[Histonet] Training Med Techs - some candid comments

From:"Mike Kirby"

Dear Ms Orr.

You may not have wanted a fight on your hands but now you've got one! 

Climbs on soapbox and starts tirade!

Your comment " Training a MT to be a Histo Tech is like trying to train a policeman to be a fireman" rather sticks in the craw, and I would like to follow with a counter
comment, "Can a Histo Tech be trained to be a fireman?" as anyone can be shown how to connect a hose to a hydrant and point it at the flames.

Granted, Histopatholgy is very much a "hands on" profession, requiring fine manual dexterity and concentration, but it's no better than operating a high output Biochemistry/ Haematology analyser or cross-matching a pint of blood, where a wrong result can kill a patient. Plus you operate under a fraction of the stress we are subjected to  - try working for a full day, and then doing another 13 hours of call out duty, and then you are expected to report for normal duty next day!

It's a gross insult to insinuate that ours is a "job" while yours is a "career".

As students, we spent 5 - 6 months working in every division that was available in the lab - Chempath, Haem, Parasitology, Micro, Cyto, Immunology, Human genetics, blood transfusion, and yes, even Histopath. When we passed our finals, we were allowed to choose which discipline we wanted to further our careers, and each year, without fail, the majority would choose anything but Histopath, as it was considered a boring  "dead end division" (Yes, pun intended).

As for management positions, if you can run a Chempath or Micro Dept, then you can run a Histopath Dept, as the same managerial systems apply, regardless of the discipline, it's just the practical applications of the work in hand that differ. 

Histopathology is just one of the services in the medical world, you don't walk on water, and neither do we. As far as I am concerned, once trained as a general Med Tech, you can be trained in virtually any other discipline, unless you are like "two left thumbs" me, who after 35 years on the bench, still cannot cut a half decent section or make a passable blood smear. (But I am good as a manager!)

End of tirade - climbs off soapbox, puts on helmet, and climbs into bunker, to await the verbal barrage that's about to be unleashed................

South Africa

-----Original Message-----
From: 	histonet-bounces@lists.utsouthwestern.edu [mailto:histonet-bounces@lists.utsouthwestern.edu]  On Behalf Of Orr, Rebecca
Sent:	17 March 2006 17:04
To:	histonet@lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Cc:	Delk, Linda
Subject:	[Histonet] Training Med Techs

Hello everyone.
I would appreciate any feedback from those of you who may have had to train MT's (ASCP) to work in Histology.
They would be trained as histo techs with the intent to promote them into  Anatomic Pathology (Histology) management positions.
Candid comments welcome, especially from MT's who now work in histology!
To me it would be like trying to train a policeman to be a fireman, it's a career, not a job, right?

We see a HT shortage in the Chicago area, but I am unsure how to address this.  

Degreed individuals have proven critical thinking skills via a traditional education pathway, so I see the advantages, but to ignore very capable HT managers with proven management and organizational skills via non traditional pathways  is becoming an issue with me.
I mean it's not like Non degreed HT's are stooopid or something.

Thank you

Becky Orr CLA,HT(ASCP)
IHC Lead 
Evanston Northwestern Healthcare


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