Each spring, junior-level medical laboratory science students at McNeese State University prepare to enter a year-long internship with local labs. Students recently heard from Danielle Richard, a 2015 McNeese graduate and medical laboratory science program director for Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, on what to expect during their internship.
Richard knew she wanted to be a part of the medical field and considered a career in pharmacy. However, she found the medical laboratory science program was the perfect fit for her passions and interests in science.
“The program combined my interest in medicine, chemistry and biology,” she says. “McNeese gave me the foundation I needed for my career.”
After completing her undergraduate degree, Richard received a Master of Science in instructional technology from McNeese in 2019. As the director for Lake Charles Memorial Hospital interns, she oversees all aspects of their education that will prepare them to sit for their licensing exam.
“I hold lectures, prepare schedules and assign intern rotations, grade assignments and work side-by-side with the interns running tests,” Richard explains.
Some of Richard’s current interns, including senior Courtney LeJeune, of Iota, were also on hand to talk about their internship experience with the hospital.
Medical laboratory scientists work behind the scenes with physicians to develop a treatment plan for their patients, and this, for LeJeune, piqued her interest. Throughout her time in the program, she says the faculty members have prepared her to succeed in her internship.
“Our curriculum is challenging, but all of my professors bring real-world examples to the classroom that give us a first look at what to expect in a professional laboratory,” LeJeune says. “The internship experience only adds to the hands-on learning I gained in class and builds confidence in my skills.”
LeJeune says working with Richard and the other laboratory staff at Lake Charles Memorial has prepared her for both large and small lab settings as well as a number of complex cases.
“Being a part of such a large hospital campus has exposed me to a variety of samples across multiple units serving patients,” she says. “Lake Charles Memorial is also a certified trauma center. Every day is different and this is an ideal environment to gain experience where at a moment’s notice I am asked to move quickly and tackle several assignments at once.”
LeJeune encourages all students interested in the medical field to consider medical laboratory science.
“Our profession is often overlooked, but there are exciting career opportunities as our work is considered essential to the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease,” she says.
For more information on the medical laboratory science program, visit www.mcneese.edu/academics/undergraduate/medical-laboratory-science.