RE: BOR exam

From:"Morken, Tim"

Marsha wrote:


Those of us in the USA need to look outside the lab to see what is really
going on. In the US, at least, there is a shortage of workers in all fields,
from computer technology to manufacturing to fast food service. All types of
businesses are feeling a worker crunch. Even nursing and medical schools are
seeing a decline in applications. It has to do with a lower population of
young people. In the medical field it is only going to only get worse
because our older population is growing and more people are going to be
using medical services than ever before. On top of that the percetage of lab
techs reaching retirement age is accelerating. so it's not just the
histotechnology field that is feeling the pain.

There are limited technical ways to deal with this. We can automate
everything possible or we can limit testing to the essentials (yeah -

In the long term, however, the only way to deal with it is to market the
field to bring in more people. I think the lab profession, and especially
histology, has failed miserably in this area. How many on the Histonet have
ever done anything to help recruit new people. I am not completely blameless
in that regard.

I think, however, that pathologists and laboratory directors have to take a
large share of the blame for our situation. In the past it was usual to
simply pick a random person and get them to start working in the histo lab.
In the past a person could work in a histo lab for decades and never do more
than cut sections, do H&E's and a few simple special stains. Now days, of
course, we do much more complicated testing, but the general method of
recruiting seems to be the same: If someone hangs around a histolab and
shows a bit of interest, they may very well end up becoming a histotech.

Pathologists and laboratory directors (people who have the official
responsibility for the lab) have failed to let schools know that we need
people in this field. As a result, even though there is a huge shortage, and
the pay is pretty good, no one from high school through college even knows
the field exists. 

I would challenge all of you to do something to help recruit people. Work
with your local or state histo society to present information at recruiting
fairs. Make presentations at schools (science teachers are always happy to
have someone give practical examples of the applications of the things the
teach). Offer tours of your lab. NSH and ASCP have recruiting materials
available. If WE don't do this, who will?

Tim Morken

-----Original Message-----
From: Marsha R Price []
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 6:33 AM
Subject: Re: BOR exam

 What you are saying is true, there are some techs who have not been
successful at passing the written part of the BOR, that  have superb

I think we are all in agreement on this :
1. The two year training program is a necessity, it is a great program
2. We need to add college courses to the 2 year ojt program to prepare
these individuals for the written exam.
3. We need to form more histo schools to help with this extreme shortage
and offer incentives to encourage people to become a histotech, like they
do the nurses.
4. I think 4 hours in the histo lab and 4 hours in the class room would
be good (Plus the students could help with the busy morning workload
while receiving their training)

I did not realize how serious the shortage was until I started
interviewing for a job recently. I decided to resign my supervisory job a
little over a year ago to obtain more college education. I then thought I
might try to work a little prn or part-time or even relocate if the
perfect job in the perfect place came up.

What I am witnessing out in the histo world is sad and I feel for all you
supervisors and Pathologists that are trying desperately to fill these
spots. I have had all kind of offers but none that I would uproot my
family over or that would benefit me whatsoever.

Have we stopped to ask why are these vacancies still there? I answered
that in the above paragraph, there are not enough attractive offers that
will motivate someone to relocate or even work prn etc.

For example, this one place I applied at was offering to pay RN's to go
to school to become an RN if they would agree to sign on with them for 1
year after the completion of the RN program. This particular hospital was
also desperately short on histotechs (I couldn't help but notice how
desperate they were because they practically grabbed hold of me and asked
if I could start right away like this moment, I was trying to politely
pry there arms off of me without making them breakdown in tears) and had
one of the few histology schools available in our country but were not
offering to pay histotechs to go to school nor were they offering
relocation fee, sign on bonus etc. The supervisor was nearly in tears and
said that she not only was finding it difficult to find histotechs but

I am seeing this particular scenario in the story I described above in
practically all states that I have interviewed in.
So, please tell me what is the answer to this particular problem in
histology? I know that I am apparently not the only one declining their
offers, or they would not have the need to interview me. 

I would love to hear some feed back on this.

Marsha Price

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