Mercy Medical Laboratory Science Program helps area workers gain experience

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JOPLIN, Mo. — While tests for some medical conditions can be done in your own home, most require much more expertise.

If someone wants to get practical experience in how to run and interpret more complex tests, they don’t have to go to Kansas City, St. Louis, or other big cities.

They work in the part of hospitals that most don’t ever see, you probably don’t give much thought to the people who determine if someone has covid or a host of other ailments.

But like all other health related occupations, you have to go somewhere to learn how.

Shanin Stokes, a Joplin area native, is glad she didn’t have to go far to get it.

Shanin Stokes, Medical Tech Student, said, “I help in our micro lab doing set ups, I do some of the Covid testing or the swabbing here.”

Stokes is one of several students in the the Mercy Hospital Joplin, Medical Laboratory Science Program.

It’s produced many of the lab professionals that work in most area hospitals since the 1950’s.

Toby Gaines went through the same program and now he teaches those skills to the next generation.

Toby Gaines, Mercy Medical Technologist, said, “It prepares them for, you know, employment pretty much day 1, they should walk out of our facility and if they went to work the next day with just minor training in a new facility to be able to do the work we prepare our students very well.”

“Well there are a couple different kind of ways you can go about this program, you can get a Bachelor’s, which is what I did, I got my Bachelor’s in Microbiology first and then came here to do a clinical rotation, the year, but you can also do a program and this can be included in you Bachelor’s as one year,” said Stokes

Over the last three years, 94% of graduates from the program have found employment in the field or have gone on to pursue graduate work.

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