SVSU Honors Medical Laboratory Science Students in White Coat Ceremony

Saginaw Valley State University recognized graduating students from its medical laboratory science program at a White Coat Ceremony held at SVSU’s Gilbertson Hall on Friday, June 10.

The students pledged to serve others while taking an oath to patient care and accepted the white coat as a symbol of their professional status. It is a rite of passage that many in the healthcare sector are familiar with.

“This ceremony presents students with a pin and lab coat to honor their dedication and perseverance through this intense program and to mark the completion of their internship and diploma. The students will then be eligible to take the national certification exam to become certified medical laboratory scientists,” said Margot Alvey, SVSU assistant professor of medical laboratory sciences.

The following local medical lab students were recognized at the ceremony:


  • Madelyn Graves, Gladwin
  • Mary Johnson, Midland

At the end of the summer semester in August, the students officially graduate. Alvey said they will fill a gap the medical lab is currently experiencing as medical labs, like other critical health departments, have critically low staff levels both locally and nationally due to higher-than-normal retirement rates, which have been exacerbated by the Covid19 pandemic. .

“Currently, local hospitalsin despairfor us to send them students in the hopes that they will stay on as employees,” Alvey said. “We actually have a lot more open spaces to send students than we have students. This is unheard of in the history of the program. According to a recent survey by the American Society for Clinical Pathology, job openings are expected to continue to grow to 13% over the next five years.”

SVSU graduates are highly regarded; clinical coordinators from affiliated hospitals often comment on how prepared SVSU students are.

“Our program is comprehensive and rigorous,” said Alvey, “which it should be, to cultivate competent, high-quality medical laboratory scientists who have the integrity, dedication, compassion, technical skills and critical thinking skills necessary to deliver high-quality patient outcomes.

“All the students who have completed the medical laboratory science program have demonstrated all these characteristics and more and they have done it during a pandemic. They grew stronger and persevered; most already have job openings and all of them will be a huge asset to the medical labs where they want to work. I couldn’t be more proud of their perseverance and dedication.”

After successfully completing their professional courses, students are placed at a clinical affiliate site – usually a local hospital – for a 22-week clinical fieldwork experience, switching between departments including Chemistry, Hematology, Coagulation, Urinalysis, Blood Pop and Transfusion Medicine , microbiology, serology, immunology and pre-analytical within the clinical laboratory.

“Most people, even health professionals, are not aware of the educational or technical training we need to help diagnose blood cancers, sepsis, sexually transmitted diseases, 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 completing 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, a professor and pediatric neurologist. dr. Gold, a passionate advocate of humanistic health care, believed that the oath new doctors took at the end of their medical training came too late. Through the non-profit organization that he and his wife, Dr. Sandra Gold, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation has expanded the White Coat Ceremony around the world.

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