Six students made history as the very first graduates of Community Healthcare System’s Phlebotomy training program. The 2021 graduating class includes: Rose Caldwell, Jalene Delgado, Staci King, Reyna Mahan, Trisha Spears and Ashley Timmons-all of Northwest Indiana. All of the students were offered positions at Community Healthcare System hospitals.
The seven-week training program, based at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, prepares students for entry into the workforce as well-trained phlebotomists. Their training by laboratory personnel, clinical staff and educational healthcare experts included classroom instruction, techniques through didactic instruction, student labs and more than 100 hours of hands-on clinical experience from actual patients across Community Healthcare System’s outpatient blood collection sites and hospital-based settings.
A video to highlight the students and showcase the program was produced for the inaugural 2021 graduation.
Phlebotomy program director Nicole Griffin said she is proud of the students and expressed confidence that she will see them wearing laboratory coats in the future as a result of their phlebotomy training. All the graduates were offered jobs at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System: Community Hospital, Munster, St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago, St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart and Community Stroke & Rehabilitation Center, Crown Point.
St. Catherine Hospital medical lab director Zhuowen Zeng, MD, told the students the phlebotomy profession is a noble and important one.
“You are one of the first healthcare professionals our patients see,” said Zeng. “You play a very important role in diagnosing illnesses and conditions, which is an entry point for quality care. In a very real sense, a phlebotomist is not only an ambassador of our Laboratory Services department, but an entire network of patient care services across Community Healthcare System.”
At the inaugural commencement ceremony, clinical education coordinator Mary Wallace introduced the 2021 class to hospital staff and family members of the graduates. Vice president Ancillary Services Elizabeth Yee presented certificates of graduation to the students.
Laboratory Services regional director Ethel Urbi said in closing remarks, “We look forward to welcoming you back.”
St. Catherine Hospital CEO Leo Correa shared with the graduating class that his dream had finally been realized in hosting the inaugural healthcare training pathway program for high school graduates. He said that admission to the program requires a high school diploma, minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale and high school course completion in biology, chemistry, algebra and English composition. References and a personal interview also are requirements. Students who successfully complete the phlebotomy training program may choose to sit for an accredited national certification examination through the American Society for Clinical Pathology to become a certified phlebotomy technician.
Registration for a second Phlebotomy training program in the summer will open this spring. To learn more about Community Healthcare System’s next phlebotomy training program, visit COMHS.org/careers.