RE: [Histonet] Training Med Techs - some candid comments

From:"Weems, Joyce"

One of the problems with email is not being able to see how the post is being presented. 

Mike, in the US we Histotechs have to travel the road of the red-headed step child, and fight for recognition that techs outside the US have without question. At least you are all lumped into the same pile, as well as I can see - all well educated and trained in all the lab sciences. 

In the US, Histology is now left out of Med Tech training programs. Anatomic Pathology is very foreign to most Med techs  - to give you an example...

Several years ago when setting up the computer programs for AP - with a Med Tech directing - we in AP including the docs, were all trying to make panels for all the stains, and trying to explain that we didn't do panels on everything. We finally realized it was computer language and made it though. The obvious difference came with the Med Tech questioned why the patient had to come in every hour for a cervical biopsy when I made specimen codes for Cervical Biopsy - 1:00 and so forth around the clock. 

I don't think Becky meant anything detrimental - just musing about the differences, and how just because we are red headed step children we can't be look at as managers...

My 2 cents. J

Joyce Weems
Pathology Manager
Saint Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta
404-851-7831 - fax

-----Original Message-----
From: []On Behalf Of Chris Pomajzl
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 9:12 AM
Subject: Re: [Histonet] Training Med Techs - some candid comments

Lighten up Frances!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Kirby" 
To: "Histonet (E-mail)" 
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 7:57 AM
Subject: [Histonet] Training Med Techs - some candid comments

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

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-----
[]  On Behalf Of Orr,
Sent: 17 March 2006 17:04
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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