grossing specimens

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    I am a histology lead tech in a 175 bed community hospital in Maryland. I
have been grossing surgical specimens for nearly twenty years. My training
has all been on-the-job with supervision and guidance by the pathologist. The
range of specimens I gross includes biopsies to bowels, moles to mastectomies
and everything in between. Our current pathologist does all the complicated
cases, most of the cancer cases (except skins) and anything I feel at all
unsure about.
    I also cut all the frozen sections, prepare bone marrow smears at
collection and have, until just this year, been morgue diener.
    We have put in place a QC sheet on which the pathologist rates the
quality of the dictation and sectioning on a daily basis. He also observes
the actual grosssing of specimens every few weeks.
    A growing number of histotechs are grossing at varying levels of
complexity. My grossing began as a means to help a lone pathologist free up
more time in his day to diagnose, communicate with clinicians and attend to
all the other aspects of his job. How much or little your techs gross should
be decided by how much training they receive and their willingness to take on
the responsibility (and it is a big one).
    If I can help anymore, feel free to write.
                    Maureen Tomblin

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