Re: Med Tech's as Histologists????

From:Barry Rittman

I think that the broader the experiences that you have in the health professions
the better.
I personally prefer the original european system where individuals train as MLTs
with a portion of this training in histopathological technic. If they prefer
they can later specialize in histopathology. This seems to be a sensitive issue
in the States where more MLTs are being asked to act as supervisors of
histopathology laboratories. I believe that in order to effectively supervise a
histopathology laboratory you have to have trained as a histotech and be able to
do the job of any of the people that you are supervising.
The problem that we see is often a result of differential training of
histotechs. While I agree that on the job training is valuable, it often results
in tunnel vision with large gaps in basic knowledge.
It is also true that most people can be taught how to use a microtome. Question
is do you want someone who cuts, mounts and stains sections in a robotic manner.
In my experience it takes about 6 months before an individual can cut good
sections and around a year for hard tissues. Most residents are amazed at how
easy sections are to cut when we set up a microtome and an easy block of tissue
for them, however its a different matter when they have to start from scratch
and any problems arise. Can be a very humbling experience.
One last point is that with the current shortage of histotechs and no bright
light on the horizon for a big  increase in numbers available, it is time for
employers to make the jobs much more attractive - better salaries, financial
support for attending meetings to improve knowledge and a scheduled training

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