Today someone handed me copies of several posts from this listserv on the subject of pathologist's assitants. I have to say they are quite alarming and amazing at the same time.
Terry Murphy says "the majority of them......arrogant and self serving"
Elliott Osterhaus, M.D., Ph.D. writes: "from the $40-55 per hour they get, they don't appear to do much"
These are disturbing accusations. First, on average a path assistant DOES NOT earn $55.00 per hour, NOT EVEN CLOSE. That would amount to $123,200 per year. In a recent survey I conducted nobody earned that much (60 respondents). The average is far lower. As a matter of fact 95% of path assistants earn less than $39.00 per hour.
Even more disturbing is the continuing trend to attmept a comparison between path assistants and histotechnologists. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with being a histotech. I do not feel they are inferior, nor do I feel the environmental staff at the hospital are inferior. However, comparing a histotch to a University trained path assistant is not apples to apples. Many of you may feel hostility because you know of a histotech that trained on the job and poof - became a path assistant. I assure you if this is the case (AND they passed the national AAPA exam) they were held to the same difficult standards that us University trained path assistants were held to. They are just as deserving of the job as I am. Just because they got their start as a histotech does not mean that they are stilll histotechs. Many M.D.'s started out in nursing - does that mean a nurse can suggest he/she is of the same calibre still? Of course not!
Do not hold resentment to pathologists assistants because you think they should be held responsible for helping you do YOUR job in busy times. Who helps them when they are busy? It is not your job to gross a few colons to help them, likewise it is not their job to cut controls for you, or accession for that matter. The job of a path assistant is different than the job of a histotech, we just work in the same room. You have your duties, I have mine. I know nothing about immunohistochemistry, and a tech knows nothing about staging a cancer case. Our roles are different. Stop the senseless bickering and comparison of apples to bananas. It is ridiculous.
We are supposed to, as adults, work together with positive attitudes. We are all here to serve the patient. This does not appear to be the case in instances reported on this listserv, but they are not from my experience the rule. I have never had a problem with a histotech, I have made many friends at work. I am not sure what your problems are, or where they arise. But be sure to remember a path assistant has as much duty to do histology work as an OR nurse has to cook for the cafeteria.