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GW Clinical Placement Information

JUSTIN RILEY: Hello, and thank you for your interest in the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and our clinical admissions process. We’re very excited to be with you here today, and we’re going to go over some very detailed information about the clinical admissions process overall and how you will navigate yourself through the admissions process for potential admissions review.

In today’s schedule, we’re going to do welcome and introductions, why GW, why GW Online, the admissions process overview in its entirety, securing a clinical site, and qualifications. We’re going to go over all the steps of doing that, as well as we’re going to go over the mission support roles of who’s going to be there to assist you throughout the admissions process, as well as resource information and who to contact, when to contact, and your resources there.

So I wanted to do a welcome as long as we were presenters are today. This is me, the top picture there. My name is Justin Riley. I’m a director of Online Admissions for the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Today’s presentation is Breanna Atlee, our clinical placement specialist for GW’s Biomedical Lab Sciences Department. And I’m going to turn it over to her, and she’s going to introduce herself and provide a welcome to everyone as well.

BREANNA ATLEE: Thank you, Justin. And thank you, everyone, for joining us today and for your interest in our Biomedical Lab Sciences Department and clinical placement. As Justin said, my name is Breanna Atlee, and I am the clinical placement specialist that will be working with some of you in trying to locate and confirm placements for your programs.

JUSTIN RILEY: Thank you, Breanna. And so why GW? What brings you here today? In these next few slides, we will provide some information about the university, the flexibility, and the benefits of our online program. The George Washington University has a rich history. Our university has been around for almost 200 years as we were founded in 1821. Our location is in Washington DC, which is the center of healthcare policy, research, and business.

Our School of Medicine and Health Sciences is the 11th oldest medical school in the country and the first in the nation’s capital. Our faculty members here really do connect you with industry collaborators and other experts in the field. The GW Health Sciences Office of Constituent Engagement, which is otherwise known as our alumni office, also strengthens the GW community by bringing together alumni and reconnecting them with the university as well as providing networking opportunities for alumni of like clinical specialties, as well as providing occasions for alumni to come back to Foggy Bottom to connect with students.

We also tote a large alumni list that includes individuals from all over the world. GW Alumni and Healthcare Industry Network is open to all alumni who are currently working in or interested in working in this career field. In regards to rankings, of all the schools in the country, GW School of Medicine Health Sciences is ranked number 59 by best– 59 best medical schools for research and number 88 best medical school for primary care according to US News and World Report.

GW as a whole is ranked number 56 for best national university according to US News and World Report. Some very unique and interesting rankings that we offer here and tote at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences is that 100% of our medical or laboratory science students reach phase two of the program in their clinical graduate from the program. And 95% of them are working in the field within three months of graduation.

Overall, the program boasts a 94% pass rate compared to the national average of 80%. Why online? Most students really enjoy the online program for the fact that they can log on when it’s convenient for them. You’ll be able to log on, and you can be in an asynchronous base format, which means you don’t really have a set class time. We utilize Blackboard LMS system, which is highly mobile-friendly. You can use a tablet with it, and there’s an app that you can utilize to really take your education on the go.

Also, to maintain the academic integrity of the program, but GW MLS program requires that students use a web-based remote proctoring system called Remote Proctor Now in every MLS designated course throughout the program. Remote Proctor Now is an online proctoring platform that could be flexible around your schedule.

In regards to student services, we do offer career services for our online students. We use something called Handshake, which is GW’s online career job and internship search platform. Handshake is GW’s one stop shop for managing the career, development, and recruitment needs of our students’ employers. In features almost 15,000 registered employers listing thousands of positions that include internships, seasonal, temporary, and full time employment opportunities.

While using Handshake, you’re guaranteed a colonial connection. With writing assistants, GW has a full writing center. And we offer individual tutoring for all GW students, including our distance learners. Students are available during any stage of the writing process, whether you’re brainstorming, organizing information efficiently and clearly, developing a strong thesis, addressing grammar and punctuation issues, providing evidence in support of an argument, and presenting the findings of an experiment, or the solution to a research problem.

Students are available by telephone or Zoom for off campus students. But arrangements are required in advance. Our faculty are extremely diverse. And many are working full time in the field in which they teach. They are leaders in their respective fields and have been trained in the latest and active learning and other best practices of pedagogy in order to successfully transfer their knowledge and skills to our students.

This slide illustrates the clinical admissions process through file review—the first and most important step in securing a location you will utilize to conduct your clinical rotations. Breanna will explain in more detail in a few moments why that process is so important. The second step is to be qualified for the program, followed by completing the required documents to send your file for review. Now in regards to securing a clinical location, attached to this email, you’ll find several very important documents that will provide you a step-by-step guide to securing a clinical location.

So make sure to review them carefully and follow the specified directions. One of those documents is a clinical program brochure. This brochure is where you’re to add that to your clinical location of choice, really outlining our program in totality and what it all entails, and also the process of setting up an affiliation agreement if it is warranted.

The next document’s going to be the prospective student guide. This is the full clinical toolkit that will assist you with finding a location, what to say, when to say it, how to write your emails, what to say over the phone, but really how to give yourself the best chance of securing the site. And the last document’s going to be your call log. This is where you’re going to put in your work that you’re doing in the finding a site.

It’s basically you’re going to fill it out for each location that you are looking to secure. And you’ll be able to track your progress accordingly. In regards to being qualified and added to the roster, once you received a positive response from a potential lab, you’ll be reconnected with over to your online admissions advisor, who will start the process of qualifying you for the program and assisting you in completing your admissions file for review.

You will need your unofficial transcripts for this process. So please start looking for these now to expedite everything. We will review your transcripts in order to verify you can meet the prerequisites for the program, as well as ensure that you are in the correct program before you move forward in the process. The last step is completing your admission file for review. This consists of your letter of recommendation, your statement of purpose, ordering your official transcripts. GW does provide a transcript ordering service if your school does allow for third party requests.

We’ll take care of all the costs and fees associated with getting your transcripts as well.

BREANNA ATLEE: Thank you. As for securing a clinical site and the qualifications for initiating that process and doing so, one of the important things to remember when going through this process is that in that 95% of students who are working within three months of graduation that Justin mentioned earlier, a good portion of that number actually find employment at the location in which they’ve completed their clinical rotations. So for many, it’s important to sort of think of looking for your clinical site as if you were looking for a future job.

At GW, we do offer rigorous high quality education in health sciences, as noted in some of the statistics that Justin mentioned earlier. One of the ways that we ensure this is by asking our students to be actively participatory in finding and locating these clinical sites before you’re accepted into our program. We find that students in programs that require the location of a site later in the program end up stalling out and are less likely to complete their programs if not to have their clinicals before they are accepted into the program.

However, as mentioned by Justin in reference to the toolkit, and with myself in place as a placement specialist, you are not in this process at all alone. We are here to help in securing your site and finding your site and communicating back and forth with the laboratories in which you wish to communicate. On a side note, if you happen to live within 40 miles of our DC campus, or you have previous work experience related to working in a laboratory or the program that you are interested in pursuing a degree in, make me reach out to your admissions contact specialist.

Because you may qualify either to apply as a local student in which placement for a clinical rotation would be slightly different and handled through the university itself, or for qualification for a waiver in which you may be able to opt-out of part or all of the clinical portion of your program. If neither of the above applies to you, don’t worry. We are still here to help you in looking for and connecting with labs in your area and with communicating with them in describing why it is important for you to procure your laboratory placement early, and what the benefits would be in partnering with us at George Washington University.

JUSTIN RILEY: This slide here is going to detail the admissions support roles that would be with you during the admissions process. Your initial contact is going to be your admissions contact specials. They’re the ones you probably already engaged with already, and they provided you this email for further instruction. They will essentially give you initial instruction as well as check in with you every week to determine your progress of securing a site. They will be asking you to send them or give them an update on your clinical logs, how many you have, you are completing them in a timely manner, and determine if you found a site that’ll give you a positive response.

So we’re looking for that positive response in order to get you over to the next steps in the process. So once you obtain a positive response, whether it’s the email or a call, definitely reach out to your admissions contact specialist and let them know you received a positive response from a clinical location. During the process, you have your clinical placement specialist Breanna Atlee. After your initial student outreach, she’s going to provide you a list of clinical affiliates close to your area. She’ll also assist with setting up an affiliation agreement at your clinical location if that is deemed required.

Then once again, once you find a positive response, we’re going to get you in touch with your online admissions advisor who’s going to assist you with the completion of your admissions file. We’ll go over the qualifications of the program and really go to your unofficial transcripts to make sure you read the pre-rec review, as well as getting started on working with your letters of recommendation and completing your overall admissions file.

This next slide is going to go over all the resources and contact information that’s available to you during the process. We feel it’s very important that you not only know who your main points of contact are but also that you’ve done your research and you know the requirements of the program. You also are able to identify and review all the frequently asked questions on our website. We try to really curtail everything that students have asked in the past really to make sure that you feel well-informed and you’re able to address any anxieties or concerns you may have.

So these are very helpful and useful links. We definitely urge you to really review them in detail to make sure that you’re fully aware of the admissions process as well as the requirements, as well as some of the logistical things of how clinical work, and how all those types of things that you may be having right now.

We also have some very important information regarding our general admissions email address. We also have a clinical admissions hotline. So if you really just want to talk to an admissions advisor or some important questions that your admissions contact specialists are not prepared to answer, you can reach out that number there at 202-729-9879. I’m going to have Breanna kind of outline her communication and her contact with students as well.

BREANNA ATLEE: Thank you, Justin. Yeah, absolutely. If you feel like you are stuck or you’re in a place where you need a little bit of guidance in terms of locating sites in your area, or as mentioned by Justin earlier about searching to see if there are any local affiliates, please feel free to reach out via email. It’s the best way to reach me. And that email is B, Atlee, A-T-L-E-E number two at G-W-U dot edu.

JUSTIN RILEY: All right. So that concludes this informational session. We do wish you the best of luck on securing a site. Again, don’t hesitate at all to reach out. But it does require effort on your part. And oftentimes, it does take anywhere between eight to 12 different locations before you actually find your clinical site. I do want to reiterate like what Breanna said, a lot of times the places where you secure your admissions site, or your clinical site at are the places you’re going to ultimately be employed.

So definitely be on your best behavior, definitely do your research, and it does come down to effort as well. So we do see individuals who put forth the required effort; they’re able to secure their location a lot quicker. So it does take a lot of effort on your part regarded to reaching out to several locations. I know it. Some locations can give you the cold shoulder at times. But just understand that we’ll do our best to help you secure a location. And you have a lot of resources available to you as well. So best of luck. And hopefully, we’ll see your name come across our desk soon.

GW students consistently outperform against the national average. In 2018 the GW first time pass rate was 89.39% and the GW overall pass rate was 93.93%. This is compared to a national pass rate of 79.60%.

Graduation Rates:
In 2019, 98.6% of students who entered Phase II of the MLS program graduated.

Employment Rates:
100% of graduating students from 2015 to 2019 found employment in the field or a closely related field and/or continued their education within one year of graduation

Yes, most of our students work while they are enrolled in an online Biomedical Laboratory Science (BLS) program.

Applicants with clinical laboratory experience may be eligible to waive individual practicum requirements. Applicants will need to secure a clinical site for any individual areas where professional experience is lacking. Please call 202-729-9879 and speak with an online admissions advisor if you believe that you may qualify for the waiver.

Below is additional information regarding clinical waivers:

  • Relevant experience must have taken place in the last five years and must be on a professional level. Other rotations as a student would not count (i.e. volunteering, internships, etc.)
  • The waiver requires two signatures:
    • One from a lab manager, section supervisor, or any professional that can verify the experience.
    • One from the lab administrator, i.e., a medical director or someone in that capacity.
    • In some cases, one person can satisfy both signatures.
  • There is no guarantee that the waiver will be approved. Students are merely applying to be considered for a clinical rotation waiver.
  • Tuition must still be paid for the rotation course, and students will be required to complete all coursework associated with these rotations.
  • As a backup, students should still plan to secure a clinical site in case the waiver is not offered.

Areas where students can apply for a waiver:

  • Blood Banking
  • Hematology
  • Urinalysis Coagulation
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Clinical Microbiology

Local students who live in the Washington, D.C. metro area can be placed in one of our affiliate hospital labs in the area. Students who live outside of the Washington, D.C. metro area are required to secure a satisfactory clinical site at the time of admission.

GW establishes an affiliation agreement with all facilities prior to the clinical practicum rotations. However, GW does not have the authority to automatically place students into these sites, since many of these affiliations are temporary and are only generated for an individual student. GW has local primary affiliates, which are the only sites that GW can use to place students for rotations. Students securing their own clinical sites must acquire permission from the clinical site to attend the rotations.

We have many clinical affiliates nationwide; please contact the GW MLS clinical coordinators ( for state-specific questions.

Yes, you may secure your own site. However, if you are planning on securing your own clinical site, you cannot use any of our already affiliated local sites for your rotations. Students are not allowed to contact our local clinical sites to secure a spot for their clinical placement. All local clinical placements are done through your GW clinical coordinator. In addition, if you wish to secure your own site for your clinical rotation, that site must be an accredited lab with all specific lab areas required to complete your practica.

Once a clinical site is identified, the GW clinical coordinator will determine if the site performs all of the mandatory testing required. If the facility is missing tests in any area, the student may need to find an additional site to complete the requirements for the rotations. Once a site or sites are identified and approved; an affiliation agreement with each site is initiated. The student cannot begin the clinical rotations until there is an affiliation agreement in place.

Due to a high volume of applications and the limited number of local clinical spots, we are typically unable to place non-local students in one of our primary local affiliates. Keep in mind that, it is also important for students to develop a professional relationship with a clinical site in their own geographic area to create possible future employment opportunities.

If you have attended multiple institutions, your final GPA and credits earned are factored together to determine your overall GPA.

All of the didactic courses in the Biomedical Laboratory Science department programs are taught online. These programs also include at least one practicum course (the number of practica vary depending on the program). The practicum courses are completed in an approved hospital or diagnostic laboratory and will include some online components. Students in the Blended BSHS program will complete in-person lab courses each semester at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, Va.

For the BSHS and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in MLS, students must successfully complete Phase I (didactic courses) before becoming eligible to enter Phase II (clinical rotations). In order to successfully complete Phase I, students must complete all MLS courses with grades of C or higher and have a 2.5 MLS GPA. Students must also complete the Clinical Rotation Request form and submit any other required documents as indicated in the CRR.

For the Categorical Certificates and the clinical MSHS programs, students must complete the core clinical MLS courses to become eligible to enter their program’s rotation. Certificate students must also complete courses with grades of C- or higher and maintain a 2.5 MLS GPA; MSHS students must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Students who fail to meet the minimum GPA requirements may be placed on academic probation, suspension, or face possible dismissal. The Regulations section of the GW Bulletin includes detailed information on academic standing. Details on the academic grievance and appeals process are included in this section as well.