Re: [Histonet] The Histology Career was monkeys
Here I go on a short rant..... So read no further if easly offended.
It is true that most anyone with normal co-ordination can be taught to
"turn a crank" and get sections from the microtome as well as load an
automatic stainer /processoer, push various buttons and put labels on
slides. Don't know about monkeys but I have trained MD's ( humor is
intended here but I know, hate mail is on the way) to do manual IHC with
acceptable results. The old "take them out of housekeeping and let the
pathologist train them to section" mentality. The point is that most
"techniques" can be taught but what happens when things go wrong? The
stuff nightmares are made of!!!
The following examples were drawn from a short stint as a very partime
positon I held in a large hospital path lab where I was the only HTL
and one of two HT's out of eight "technicians" (the supervisor was
also not registered).
1) The person doing Special Stains (automated) asked me why the acid
alcohol was not decolorizing his PAS slides. I asked why he wanted to
do that and he replied that the hematoxylin on the stainer had run out
and he wanted to restian the slides and that the "pink" wouldn't come
out. I explained acid/ base dye's but stoped short of trying to explain
the Shiff's reaction when I realized I wasn't getting through. Finally
just told him to put the slides in the hematoxylin of the H&E stainer
and that all woud be well.
2) The person doing the microscopic QA on the H&E's before the slides
were delivered to the pathologist could certainly reccognize folds and
knife lines in the sections but came to me one evening and asked me to
look at some slides that didn't have any "blue dots" on them. Briefly
explained cells and nuclei , suggested we check the automatic H&E
stainer and discovered that someone had forgotten to put the "H" in the
stainer....... She had been promoted to "technician" from accessioning
clerk several months before......
I could go on as there were numerous othere incidents, some with legal
ramifications, that happened on a daily basis that simply would NOT have
occurred had the laboratory benn staffed with certified HT's. One must
be able to understand what one is doing in order to fix what went wrong
when it does (check Murphy's Laws of Histology, it will). With the
increase complexity of the procedures and tests that we now do, IHC, IA
etc. education is a must.
Robert Schoonhoven, HT, HTL (ASCP)
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