Re: Resistance to experimenting (was: times given inprocedures)

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From:"Barry Rittman" <>
To:histology <>
Date:Tue, 31 Aug 1999 10:34:12 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain; charset=us-ascii

I don't feel that this is merely a question of time but that attitudes have
I think that several factors have influenced the current situation.
First,  in the USA compared to Europe, labor used to be very expensive and the
tendency was therefore to optimize the labor force by using as many commercially
available kits and stains as possible. The reverse situation was in force in
Europe where money for supplies was at a premium and labor was cheap.
Second, salaries are not as good as they should be.
Third, when I was initially training, while the salary was poor (actually it was
pitiful) there was an attitude that this was an apprenticeship. We took pride in
the quality of the work that was produced. We also had more time to produce the
work and also received considerably more training than is currently possible or
It appears to me that the main emphasis now is on productivity and while
consistency is maintained there is generally less emphasis on the quality of the
end product. I believe that in many, but fortunately not all laboratories, the
final goal has been to produce a product that is adequate rather than the best
that could be produced. (Sometimes this is unavoidable due to time constraints).

Employers often use the bottom line and the minimum qualifications in the job
description to hire individuals with the minimal training necessary with the
idea that the individual may not remain in that job for many years, i.e. it may
not be their  final career choice.
My impression is that those working in histology laboratories, in many cases,
feel that they are a unit of work rather than an individual. If you are at the
bottom rung of the ladder and the your training and  a good career path for you
are  not high priority items for your employer, then the motivation to go that
extra yard is often missing. It is not surprising in today's climate that many
have discovered that there is life outside work time and that this has higher
priority than work. i.e. work is no longer the number one priority.
The good news is that there are still some excellent supervisors who do care for
the individuals they are training and do their best to ensure that they have
appropriate training and a clear career pathway. The task of all supervisors
should be to try, within limits imposed on them, to provide as much variety and
continual training of their junior colleagues as possible and to also try to
educate the administrators about the value of well trained, experienced
histotechs who can be relied upon to remain at that job for several years.

barbara albert wrote:

> I suspect that it's the production mentality most of us are forced into
> nowadays.  We just don't have time for it any more.
> Barbara Albert
> At 07:41 AM 8/31/1999 EDT, Tim Morken wrote:
> >Steven Slap wrote
> >
> >>Individual labs need to understand that they may have to experiment to
> >>optimize procedures, but there is a growing resistance to this idea.<
> >
> >This is an interesting problem. What sort of people are coming to work in
> >the lab who are not willing to experiment to get the best results? I wonder
> >if pre-packaged reagent kits and automation are working against us us this
> >regard.
> >
> >Tim Morken, B.A., EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
> >Infectious Disease Pathology
> >Centers for Disease Control
> >MS-G32
> >1600 Clifton Rd.
> >Atlanta, GA 30333
> >USA
> >
> >email:
> >
> >
> >Phone: (404) 639-3964
> >FAX:  (404)639-3043
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >----Original Message Follows----
> >From: "Slap, Steven" <>
> >To: Barry Rittman <>,        histology
> ><>
> >Subject: times given in procedures
> >Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 10:44:28 -0400
> >
> >Dear Histonetters,
> >
> >Barry Rittman wrote:
> >       As noted by several others here, the times for most techniques
> >are guides only
> >       to provide a range. The results depend on many  factors such as
> >different
> >       fixation and processing techniques and times, thickness of
> >section, type of
> >       tissue and final result that is desired.
> >
> >I couldn't agree more.  As a vendor of microwave processors, I am always
> >being asked for fixation and processing schedules which are ideal for
> >all specimens under all possible conditions.  Individual labs need to
> >understand that they may have to experiment to optimize procedures, but
> >there is a growing resistance to this idea.  In my workshops, I try to
> >explain the principles behind the process so that trained technologists
> >will understand the impacts of varying certain parameters.
> >
> >Best regards,
> >Steven Slap
> >
> >*******************************************
> >Energy Beam Sciences, Inc.
> >The Laboratory Microwave Company
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