RE: [Histonet] Histonet Vacancies

From:"Morken, Tim"




 Patty, Thanks for the link to the new program. And the histology "DSI"
game on the site is brilliant!!


Tim Morken


-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces@lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces@lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Patti
Loykasek
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 7:41 AM
To: Dan Dan; Histonet@lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: Re: [Histonet] Histonet Vacancies

Well said, Dan. I do have one small caveat, there is a new school in the
Northwest, Tacoma WA area. It is at Clover Park Technical College. Check
it out at www.cptc.edu. The area histotechs have been quite supportive,
and I think the program is off to a great start.


Patti Loykasek BS, HTL, QIHC
PhenoPath Laboratories
Seattle, WA




> I'll add my two-cents worth. It's hard to believe that after 25 years 
> in this business that the histotech "shortage" situation is pretty 
> much the same as it was long ago. There have certainly been 
> improvements in education and training of people in histology, but for

> the most part (99%??) people just fall into histology rather than pick

> it at some point in school. In fact, it is a very rare day when I meet

> someone who went to school for histotechnology, At this date there is 
> still only one school on the west coast, and it is not the same school
that existed for a while in Seattle!
> The new one is in southern california. I looked into starting a 
> histotechnology course here in the SF Bay Area, but it takes a long 
> while with lots of justification and scrounging for equipment and if I

> wanted to do it full time the pay would be half as much as I make now.

> I could do it part time but then I'd be working 60-70 hours a week 
> rather than 50 I do now. For the time being I give presentations to 
> the local junior colleges. I may expand that to high schools. I know 
> they are interested in getting speakers, but finding the time...
> 
> I work in the biotech field as an IHC lab manger. We don't require 
> HT/HTL/QIHC (though would love to have them!)but it is still very 
> difficult to get experienced histotechs and nearly impossible to get 
> experienced IHC techs around here. Most of the people I interview are 
> from the research field who may have done some IHC at some point. And 
> the ones who have good IHC experience are making very high salaries 
> that our company gags at matching. It is not possible to recruit out 
> of the Bay Area because the cost of housing is so high that no one 
> that is not already living here can afford to move here. Even getting 
> someone from southern cal is difficult - justifiying relocation 
> expenses is difficult. It is kind of a joke that the experienced IHC 
> techs know each other and spend their careers trading places at the 
> varioius companies. Anthony is quite right that it takes a lot of
effort to educate HR and upper management about the need for higher pay.
> They really have a hard time justifying the same pay for a 
> technologist that a new PhD will also make.
> 
> On top of that we have loads of (legal) immigrants from Asia here and 
> they are quite willing to work for lower pay to get a start. It is 
> very common to have PhD level people, and even immigrant MD's (who 
> can't get board certified here, mainly due to lanquage difficulties)
working as lab techs.
> Who is going to hire a AA/BS histotech when they can get a PhD who is 
> happy to do the work and able to contribute to R&D at a higher level 
> than most techs?
> 
> There is a huge disparity between what hospitals and private 
> diagnostic labs pay. The local Kaiser labs and Univeristy hospital 
> labs pay in the $35 per hour range for basic histology. Senior IHC 
> techs are in the $45 range. Those places have unions which is why the 
> pay is so high. On the other hand, private labs will pay 
> experieinced,certified people almost that much, but new, inexperienced

> people may be paid $15-20/hr and the lab is not willing to help them 
> get to their HT/HTL because they don't want to pay them more, and 
> could lose them to the hospitals once trained. This is not speculation

> but things I have had told to me first hand from techs who work in
these places.
> 
> It is a little harder now for histotechs to be trained on the job due 
> to the AA requirement. Most OJT people I have met were working in the 
> hospital at some other job - lab assisant, dishwasher, etc before 
> getting (accidently) into histology. A person working on an AA is 
> probably not working in those jobs and probably does not even know a
histology lab exists.
> 
> Obviously the need is to get exposure for histotechnology. The NSH 
> makes brochures and videos available and does a career day for high 
> schools students at the national meeting every year (I've helped at 
> those). This is a good foundation. But it will really take every state

> society and every interested histotech to do SOMETHING to promote the 
> field. Science teachers at high schools are very interested in having 
> working people come in to talk about a field. If someone in every city

> could do that it would go a long way towards promoting the field. 
> Maybe the key is to have NSH come up with a standardised presentation 
> that anyone can give along with some props to make it a tactile
experience.
> 
> But, after the promotion you have to realize that it takes a huge 
> amount of initiative on the students part to follow through. They have

> to start work on, or finish, an AA /BS degree, make contact with a lab

> that is interested in training people, get the position, do on-the-job

> (maybe at the same time as school) and THEN work on learning the 
> matieral for an HT/HTL pretty much alone. Their facing a 3 to 4 year 
> process. Longer if they get a bachelors degree. Key is finding labs to
training that value HT/HTL certification.
> Starting HT/HTL study groups would be a good way to get people
motivated.
> This is the kind of thing a state society can do. Individuals can to 
> it as well, but it helps to have a group for motivation.
> 
> Of course, that is why it has not happened - it depends too much on a 
> few super-motivated individuals. The schools don't hear of a demand 
> and so do not have programs. No programs means students never hear 
> about it. Since students don't hear about it they can't even consider
it. A vicious circle.
> 
> Imagine if the schools had students asking about courses leading to 
> histotech certification or at least a chance at a job that leads to 
> certification. That gets the schools attention. Junior colleges 
> especially are very interested in providing trained people to the 
> local job market. For them jobs = program justification.
> 
> Think about it.
> 
> Dan in Danville (a pseudonom to allow free speech)
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Dear Pam:
> 
> 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
> 
> anthony@histotechexchange.com
> 
>> 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
> 
>> President
> 
>> RELIA
> 
>> 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: relia1@earthlink.net
> 
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