LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Six students just finished Comanche County Memorial Hospital’s Med Tech program. The graduates are now going to work at the hospital’s lab where they got hands-on experience while going through the program. After spending the year going to class, studying, and working in the hospital’s lab these students are now done.
“It’s been tough,” Randi Reyes said. “It’s been really tough, but the knowledge that we gain at the end is very rewarding, and what we can do with it to help take care of patients is rewarding as well.”
The program she just completed has been around since the ’50s. Students can apply after finishing three years of college at one of the eight affiliated universities like Cameron University and Midwestern State University.
“I was doing research with some of my professors, and I really love being in the lab,” Tolulade Adenga said. “One of my professors told me about the Medical Laboratory Science program because it has to deal with being in the lab, and it was something I used to do on campus, and I decided to give it a try, and yeah, I really liked it.”
Stacey Paryag-Stevens, the program’s director, said they’re one of three hospital-based programs in the state.
“Most of our med techs, over half of the staff of our lab, are alumni from our program, including myself,” she said. “We staff the lab as well as other hospitals in the southwest Oklahoma area.”
During the 51-week program, they have learned the skills and knowledge that they’re going to need in a lab. Reyes said she’s expecting a typical day in the lab to be running tests on the instruments to make sure it’s accurate and ready when patient samples are sent to them.
“Samples are being couriered to us from different departments in the laboratory or from the out-patient laboratory downstairs,” Reyes said. “So we run the test and process the results and try to result them to the doctors as quickly as we can.”
COVID didn’t disrupt their learning but helped them prepare for things they may see in the future.
“They should be able to adapt for any encounters of any harmful pathogens or anything like this or Ebola,” Paryag-Stevens said. “They will know how to behave and what they have to do to protect themselves in the setting and so even if years from now they decide to leave Comanche and go somewhere else to work, they will be experienced. They will be able to say I worked as a student during the COVID period.”
The students who just graduated now have to take their boards or national registry exam. The next group starts class next week and it’s already full.