technicians working with machines and samples in clinical laboratory
Overview Admissions Program Outcomes Essential Program Functions & Clinical Requirements

Essential Program Functions

The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) requires the Medical Laboratory Sciences program to publish this list of essential program functions. This information is intended for you to use to become aware and informed of the skills required in the performance of duties of a Medical Laboratory Scientist (also known as a Medical Technologist or Clinical Laboratory Scientist) and to assess your ability to complete such duties. These essential requirements reflect performance abilities and characteristics that are necessary to successfully complete the requirements of the Medical Laboratory Sciences Program at the University of Connecticut. These standards are not conditions of admission to the program. Persons interested in applying for admission to the program should review these essential requirements to develop a better understanding of the physical abilities and behavioral characteristics necessary to successfully complete the program.

The essential observational, movement, communication, cognitive, and behavioral requirements for Medical Laboratory Sciences students are listed below. If there are changes in the essential requirements, these changes will be published, and students will have the opportunity to discuss any changes with the Program Director and instructors in the Medical Laboratory Sciences Program.

The University of Connecticut complies with the requirements and spirit of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Department of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Connecticut will consider requests that an individual with a disability, who is otherwise qualified, be afforded reasonable accommodation in fulfilling the essential requirements of the Medical Laboratory Sciences Program. To accommodate individuals with disabilities, the University will endeavor to make reasonable accommodation for students that will not impose an undue burden on the program or fundamentally alter its educational requirements and standards.

If you believe that you will need any accommodations to meet specific requirements, after acceptance into the program, contact the Center for Students with Disabilities at the University of Connecticut to facilitate review of the documentation and recommendations for reasonable accommodations.

Section 1. Essential Observational Requirements

The Medical Laboratory Sciences student must be able to:

  • Observe laboratory demonstrations in which biologicals (e.g. body fluids, culture materials, tissue sections, and cellular specimens) are tested for their biochemical, hematological, immunological, microbiological, and histochemical components.
  • Describe the color, odor, clarity, and viscosity of biologicals, reagents, or chemical reaction products verbally and in writing.
  • Use a clinical grade binocular microscope to discriminate among fine structural and color (hue, shading, and intensity) differences of microscopic specimens.
  • Comprehend text, numbers, and graphs displayed in print and on a video monitor or screen.

Section 2. Essential Movement Requirements

The Medical Laboratory Sciences student must be able to:

  • Be at different sites and specific laboratory areas, at a designated time, for educational experiences.
  • Move safely around a laboratory.
  • Reach laboratory bench tops and shelves, patients lying in hospital beds, or patients seated in specimen collection furniture.
  • Perform moderately taxing continuous physical work, often requiring prolonged standing, over several hours.
  • Maneuver equipment to collect blood and other laboratory specimens from patients safely.
  • Use and safely control laboratory equipment (e.g. pipettes, test tubes, inoculating loops) and adjust instruments to perform laboratory procedures.
  • Use an electronic keyboard (e.g. 101-key IBM computer keyboard) to operate laboratory instruments and to calculate, record, evaluate, and transmit laboratory information.

Section 3. Essential Communication Requirements

The Medical Laboratory Sciences student must be able to:

  • Comprehend technical and professional materials (e.g. textbooks, journal articles, handbooks, and procedure/instruction manuals).
  • Comprehend verbal communications, including lectures, discussions, and conversations with healthcare professionals and patients.
  • Follow verbal and written instructions in order to correctly and independently perform laboratory test procedures.
  • Clearly instruct patients prior to specimen collection.
  • Effectively, confidentially, and sensitively communicate with patients.
  • Communicate with faculty members, fellow students, staff, and other healthcare professionals in person and in recorded format (writing, typing, graphics, or telecommunication).
  • Independently prepare papers and laboratory reports and independently take examinations (written, computer, and laboratory practical exams) to demonstrate content mastery.

Section 4. Essential Cognitive Requirements

The Medical Laboratory Sciences student must be able to:

  • Independently possess and demonstrate the following cognitive and problem-solving skills: comprehension, measurement, mathematical calculation, reasoning, integration, analysis, self-expression, and compassion.
  • Be able to detect and correct performance deviations in laboratory tests.

Section 5. Essential Behavioral Requirements

The Medical Laboratory Sciences student must be able to:

  • Manage the use of time and organize work in order to complete multiple tasks and responsibilities within realistic constraints.
  • Independently exercise appropriate judgment and apply cognitive skills in the classroom, laboratory, and healthcare settings.
  • Provide professional and technical services while experiencing the stresses of task-related uncertainty (e.g. ambiguous test ordering, ambivalent test interpretation), emergent demands (“stat” test orders), and a distracting environment (e.g. high noise levels, crowding, complex visual stimuli).
  • Be flexible and creative and adapt to professional and technical change.
  • Recognize potentially hazardous materials, equipment, and situations and work safely in order to minimize risk of injury to patients, self and nearby individuals.
  • Adapt to working with unpleasant biological substances (e.g. urine, blood, feces).
  • Foster a team approach by supporting and promoting the activities of fellow students and healthcare professionals in learning, task completion, problem solving, and patient care.
  • Admit when an error has been made, when uncertain about an analytical result, or when unsure about the appropriate response in professional situations.
  • Critically evaluate his or her own performance, accept constructive criticism, and seek ways for improvement (e.g. participate in enriching educational activities).
  • Evaluate the performance of fellow students, faculty, clinical instructors, and the program and tactfully offer constructive criticism.

Clinical Requirements

As a student in the Medical Laboratory Sciences program (“Program”), you must complete all required clinical experiences. If you are unable to complete all required clinical experiences, you will not graduate from the Program.

All external clinical experiences must be completed at a Program-approved facility. The Program will assist you in finding such clinical placements. Each facility has its own requirements that must be met before accepting a student for a clinical placement. You are responsible for meeting the facility’s requirements. The Program is not responsible for securing clinical placements for students who are unable to meet a clinical facility’s placement requirements.

Common clinical facility requirements include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Successfully completing a background screening. Background screenings may include checking state and federal criminal records and sex offender registries.  If your background screening shows that you have a criminal record or are listed as a sex offender, you may not be able to secure a clinical placement.
  2. Successfully passing drug screenings. Drug screenings may occur at one or more times during the program. If you test positive for drug use, you may not be able to secure a clinical placement or may be removed from a clinical placement. This includes, but is not limited to, prescribed medical marijuana or opiates.
  3. Demonstrating that you are current with immunizations (i.e., tuberculosis, measles, varicella & influenza). A record of previous immunizations is not sufficient to fulfill these requirements. If you are unable to demonstrate, through written documentation, that you are current with your immunizations, you may not be able to secure a clinical placement. It has been UConn’s experience that clinical facilities will not accept a religious exemption form in lieu of proof of immunization and will deny clinical placements to any student who fails to provide such proof. Evidence of immunity and costs associated with testing are your responsibility. Titers may be done through either your family doctor or the University’s student health service.

If you are not able to meet these requirements, you will most likely not be able to complete the program’s clinical experience requirements. The financial costs of meeting these requirements are generally your responsibility. If you have any questions regarding background checks or drug screenings, you can contact UConn’s Clinical Case Manager at clinicalcasemanager@uconn.edu. For all other inquires please contact the Program Director, Rosanne Lipcius (rosanne.lipcius@uconn.edu | 860-486-1994).

A full list of student responsibilities in clinical education can be found in the Program’s Clinical Compliance Handbook.