Re: staining times

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From:"R.Wadley" <>
Date:Fri, 27 Aug 1999 09:10:33 +1000
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	Dear Ronnie,

	Welcome to the new world.  Highly trained specialists in vitually any
field are dinosaurs.

	By setting up all your stains as recipes to be followed exactly you don't
need highly trained individuals in the lab, and you don't need to pay those
salaries.  I worked (very briefly) in a major city hospital here in Aus
that has used cook book instructions for special stains for many years.
Their histotechs & scientists are not expected to even check their work.  I
gave the pathologists a special treat while I was there by actually doing
the job properly.

	The point about using the microscope is that you have to train the student
not only in how to stain but also in the structure of the tissue they are
staining.  This is all too much in these times of giving employers just
exactly what they want & no more.  The histo component of my degree was 3.5
semesters, minimum pass mark in the prac was 65%.  I came away from uni
with 200 personally stained slides for reference.  The same degree now
offers histo as about 1 semester, new students cannot possibly leave with
the same understanding of the subject.

	The only way to get well trained people in any field is for those people
working in the 'field' to go to training institutes (universities,
colleges, whatever) & say this is what we want, if we don't get it your
students don't get work.  More importantly tell the students, if you do
this course you won't get a job.  Finally, some of us so called experts
have to be actively involved in the training process, by either becoming
full-time or part-time lecturers.

	Medical science is now a huge field, because histology has not changed
substantially over the last 150 years it is increasingly seen as
irrelevant, particularly in the face of advances made in haematology,
biochemistry & molecular genetics.  My course co-ordinator always claimed
histo was a dying art because in the future there will be no need to excise
lumps of flesh from people because illness will be detected & treated by
the new emerging technologies.

	I am biased, I am a university trained scientist, majoring in histology.
I have worked in hospital & research labs.  I have 2 papers in press
dealing with aspects of cryo-X-ray microanalysis of the choroid of the
chick eye, I provide basic consultancy for histo & EM issues here at UNSW
in Microbiology & Immunology, but I manage a lab specialising in cellular
analysis by lasers, high speed flow cytometry, laser scanning cytometry
(getting flow data off a bit of tissue on a slide), & confocal microscopy (
visualisation of multiple fluorchromes & 3D imagery).

	I am a long way from the histology done in routine labs, but I'm very
worried that there are not younger people behind me to take over when I
decide to give this game away.  (There's time, I've got at 20 years left in
me yet, if I can just stay sane!)

	My 2 bits worth.

	Rob W.

At 09:05 08/26/1999 CDT, you wrote:
>A recent question about the staining time of hematoxylin alludes to the 
>point of the recommended time in staining protocols.
>This time is just that......that recommended by the author(s), but does not 
>reflect what is required for your own conditions. The microscope is the 
>ultimate control, and not what is written down in a cookbook-type method.
>I have found that newer students to the profession tend to place too much 
>emphasis on exact staining times and not on microscopic control.
>Just my observation, but would appreciate comments.
>Ronnie Houston
>Cytochemistry & Molecular Pathology
>Texas Scottish rite Hospital for Children

R. Wadley, B.App.Sc. M.L.S, Grad.Dip.Sc.MM
Laboratory Manager
Cellular Analysis Facility
School of Microbiology & Immunology
UNSW, New South Wales, Australia, 2052
Ph (BH) 	+61 (2) 9385 3517
Ph (AH)	+61 (2) 9555 1239
Fax 	+61 (2) 9385 1591

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