RE: [Histonet] Up to 10 cents worth RE: Automation for test 4 centsworth

From:"Rittman, Barry R"

I think that an important point has been lost here.
It makes no difference if you make up your own solutions or use
commercially available ones if the results are the same.  In England
where I trained cost was a definite factor. I would happily have mowed
lawns for a week rather than make up the Feulgen reagent again, it was a
real pain, and commercial ones now seem to be very good.
One positive aspect of making solutions is that it forces one to
understand the ingredients and manual staining the method and therefore
able to make corrections if anything goes wrong. It is often this lack
of understanding of the methods used that is distressing to me.
It is the same with machines, is the staining carried out by the
histotech in a robotic manner? If you are going to use machine staining
then the basis for that staining needs to be clearly understood. 
I agree that taking courses and exams even if you feel that you are an
expert is valuable as it often forces one to look from a different
perspective (and sometimes provides that necessary humbling). 

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Gayle
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 2:15 PM
To: Morken, Tim - Labvision;
Subject: [Histonet] Up to 10 cents worth RE: Automation for test 4

Tim et al.

Couldn't stay out of it, and totally agree with Tim's comments and we
even have automated IHC in our lab.  HOWEVER, if we did have an
immunostainer and I had to take HT/HTL practical IHC test in this day
age, I would use automated IHC staining. That also goes for using
microtomes and automated stainers to do the H&E.

I personally found HT and HTL practical(s) lessons in discipline -
up on methods, their theory, setting up and following directions to 
stain,  but more importantly problem solving.  It was a learning
from start to finish both times, and one heck of a review of methods 
already used in the laboratory.  One thing learned, there was no
between using commecially  versus inhouse prepared stains, results were
same - been there, tried and compared (at expense of reagents and time) 
then using commercial stains for practicals.

As for other 2 cents, etc worth commentary on ASCP -  I've paid ASCP
since 1962 and haven't missed a year - ok, so I'm old!!   This has never

been a sore issue - somehow a necessary maintenance of professional 
status   I paid dues even when there was little money in our pockets, I
not working but lived under a mountain of diapers.  Biggest ASCP 
disappointment was Laboratory Medicine journal -  histotechnics became a

rare subject but an option to stop subscription was exercised.

Gayle Callis
Research Histopathology Supervisor
Veterinary Molecular Biology
Montana State University - Bozeman
Bozeman MT 59717-3610

  At 10:44 AM 4/5/2005, you wrote:
>Recent comments on the ASCP test:
>I personally have a lot of problems with the practical portion where
>automated machines are allowed to be used to prepare slides.
>I don't think that I would want to submitt an automated slide.  How can
>take pride in that?.
>Well, I have a lot of respect for both Bonnie and Barry, but I'm not
>that what we're testing is whether a tech can successfully answer the
>drain the slides and put them in the next solution. That is the trivial
>of staining. If that's a problem then how about using
>stains for the test slides? Should we also require hand-dipping for
>processing? I think most labs now days both buy the prepared stains and
>automation to do the staining.
>The skill is not the moving of objects through a series of solutions -
it is
>in knowing which to use and how to set up the solutions properly and,
>importantly,  in identifying when the stain is not correct - and
>how to correct it. Indeed, even with commercially-prepared stains,
there is
>a lot of skill involved in deciding which one is best for your labs'
>And skill/knowledge certainly is involved in setting up a machine to
>any stain properly - the machine is not magic - it simply does what the
>tells it to do. It won't make a bad tech look good simply by its use.
>Disclaimer - the company I work for manufactures automated instruments
>the histology lab.
>Tim Morken
>Lab Vision - Neomarkers
>-----Original Message-----
>[] On Behalf Of Bonnie
>Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 9:19 AM
>To: 'histonet'
>Subject: RE: [Histonet] 4 cents worth
>I agree, Barry!!!  I don't think that I would want to submitt an
>slide.  How can you take pride in that?
>Bonnie Whitaker
>-----Original Message-----
>[] On Behalf Of
>Barry R
>Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 11:05 AM
>To: histonet
>Subject: [Histonet] 4 cents worth
>I must in general agree with Pam and others who have stressed the need
>formal recognition of skills such as with a recognized program.
>I do not think that anyone has been insulted on Histonet with regard to
>their on the job training. I also had a lot of on the job training.
>those of y'all who may be indignant when the quality of OJT is
>have to realize is that it is not possible to equate OTJ in different
>You may have had superb training or may have been in a job where the
>training was poor or mediocre at best. You may have been working your
>off or had time to improve your skills and experiment with new
>It is difficult to know what your specific situation is unless you have
>piece of paper where you may be compared to other individuals. Having
>the ASCP exam does not necessarily mean that you are better trained
>somewhat who has worked in a great lab and only received OJT.  It does
>that you can be compared to others who have passed the  ASCP exam, it
is a
>basic level.
>Having a degree especially, outside the field may indicate that you
>reached a certain level of academia, but also does not guarantee that
>have "street smarts" or will be able to pick up techniques and concepts
>better than an individual who has not received such training. You only
>to ask someone who has been placed in charge of helping graduate
>with their histology projects to know how true this is.
>The ASCP exam, while it is not perfect is a first step in ensuring that
>individuals have the basics.
>If we are going to work on anything lets work on improving the ASCP
>I personally have a lot of problems with the practical portion where
>automated machines are allowed to be used to prepare slides.
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