MLS Clinical Rotations Spotlight: Hematology

As the Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) class has spent the past 10 weeks rotating through the laboratories, we have had a great opportunity to apply all of our knowledge in the clinical setting. The opportunity to finally get a look into the careers we are striving for has been a great experience. I had the opportunity to rotate through hematology to begin our rotations with three other classmates and appreciated just how much I got to observe.

The Hematology Laboratory had a very broad spectrum of testing done. The majority of testing in this lab is looking at blood smears. While this is where we spent the most time, there is much more to this lab. There was time spent in the metabolic portion of the lab doing a plethora of testing to identify defects in hemoglobin and other key enzymes found in red blood cells. We also spent some time in cell kinetics and utilized flow cytometry to assist in the identification and classification of different leukemias. Additionally, there were two days spent in hemostasis, utilizing that area's technology to identify abnormalities in patients' coagulation systems.

One very unique opportunity that I appreciated was being able to spend a day observing bone marrow extractions.

While we had discussed the process in the classroom portion, the opportunity to actually observe the procedure was something that I very much enjoyed.

Also, the opportunity to have some patient interaction was a pleasant experience. There were many other mini-rotations we did within Hematology, and all of them combined really helped to reinforce the things we had covered in the classroom.

Overall, the Hematology Laboratory was a great way to kick off the rotation portion of the MLS program. We had discussed a lot in nine weeks of hematology during the didactic portion, and it was great to put that wealth of knowledge into practice.

I also felt that being in the lab made me appreciate hematology much more. To see just how much this lab does and how it can help piece together a clinical picture for the patient is something that was very eye-opening.

I am excited to continue experiencing different labs through my rotations and further prepare myself for a career in medical lab science.

Alex Harker

Alex Harker is a student in Mayo Clinic’s medical laboratory science (MLS) program. He was born in southern Wisconsin and is completing his clinical laboratory science degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Alex enjoys watching football and basketball, drinking coffee, and hiking.