FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Parkview science program established in 1956 will now double the number of students accepted each year thanks to renovations to the health organizations Randallia campus, officials said Wednesday.

The Medical Laboratory Science Program can now admit 20 students per year, up from the nine it could accommodate in previous years.

Officials say it’s a vital step to filling the backbone of Parkview, diagnostics.

“Every single decision that a doctor makes about your blood count your urine test, if you’ve got this kind of a disease or this kind of infection, all of those decisions are made based on what we do,” said Lisa Daniel, Parkview’s Director of corporate laboratories.

Located in the lower level of Parkview Hospital Randallia, the program will also transition from a 10-month “rotation-based” model to a 12-month “student-based” model – previously, students completed lab training through clinical rotations.

And the instructors running the program are informing the students of the weight of their work.

“Something I like to tell them is that there are occasionally times where you sit down at your scope and you are the first person to find out that the patient has cancer,” said Catherine Egley, who is one of the teachers.

Allegra McMillan is another teacher with the program. She’s been teaching since 2009, and when compared to other programs, she’s impressed with what Parkview has brought to the table.

“Here it’s a scientific level up from other programs,” Allegra said. “This isn’t just basic science, it’s basic science, putting it into the human body; twisting it, applying it and rearranging it.”

Under a new student-based model, students will complete labs and lectures on the same subjects simultaneously, with the majority of their training taking place in a newly renovated student lab, officials said in a media release.

“We are thrilled to expand and enhance our program so we can offer even more people the opportunity to receive hands-on training and experience,” said Brian Goff, the program’s director, in the media release. “Medical lab science is often called the ‘stealth medical degree’ because most people think of becoming a doctor, nurse or pharmacist instead. But now is an especially exciting time to enter this lesser-known career field as we see incredible advances in science and technology, along with rapidly growing demand for more highly trained individuals.”

In the last three years, the program has maintained a 100 percent pass rate for national certification. Currently, the program also has a 100 percent job placement rate, officials said.

In addition, officials say that 60-70 percent of the current laboratory staff at Parkview consists of graduates from the program.

More details about the program, including how to enroll, can be found here.