RE: [Histonet] Can you lose your skill?

From:"Connie McManus"

I understand your frustration in doing the routine day in and day out.
When I came back into histology, the pathologist who hired me was in his
-- get this -- 70's.  He had NO interest in doing IHC, PCR or anything
cool.  He occasionally ordered a Toluidine Blue or a GMS stain and a
really big day was 20 -30 H&E's.  Most of the time I sat around surfing
the internet, playing solitaire and doing personal stuff. I had very
little to do.  The pathologist finally retired at age 75 and we got our
current boss, who quadrupled the number of H&E's, got me going on IHC,
created a molecular lab with PCR and microarrays.  This was a nightmare,
but that's growth.  

I think you can lose skills, but it's only temporary.  It's like riding
a bike, you can get them back when the need arises.  I gained my HT in
1973 and worked as a histotech continually until 1982.  I then had a
hiatus from histology when I went back to school, got my BS in biology,
learned EM, microbiology, virology - cell culture and 10 years later,
came back to histology. I had no problem whatsoever in cutting sections,
staining (specials or H&E).  I wisely did NOT let my ASCP registration
lapse, even though at times it seemed like a waste of money to send in
those dues each year, especially when I was in college and money was
tight.  Of all the diverse lab experiences I've had, I love histology
the best.  Believe me, if it's something you really love and enjoy (and
I'm assuming you love histology or you wouldn't be so concerned about
losing your skills), when the time comes to use them, you'll have them.

In the mean time, keep current on technology in the field, even if you
don't use it on the job. Keep going to NSH meetings, local histology
meetings, etc. Read, read and read some more.  You will survive. *G*

Connie McManus
Utah Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory
Utah State University
Logan, UT
Phone:  435/797-1891
fax: 435/797-2805

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Deltour,
Douglas D.(HM2)
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2004 2:53 AM
To: Histonet (E-mail)
Subject: [Histonet] Can you lose your skill?

Hello everyone,
I have a kind of odd question for you. I would love to have all of the
experts and non-experts feedback. Let me start off by saying that I have
been a Histotech since 2000 when I graduated from the school at AFIP. I
sent to a place that did 6000 cases a year. We also did special stains
autopsies. I was working there for two years when I transferred to a
that did 18,000 cases a year. Specials, autopsies, and immuno's. Now I
am at
a place where I do 800 cases a year. Maybe 5 special stains a year and
autopsies. I am supposed to be here for three years but I am trying to
it. I am telling everyone that I am losing my skills being here. The
that control this place tell me otherwise. There is one pathologist here
right out of residency who will not confirm that my skills will erode.
He is
right out of residency and would not know. Anyway do you think that my
complaint is a legitimate complaint. Can you lose your skills if not
If you have not noticed already I am in the military, Navy that is. I
need to confirm that a Histotech can lose their skill if not used. I
appreciate any feedback, advice. Thank you.

HM2(FMF) Douglas D. Deltour 
Naval Hospital Sigonella Italy 
Anatomic Pathology, Histology Supervisor (HT)
FROM US: 01139095564862 DSN: 624-4862 
FAX FROM US: 01139095564680 DSN: 624-4680

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