U.S. Navy Students to Graduate from Medical Laboratory Technology Program at TNCC

Published: August 3, 2007

On Wednesday, August 8, at 9:00 a.m., 37 U.S. Navy students, some of who are part of the Navy’s new Perform to Serve program, will be graduating from the Medical Laboratory Technology Program at Thomas Nelson Community College. The ceremony will take place at the Mary T. Christian Auditorium on the College’s Hampton campus with keynote speaker CDR Jean T. Scherrer, Director of Clinical Support Services, Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Va.

The U.S. Navy’s Perform to Serve program allows Sailors in other rates like Operation Specialist (OS), Master-at-Arms (MA), Boatswain’s Mate (BM), etc. with no prior medical experience to transfer or “cross-rate” into the Navy Hospital Corps and acquire Navy Enlisted Classifications (NECs) in critically understaffed areas.

Currently, the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps personnel level at the junior ranks of E-5 and below is undermanned. In some specialty areas such as Advanced Medical Laboratory Technician, identified by their NEC, struggle to remain manned above 75 percent. Bolstering the Medical Laboratory Technicians’ manning level is in alignment with the U.S. Navy Medicine’s support of the operational Navy that responds to the needs arising from high OPTEMPO (operational tempo) and growing commitments overseas such as Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

The Perform to Serve program ensures consistent manning levels and bolsters undermanned NECs. This initiative also ensures that the military personnel are deployable, mission capable and opens additional career opportunities for U.S. Navy personnel in crowded skills. Upon graduation, these U.S. Navy students will be sent around the world to serve as Medical Laboratory Technicians in U.S. Navy facilities where medical laboratories are available.

The graduating class will receive the Thomas Nelson Medical Laboratory Technician Certificate and will be awarded the Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) HM 8506. In addition, 14 of the graduating students have also completed the requirements for their Associate in Science Degree in Medical Laboratory Technology.

This is the sixteenth class to graduate from Thomas Nelson Community College since the U.S. Navy initially awarded the contract to Thomas Nelson in 1998. The program calls for an accelerated 60-credit hour MLT certificate to be completed in 54 weeks. Students complete seven months of their training at Thomas Nelson and five months of clinical medical laboratory internship at the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth. The U.S. Navy has recently extended the contract with Thomas Nelson Community College to continue training U.S. Navy personnel as Medical Laboratory Technicians.

Twenty-eight of the graduating students are re-enlisting in the U.S. Navy for a minimum of three years to a maximum of six years. Twenty-two of these students will be receiving selective re-enlistment bonuses for obligating additional service to the U.S. Navy. The total monetary amount to be paid to these sailors exceeds $500,000.

Release #07-0750

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