Re: Histology Survey

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From:Lee & Peggy Wenk <>
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Hi - 

This is Peggy Wenk, and I have a School for HT and HTL
in Michigan. 

I'd like to make several comments on job shortages:
(rather long and wordy - sorry)

1. SURVEY: ASCP will be beginning their bi-annual (every 
other year) survey on vacancies and wages soon. The survey
is usually end of July through end of October. Results
are usually published in February or March.

These surveys will be sent to supervisors or managers who,
if I remember correctly from years past, are ASCP members.
About 1500 surveys, random, across the US.

PLEASE - mention this to your supervisor/manager, and 
make certain that they complete the survey and 	SEND IT IN!
We need all the accurate figures we can get.

2. SHORTAGE: As a program director for HT and HTL schools, I 
receive requests (make that more than one) every week from 
all over  the country for my  students. email, faxes, mailings, 
calls - pleading, begging, nearly crying. (no, don't call me. 
They already have jobs. And they don't graduate until August 18!
Two were offered jobs the beginning of June - 2 1/2 months
before they graduate! The hospitals are willing to hold the
jobs unfilled and wait for them, because they know they 
aren't going to find anyone.)

There is a really big job shortage of histotechs. I've never
seen it so bad. For example I would normally know of 1-3 job 
openings in Michigan at any given time. Some years, like
after CLIA went into effect, we would go 3-4 months before a
job would pop open.

Now, for the past 1 1/2 years, I know of 6-18 jobs open in
Michigan. Right now, there are about 10. And Michigan has
THREE histotech programs! So you can imagine how bad it is
out there in the rest of the states.

3. ACCREDITED HT/HTL PROGRAMS: There are only 21 active 
accredited HT/HTL programs still in existence. And Michigan
has 4 of them. That leaves 17 for the rest of the 49 states.
So if we are hurting, it's got to be awful for the rest of 
the country. This is down from a high of 54. So few places 
are training histotechs.

4. OJT TRAINING: Everyone that is calling me has been saying 
that they are so overworked, that they don't have time to train
any one else on-the-job (OJT). They would rather continue
to work one person short, than have to train OJT. 

However, it has now gotten worse, because these places are
now 2 or 3 people short, and they are in crisis!

5. MY OWN SURVEY: The following is an informal survey that I 
have been running since November. I look at the want ads in 
the  back of ADVANCE magazine, every 6 weeks (every 3rd issue). 
I  make a note on how many MT, MLT, MT supervisors, CT, PA, 
Cytogenetics and HT/HTL openings there are. (I don't include
lab assistants or phlebotomists. Just technicians and 
technologists.) Then I figure out the percentage of HT/HTL 
openings to the other lab professionals.

In our area, the number of HT/HTL is about 5-6% of the 
lab professionals in any given lab. Some labs higher, some
lower. So I would think that the percent of histotech job
openings would be about the same percent. WRONG! The
number of HT/HTL openings has been running between 13 and 19%!

That's 3-4 times the expected number of openings!

Now, I know this isn't too scientific. If the want add
says they need medical technologistS (plural), I don't
know if they need 2 or 20. So I mark it as 2 openings.

But still, I can remember when I first started receiving
ADVANCE, there would be MONTHS without any ads for HT/HTL.

I next do the "survey" the July 31 issue. I'll post my
numbers on Histonet.

6. INCENTIVES: In some of the locations that are contacting 
me, they are including sign-on bonuses ($1000-$3000), and/or 
moving expenses. 

I have been contacted by two hospitals in the
area that have increased their pay in the last couple of
weeks, because they can't find anyone. 

I have been contacted all year by labs that are willing 
to give my students a "scholarship" of several thousands 
f dollars right then and there, if they would agree to go 
work for that lab when they graduate - and this is up to 
6-9 months BEFORE they graduate.

Some places have been willing to start the students out
at a notch or two higher than the bottom rung. In other
words, within the same pay scale, but not like they
were starting out, but like they had been working there
for 2 years.

I've been getting a lot of calls from labs that want to
set up a 2 tier system - HT and HTL, or Histotech I and
Histotech II. And want to hire my students in the higher
level, due to their education (associate degree for my
HTs, baccalaureate degree for the HTLs) and their
training. Of course, they also expect the higher levels
to do more things - such as the immunos or grossing.

Some places have offered to hire my HTLs as MTs, because
they don't have the 2 tier system in histology, and this
is a way to get them more pay without having to go 
through the hassle of getting a new position name and
pay scale approved.

With the generation-X'ers, and with those who may be
leaving a job that they've had for several years,
the ability to start earning and using vacation pay
right after probation seems to be important. They
don't want to wait 1 year after starting a new job.
I know several hospitals that have changed their
policy on this, so people can start using their
vacation time as they earn it.

I have seen many of the same "incentives" in ads in
ADVANCE. And the number seems to be increasing.

In other words, we are beginning to see a price war
where labs are trying to steal histotechs from other
labs, so they don't have to do any training.

7. CALIFORNIA: As for accredited training programs 
in California, right now there are NONE. There is one 
community college that is trying to get a school up 
and running. It takes time to get the money, the people 
to teach, and permission from all levels of within the
college. They have called me several times, to ask
questions, request examples of how my school is
run, what books we need, etc. So I know they are
out in California working on it. I don't want to 
mention who they are, in case it doesn't work out.

Contact the accrediting agency (NAACLS)(pronounced
like na-kles with a short a) at 773-714-8880 to see
if they have applied yet to be accredited.

MOST IMPORTANT - if any school asks for your help
in teaching students or taking their students
TRAIN. If not YOU - then WHO?

Everyone wants already taught/trained people, but
no one is willing to teach/train. I know this is a
very broad statement, but we are in desperate times!
The number of HT, HTL, MT and MLT programs are
dwindling every year.

Hope this helps you (and others) with some of your

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)
Schools of Histotechnology
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073 wrote:
> Hi all you Histonetters,
> I would like a little feedback for some questions that came up in a
> recent work force planning meeting I attended.
> How many of you have job openings that you have been unable to fill recently?
> What is the average age of the techs in your lab?
> Are there any schools or accredited training programs in or near California?
> When advertising an open position in your lab, do you offer a sign-on bonus,
> or
> incentive pay?
> Do any of you offer an increased salary in-lieu of benefits?
> What are your business hours of operation?
> Hope to hear from you soon.
> Janet Matthews
> Kaiser Permanente
> Regional Histology Lab
> Berkeley, Calif.

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