RE: [Histonet] ASCP Exam

From:"Edwards, R.E."

Rubbish  in(unqualified staff) rubbish out(crappy sections), it's  not
rocket  science to  work  that  out. 

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Janice
Sent: 01 February 2007 16:33
To:; Jennifer MacDonald; Joe
Cc:; Leslie Chen
Subject: Re: [Histonet] ASCP Exam

As a Histology manager, I want techs that have it all.  A person who is
a good microtomist is valuable only to a point and a tech who has all
the knowledge and low skill is only half a tech.  
It is up to the employers to assure competency in all areas, not the
ASCP.  When you hire a new tech it is always a gamble even with the best
references and screening process.  I have hired registered HT's who
don't know or remember squat and I have hired "unregistered" techs who
have it all.
We have a probationary period during which I would not hesitate to let
someone go if they showed no promise of being competent in all areas.  
Hire slowly, fire quickly is a good motto. 
I personally am an advocate of requiring HT(ASCP) certification because
it raises the field to a more professional level.  I know this would
leave some labs in dire straights for techs.  I would advocate for a
grandfather clause.
Maybe it is Friday.......
>>> Jennifer MacDonald  01/31/2007 8:05 PM >>>
I agree with you that skill is very important to be a competent
 What I disagree with is that the ASCP practical exam was a fair measure
of the competence of the skill of the histotech.  Your employees' 
situation is a classic example.  Do you feel that one was more competent
than the other?  Was one set a little better than the other?  I also
know of an example where a tech with more than 25 years experience did
the practical for an individual and the applicant failed.  Time on the
bench is also not a good measure of skill.
I have graded slides at the ASCP and I have to tell you that it is very

difficult to give a failing grade.  Others must agree with you before
you can deduct "big" points.  Also no one person grades a set of slides.

minimum of three graders will see the slides.  How close were the
scores, if you don't mind me asking?
When grading the slides the graders are not looking for slides of
diagnostic value, they are looking for perfect.  Right or wrong that was
the standard that every applicant was held to.
As I said, there is no perfect way to test the competence of applicants.

In my opinion the practical needed to go.  That is not to say that when

interviewing job applicants you cannot ask them to prove their microtomy
 In my experience if an applicant has a strong working knowledge of the

theory and some microtomy experience it is easier to train them than it
is to train someone with only microtomy skills.  It also depends on what
you want them to accomplish in the lab.  If you strictly need a good
microtomist than really good microtomy skills are necessary.  If you
need someone to be able to troubleshoot staining problems the good
microtomist would not be the person for the job. That does not make one
a better tech than the other.  It all depends on the needs and
priorities of the situation.

"Joe Nocito" 
01/31/2007 05:47 PM

"Jennifer MacDonald" , "Larry Woody" 

, "Chen,     Leslie" 

Re: [Histonet] ASCP Exam

It is Friday!!!!!
I must respectfully disagree with you. I have two techs that obtained
tissue from the same autopsy, processed, embedded, stained and
coverslipped said tissue at the same time. I reviewed the slides as did
my medical director. 

The techs were getting mad at me because I kept kicking slides back for

reason or another. One passed the practical, one didn't. I still don't

understand how that happened. In essence, who ever graded those slides

that my pathologist and I didn't know what we were doing.
    Now, on the other hand, all prospective employees that apply at my

sit down and cut a few blocks to demonstrate that they know how to
handle a microtome.
    Book knowledge is one thing, but you have to agree in the histo lab,
skill is very important. Just my 3 cents.

Joe "let the flaming begin, again"

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jennifer MacDonald" 
To: "Larry Woody" 
Cc: ;
; "Chen, Leslie" 

Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 7:15 PM
Subject: Re: [Histonet] ASCP Exam

> Lack of a practical has nothing to do with mandatory certification. 
> practical was a component of the HT/HTL (ASCP) certification exam. 
> of the exam gives the applicant national certification with the
> Mandating certification may very well be dictated by pathologists,
> has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the practical aspect of the HT/HTL

> being discontinued.
> It is interesting to note that no other laboratory science
> requires a practical.  Does that make those certified applicants any

> competent?
> Expense was not the only criteria that was used to make the decision
> discontinue the practical.  There were many factors.   With HIIPA
> regulations obtaining the tissue was also becoming difficult for
> applicants.  Some applicants have access to fully automated labs,
> others don't.  Some out there are unethical and don't do any of the
> themselves.  What makes it a fair and valid exam.  At least with the
> "written" portion applicants must show knowledge of the principles
> procedures and the ability to recognize problems and to troubleshoot

> Sending the slides to the graders is not an option.  The ASCP had a
> sophisticated grading system to ensure anonymity to each applicant
> ensure that the grading was equitable.  Sending out slides to
> would have compromised a fair system.  You also open up the
> breakage and lost slides/blocks.
> There is no method of examination that will please everyone.  The
> who had feedback from many people in the histology field, made the
> decision that they felt would be fair to MOST applicants.
> The ability to cut good sections does not make one a good histotech,

> a good microtomist.  Just as the ability to pass the computer portion
> the exam does not make one a good histotech, but the odds are better
> well rounded employee.  One needs to understand and interpret the
> they are performing, not just load them on the Stainer.
> Just my opinion,
> Jennifer MacDonald
> Larry Woody 
> 01/31/2007 02:04 PM
> To
> Jennifer MacDonald , "Chen, Leslie"
> cc
> "''" 
> Subject
> Re: [Histonet] ASCP Exam
> Hate to say it but I think Pathologists have a lot to do with why
> isn't mandatory certification for HT and HTL.
> Jennifer MacDonald  wrote:
> The practical will only apply to those that did not pass prior to
> Anyone that applies for 2007 and beyond does not do the practical.
> The instructions state do not download the practical instructions
> told to do so by the ASCP
> "Chen, Leslie"
> Sent by: 
> 01/31/2007 11:42 AM
> To
> "''" 
> cc
> Subject
> [Histonet] ASCP Exam
> I'm sorry, I'm confused about the conversations regarding the
> portion of the exam. Are you saying that the practical part is no
> required for HT or HTL cert for ASCP? According to their website,
> practical is still required. There are practical instructions:

> igibility/htl.aspx
> Thanks.
> Leslie
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