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

From:"Lee & Peggy Wenk"

Another way to "build it" is to build more histotech programs in the US. In
the early 1980's (pre-DRG), there were 50 accredited HT/HTL programs. As of
today, there are 24.

If anyone is interested, I'm presenting a workshop on how to create an
accredited HT/HTL program at the NSH Symposium in Phoenix, AZ on Sunday
September 10, from 1-4:30 pm, workshop #28. I'll talk about working with
community colleges and other hospitals/labs, to ease the burden of one
hospital doing it all.

The tentative schedule can be found on the NSH webpage.

Final version and registration in April.

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 10:32 AM
Subject: RE: [Histonet] Training Med Techs - some candid comments

Relax Mike. I think you missed the point completely. Becky did not
disrespect the MT community. She is frustrated with the lack of good
Histology techs in her area. Before histology schools, the only way to get
into histology was to be a lab worker (med tech) and stumble into it. That
practice is not recommended/preferred anymore. It is not because med techs
are not capable to learn, but because histology has advanced where
specialized training is needed for the individual. 
	To Becky, I would say "build it and they will come". First realize
that the shortage is not just in your area. You have to go above and beyond
to recruit people to your area/facility. Try to work with your HR department
(I know good luck) and compare the benefits, wages, and bonuses to other
facilities in your area. After you have tried that compare your facility to
the rest of the US. It may help if you can toss in a space heater too.
Chicago is way cold. :)

Douglas D. Deltour HT(ASCP)

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Mike Kirby
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 8:57 AM
To: Histonet (E-mail)
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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