Industry Tour Series: Rochester General Hospital

Welcome back to our STEM Series:  Summer Teaching Institute Industry Tours.  In this series we are highlighting the local industries that welcomed our Summer Institute participants this summer.  Read more about the Summer Institute here.  This installment focuses on Rochester General Hospital.  

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Teachers Tour Rochester General Hospital on 8/12/14

When we arrived at Rochester General Hospital, we were warmly greeted by Dr. Lucy Sheils, who escorted us through a beautiful atrium, complete with player piano and a café, to the centrally-located lab facility. As soon as we walked through the door, we were in a bright, clean, and busy medical laboratory.

We were welcomed to a conference room with coffee and bagels/sweet treats where we met more of the staff who hosted our visit. There were some opening remarks by Dr. Sheils, including information about the upcoming shortage of medical technologists – who comprise most of the lab staff – due to retirements and increased demand. She introduced us to her specialty, pathology, including her path from high school though medical school to where she is today.

Students at the Rochester General Hospital Clinical Laboratory Technology Program

Students at the Rochester General Hospital Clinical Laboratory Technology Program

Dr. Roberto Vargas talked more about the Medical Technology training program at the hospital including information about the various entry points to a career in the laboratory side of medical practice. These opportunities range from phlebotomists who are required to have a HS diploma through opportunities at the Associates degree, Bachelors degree, up through Medical School. The function and interaction of each of five laboratory specialty areas was described to us by Dr. Roberto Vargas/Microbiology, Lorraine Francisco/Chemistry, Maureen Shoenberger/Hematology, Hal James/Histology, and Glenda Spencer/Blood Bank. Each of these specialists then gave us a tour through their area that included tissue preparation including sectioning a colon, microscope slide preparation and staining, drug testing and specimen culturing, blood analysis including an impressive automated system that moved samples to various test equipment. The laboratory staff was, without exception, extremely welcoming, cheerful, and enthusiastic. They clearly enjoyed sharing what they did and how they did it with us and were both conscientious and proud of their work.

As teachers, it was an extremely useful tour from the perspective of understanding medical laboratory practices as well as informing us of additional career opportunities to discuss with students. Most focus on becoming a nurse or a doctor because that is the most visible part of the profession but there are many other opportunities for work that is both in demand and a good career choice in terms of working conditions, opportunity, and compensation.

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Kathryn Jensen, Vanguard Collegiate High School

Thank you very much to the staff of Rochester General Hospital’s Laboratory for a wonderful morning!

Kathryn Jensen is a Science Teacher (Chemistry) at the Vanguard Collegiate High School, in the Rochester City School District.  She participated in the Summer STEM Teaching Institute offered by the Finger Lakes STEM Hub.

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