RE: [Histonet] Training Med Techs

From:"Ford Royer"


The short answer is... This can not be done.  Med Techs can not be trained!
Do not try this at home!!

Seriously though... I am no longer a practicing Laboratory Scientist (nee
Med. Tech. (ASCP)), but when I was I did supervise a Histology Lab at one
time.  My situation was that, like Jacquie, I went through the program back
when Adam was just a little boy.  In our year of residency, we were required
to have 8 weeks rotation through Histology.  There were approximately 30
Histology questions on our M.T. Registry exam. (and they were hard too!)  So
I had both practical and didactic exposure to the world of Histology.  I
deeply regret that current M.Ts. are not given this same opportunity.

Near the end of my M.T. career, the lab that I was associated with had 30
M.Ts. (24 hr. shift), 3 H.Ts., and one Cytologist.  Every once in awhile,
due to vacations and sick leave, they would have no one to cover Histology.
I and one other MT were recruited to cover in these times of need.  When the
supervisory Histo Tech retired, they hired a recent HT graduate as a
replacement.  The Supervisory position was offered to all three H.Ts., but
they all turned it down.  None of them wanted to be manager, though the two
older ones were more than qualified.  Long story short, I was offered the
position, and I took it.  (I also had to split my time with the Special
Chemistry Dept., but that's another story).

This is not, as you say, trying to "train a policeman to be a fireman".
Anatomical and Clinical Laboratory Science are compatible in a basic sense.
I do agree that a qualified Histo Tech would be first choice for a
management position in a Histology Lab.  I feel from your message, however,
that this is not the real concern.  I would have to ask... are sure that a
future placement as a Histology manager the true reason you are being asked
to train M.Ts. in histology?  Or is this an assumption?  If it is not, have
you made your interest known to the Administrative Director (Head
Pathologist?), that you would be qualified for a management position and
that you wish to be considered?  Is this an issue of having a 4-year college
degree?  Do you have a degree?  Is it required for a management position at
your hospital?  If it is not, you (or one of you H.T. colleges) should make
it know that you are the better person for the job.  You could turn out
looking like a hero because you saved that lab all that money in training a
M.T. when there is a H.T. already trained who can do the job.  Go for it!!

~ Ford

Ford M. Royer, B.Sc., MT(ASCP)
Sales Manager, Histology Product Division
Minnesota Medical Specialists, Inc.
7177 Madison Ave. W.
Golden Valley, MN 55427-3601
763-542-8725  phone
888-790-9686  toll free
763-546-4830  fax

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Poteete,
Jacquie A.
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 2:05 PM
To: 'Orr, Rebecca';
Cc: Delk, Linda
Subject: RE: [Histonet] Training Med Techs

Well, I guess I'll stick my neck out, since I haven't seen many replies.
I'm an MT(ASCP)QIHC working as IHC Lead Technologist.  When I interviewed
for this position, there were evidently no acceptable candidates from
Histology.  I believe that I got the job because I'm an older tech who went
to Medical Technology School right after Columbus discovered America, and we
were required to complete a Histology rotation back then.  It's a shame it
isn't still required.  I certainly don't believe I'm any better qualified
than a Histologist, but I was in the right place at the right time.
Actually, I will always be grateful to Patti Loykasek who moved to
Phenopath, for providing the opening for the position, and for having the
skill to train me in the bare basics of the job in 5 days.  It makes no
sense to me why a qualifed histotech would be passed over in favor of a
medical technologist, because both are perfectly capable of learning
management, organizational, or technical skills.  A degree does not
necessarily make anyone a good medical technologist (even though it is
required) or a good histologist, but many institutions want those initials
behind your name.

Jacquie Poteete MT(ASCP)QIHC
Lead Technologist, IHC Laboratory
Saint Francis Hospital, Tulsa, Oklahoma

-----Original Message-----
From: Orr, Rebecca [] 
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 9:04 AM
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


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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