Structure of Professional (Clinical) Year
The professional (clinical) year of the IU CLS Program involves 11 months of full-time study, starting in August and ending in late June or early July. Part-time study is not available. The entire 11-month experience is focused on the concepts of health and disease, performance of laboratory assays, and the role of test results in confirming diagnoses and determining the best treatment modalities. Clinical skills and analytical judgment are emphasized.
There are two major components of the professional year: 26 weeks are spent in a student laboratory setting where lectures and student laboratory exercises provide the basic knowledge and laboratory skills the CLS student needs prior to entering the clinical laboratory; 17 weeks are spent in rotations at clinical laboratories where IU CLS students work one-on-one with practicing CLS professionals to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the student laboratory setting. All students who successfully complete the student laboratory portion of the program and are in good standing with the University are guaranteed access to facilities for completion of the clinical rotations.
CLS Student Lecture/Laboratory
The first 26 weeks of the CLS Program, starting in August and ending at the end of February, are spent on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the CLS educational area in the IU Health Pathology Laboratory Building, 350 W. 11th Street, Indianapolis, IN. There is a large lecture room with comfortable seating and modern audiovisual technology for presenting lectures via PowerPoint, viewing video presentations, and accessing internet connections. The CLS student laboratory features 24 fully-equipped laboratory stations. Each student has a personal microscope and a generous supply of all materials and equipment needed. The student laboratory is also equipped with modern audiovisual technology. A computer cluster that features 6 computers and appropriate printers is available for use by IU CLS students. The IU CLS Program shares the lecture and student laboratory facilities with the IU Health Methodist Hospital CLS program. Students in both programs follow essentially the same schedule, are taught by the same instructors, and are graded by the same guidelines.
CLS students are usually in class all day, typically taking two courses at the same time; one class occupies the morning hours and the other is presented in the afternoon. This program is very intensive, requiring approximately 8 hours each day in class and daily study time outside of class hours. Usually each class has a lecture presentation followed by a session in the student laboratory area. A typical schedule for the student laboratory portion of the IU CLS Program is shown below. The holidays and vacation schedules are similar to those at other universities.
IU CLS Clinical Rotations
Clinical rotations start after completion of the student laboratory sequence and involve 1 week of phlebotomy/blood drawing and 16 weeks of actual laboratory experience. The 16 weeks of clinical rotation are divided into four 4-week blocks, with one block in each of the four major areas of CLS (i.e. microbiology, chemistry, hematology, and transfusion medicine). The student remains at the site for the entire day. Students are not required to rotate during evening, weekend, and/or holiday hours.
IU CLS students complete a majority of their rotations at the IU Health Pathology Laboratory Building at 350 W. 11th Street, Indianapolis. This is a large multi-functional clinical laboratory that handles approximately 10 million clinical tests each year and employs approximately 200 clinical laboratory scientists.
The IU Health system includes a number of specialty clinics and small laboratories located within the IU Health hospitals. IU CLS students visit some of these laboratories in order to see applications of laboratory technology in various settings. Included in these experiences are rotations at Riley Hospital in the pediatric hematology/oncology clinic, University Hospital in the apheresis area, and Methodist Hospital in the emergency department laboratory. IU CLS students also rotate in the laboratories of Eskenazi Health (formerly Wishard) Hospital and the Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center.
All CLS students (IU and IU Health Methodist Hospital) have the class “Topics in Clinical Laboratory Science” throughout the clinical rotations. This class focuses on clinical correlation (includes a capstone project with an oral presentation and a manuscript suitable for submitting for publication in a laboratory science journal), laboratory management and information systems, and educational methodologies. During this time, students also complete mock certification examinations in order to prepare for the national certification exam they take after completion of the CLS program.