification Board to Become Certified Medical Laboratory Scientists,” said Margot Alvey, SVSU Assistant Professor of Medical Laboratory Science.

The following local medical laboratory science students were recognized at the ceremony:


  • Madelyn Graves, Gladwin
  • Marie Johnson, Midland

Students will officially graduate at the end of the summer semester in August. Alvey said they will fill a shortage that the medical laboratory field is currently experiencing, as medical laboratories, like other critical health care departments, are at critically low staffing levels both locally and overseas. nationwide due to higher than normal retirement rates, which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Currently, local hospitals aredesperatefor us to send students to them in hopes that they will stay as employees,” Alvey said. “We actually have a lot more places available to send students than we have. This is unheard of in the history of the program. Vacancies are expected to continue to increase, up to 13%, over the next five years, according to a recent survey by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

SVSU graduates are highly valued; clinical coordinators at affiliated hospitals frequently comment on the preparation of SVSU students.

“Our curriculum is comprehensive and rigorous,” said Alvey, “as it should be, in order to produce quality, competent medical laboratory scientists who have the integrity, dedication, compassion, technical skills and critical thinking skills needed to provide quality patient outcomes.

“All of the students who complete the medical laboratory science program have demonstrated all of these characteristics and more and they have done so during a pandemic. They grew stronger and persevered; most already have job openings and all will be a great asset to the medical labs they choose to work in. I couldn’t be more proud of their perseverance and dedication.

Upon successful completion of their professional courses, students are placed at an affiliated clinical site – usually a local hospital – for a 22-week clinical field work experience, rotating between departments including chemistry, hematology, coagulation, urinalysis, blood stroke and transfusion medicine. , microbiology, serology, immunology and pre-analytical within the clinical laboratory.

“Most people, even healthcare workers, are unaware of the educational or technical training required to help us diagnose blood cancers, sepsis, sexually transmitted infections, neonatal jaundice and more,” Alvey said. “In reality, becoming a medical laboratory scientist requires a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science or a related field, passing a national certification exam, and a six-month internship.”

The white coat ceremony was started in 1993 at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons by Arnold P. Gold, MD, who was a professor and pediatric neurologist. Dr. Gold, a strong advocate of humanistic health care, believed that the oath taken by new doctors at the end of medical school came too late. Through the non-profit organization he and his wife, Dr. Sandra Gold, started, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation has expanded the White Coat Ceremony around the world.

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