For a long time histologists have gotten the short end of the stick. I
believe that the current situation is a symptom of the problem and is due
to a history of underpayment.
We cannot solve the problem by artificial means. This country is based on
the free market system. We must work with the system not against it, but
first we must clearly understand the problem: Not enough techs, increasing
barriers to entry into the profession, lack of visibility, no central
planning to fix or even research the problem.
We need to work to bring up the wages of HTs all across the country. If we
do this, we will bring Histology to the attention of people in education
at the moment.
We can only get out of it by concentrating on increasing the number of
facilities that are prepared to take on new graduates and spend the time
to get their practical skills up to speed.
I think you are doing a valuable job bringing this situation back to the
surface. We need to keep the momentum up and not let it die on the vine of
this valuable forum as a forgotten conversation. So, I ask my peers: What
can we do to address this situation in an organized, effective manner? Who
in our profession is responsible for being our cheerleader?
Finally, Pam, I want to say for myself that I encourage all conversation.
I will never be offended by a question, and I will always try to answer
questions in a way that remembers there is a person behind it. No flame
retardant needed here.
I make my money from placing people on a temporary and permanent basis.
I am also a Histologist first and foremost and believe that patient safety
is number one and understaffed laboratories experience more mistakes.
Keep up the good work, Pam.
All my best,
Anthony Williams BSc. HT
Histotech Exchange LLC
19 Whitmore St.
Lexington, VA 24450
T 1 (302) 383 9780
F 1 (540) 463 3583
> I know this is a problem that has plagued facilities for years and I too
> have noticed a change in the past 2 years. Yes, the histology programs
> nationwide produce a great albeit small group of talented people every
> year but the pool of available histo techs for permanent positions has
> shrunk even more in recent years. At the risk of being "flamed" by
> travel companies I have to say that you are losing alot of techs to
> travel positions. In the past 2 years of all of the histo techs I have
> had contact with over half only want to work in permanent positions the
> rest either want to continue as travelers or become travelers. Think
> about it... they get a higher rate of pay, benefits and living expenses
> paid for. For these people it is a "better deal" than committing to one
> facility. As a matter of fact it is a "better deal" than a temp/travel
> position in any other field outside of healthcare. Facilities who take
> the "quick solution" of hiring travel techs are contributing to the
> shortage. May I offer some solutions? Some creative hiring strategies?
> Here are some ideas I would like to share:
> 1. If you are using travel techs do it with a temp to perm clause - but
> be firm. If a tech works for you as a temp make sure they are at least
> considering converting to a permanent employee at the end of the
> contract. If not don't extend, have your travel company send someone
> else who would consider converting to a permanent position. And make
> questions about their intentions part of your interview process the same
> as you would if you were interviewing a candidate from out of state for
> a permanent position.
> 2. Human Resources - Many of your allied health recruiters don't seem to
> realize that histo techs don't grow on trees. So many times I see
> facilities lose great techs because the hiring process has dragged out
> and the candidate ends up taking a position with a facility that can
> move faster. Stay on top of your hr people especially once you know
> they have a histology candidate.
> 3. How about techs from Canada? There are alot of talented techs in
> Canada that are interested in moving to the states and the process is
> relatively easy due to NAFTA and the F1 visa.
> 4. How about techs that need sponsorship on an H-1 visa? I know alot of
> companies shy away from this alternative because of the length of time
> it can take to process a visa application but I think that if you take a
> look at the time it takes to find a tech at all against the time it
> would take to process an H-1 visa it is quickly becoming 6 of one vs.
> half dozen of another. I mean what difference does it make if it takes
> up to 8 weeks to process an H-1 visa vs. 2-3 months to identify a
> histology candidate?
> Your best bet is to get with your Human Resources department and
> strategize, educate them on the challenges and shortages you are facing.
> Discuss some of these options or others you might come up with.
> I hope this helps!!
> Thank You!
> Pam Barker
> Specialists in Allied Healthcare Recruiting
> 5703 Red Bug Lake Road #330
> Winter Springs, FL 32708-4969
> Phone: (407)657-2027
> Cell: (407)353-5070
> FAX: (407)678-2788
> E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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