School & Community News

Student reporters reflect on Quest field trip
October 1, 2016

Phlebotomy demoOctober 2016… Reporters from East Norriton Middle School in the Norristown Area School District had the opportunity to visit the Quest Diagnostics laboratory in Horsham, Pa., during the spring of 2016. Quest volunteers set up several stations for the Bulldog Bulletin reporters to learn about what goes into lab work: phlebotomy, logistics, hematology, microbiology, and pathology.

After the field trip, the reporters wrote thank-you notes to the Quest employees they met. Kayla wrote, “Thank you for an amazing trip filled with fun, facts, information, and learning experiences.” Elizabeth wrote, “Thank you so much for educating us…and giving us the opportunity to visit Quest Diagnostics. I learned so much during our field trip.”

Several students also wrote about the specific stations and what they learned at Quest, Healthy NewsWorks’ Community Wellness Partner:

At the phlebotomy station, the reporters learned about how a phlebotomist takes blood samples and how the different tubes of blood samples have color-coded caps representing the different types of testing. Lightly cooked noodles were used to show how samples are drawn from blood vessels.

Gabrielle wrote, “Thank you for teaching me and our newspaper staff about phlebotomy at Quest Diagnostics. It was so fascinating to be made aware of, and understand all the work and preparation behind taking blood. … I also really appreciate how your station was interactive. Using the needles and noodles to represent taking blood from a vein really helped me better understand your work and how it is done.”

At the logistics station, the reporters learned how Quest transports specimens from hospitals and doctor’s offices to its Horsham lab, using both cars and planes. The lab handles about 25,000 specimens a day, and employees drive a total of 12,000 miles per day.

Darian wrote, “The logistics station was my favorite, as it gave me an insight into what happens on a day-to-day basis to the drivers of Quest Diagnostics vehicles, and how they do what they do. … I never knew just how complex it was to ship blood samples to different locations, and I also never knew that airplanes were used to fly blood samples longer distances.”

At the hematology station, the reporters learned about blood and its components, and were able to see what healthy and abnormal cells look like.

“At my hematology station, I learned about white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells,” Janiyah wrote. “The white blood cells are your body’s white knights. If a germ invades your body, the white blood cell comes to the rescue to fight and then kill the germ.”

At the microbiology station, reporters learned how microbiologists study bacteria, and how they can determine if a certain antibiotic can stop the growth of bacteria.

Andrea wrote, “It was so interesting seeing and interacting with the agar plates. I’d never tried this before. It made me inspired to want to use them in my science fair project for next year. This has made me so interested in cells and how microbiologists test antibiotics.”

At the pathology station, reporters examined normal and abnormal cells under a microscope.

Brielle wrote, “It was very interesting to see all of the different cell samples under the microscopes, and I thought it was cool that you can sort of tell if something is wrong with somebody just by looking at their cells under the microscope.”

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.