Re: [Fwd: Routes to becoming a histotech]

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From:Lynn Gardner <>
To:"Barry Rittman" <>,
Date:Tue, 04 May 1999 15:34:13 -0400
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Dear Barry,

Hey, I hear and understand and agree with most of what you are saying. My
biggest concern is that if we are going to require the Associates Degree
then let us make sure that the programs out there are providing not only
the proper book knowledge but also enough "hands on training" to prove that
they can apply that knowledge and produce the quality that all of us can be
proud of. It is also absolutely necessary to give these students the
realistic expectations of a working laboratory for example: you must be
able to produce X number of slides within X number of minutes without
artifacts; or you must product an AFB, GMS, etc. stain within a certain
time frame that is accurate and artifact free. They must be able to do this
coming out of school as it takes too long to train someone to do these
basic things! 

Anyone, with training and given the time the ASCP allows can produce
perfect or near perfect slides for the ASCP test. However, can that same
person produce that same quality consistently and within the time frame of
a "true" laboratory? If we are going to go that route lets make sure they

To many of them that I have had experience with in the past can't produce
acceptable slides consistently until they have been in a "working" lab for
about 6 months to a year. I don't know about you but this really slowed us
down and created a lot of stress for everyone. In one case we found that
the person could not learn at all and had to fire them, they had a great
personality and wonderful book knowledge but couldn't apply it to the "real

If we are TRULY dedicated to improving the field lets make sure that the
Associate Degreed programs provide the student with ample knowledge, enough
skills and troubleshooting techniques so that the student can with
confidence and precision provide the clinics, laboratories and hospitals
with quality histologic techniques.

Thanks for listening!
Lynn Gardner, HT(ASCP) 

At 02:26 PM 5/4/99 -0500, you wrote:
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>Date: Tue, 04 May 1999 11:59:28 -0500
>From: Barry Rittman <>
>Organization: University of Texas HSC-Dental Branch
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>Subject: Re: Routes to becoming a histotech
>References: <>
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>            hi,
>All you say is true, however, equally important to recruitment is the

>of histotechs.  Nowadays, many of the potential candidates for laboratory
>are asking what are the job prospects? While I believe the majority of us
>that the job is a vocation, new employee soon becomes  painfully aware of the
>layoffs (believe the politically correct term used is reduction in force) and
>other disincentives to stay. We can point out the public service that
>perform and lives that may be saved by personal pride in the work but in
the end
>it may be that a minimal amount of money to take home is often the deciding
>factor.   Having said all this, I still believe that the rewards far
outweigh the
>downsides, however, even to just retain the benefits we now have we must
>publicize our profession and push for improved standards. This does not
>from your experience, that is something that none can take away and I suspect
>that in Iowa you have received excellent experience.
>If the profession looks to outside groups to improve our lot then we all
need to
>be wearing boots because it will not happen.
>Recruitment from high school is an attractive resource as the students are
>usually smart and enthusiastic. The down side is that they often will have
>experience of working conditions and maybe not much idea of careers except
>to which they have been exposed.  They may also be willing to start work
for less
>money. After an associates degree they will probably be better informed.  If
>logic prevails, then new employees entering with an Associates degree should
>receive a higher starting salary than those currently entering directly
from high
>As for your fear that the attitude will occur that "even monkeys will be
able to
>perform the work", I'm afraid that in some of the more ignorant people we
>across this is already the perception. Change their attitude, set them
down at
>the microtome. This is often a very humbling experience for them and I
have seen
>attitudes change dramatically and rapidly.
>Freida Carson gave a very appropriate talk at the TSH meeting in Galveston
>month in addressing career ladders in histotechnology and hope she can
>this sometime during this discussion.
>I apologize for removing some of your text but wanted to stopemails
filling up.
>Talk to you later
>Lynn Gardner wrote:
>> Dear All,
>> I have been following the discussion on the Associates Degree and have
>> mixed emotions about the whole issue and some questions. First the

>> 1. Will the high school route that you had to have X number of science and
>> math credits prior to entering a one year CAHEA accredited school still be
>> allowed?
>> 2. Will Histologic Technicians that do not have their AS degree but do have
>> their HT (ASCP) have to do anything special to maintain their
>> Now for the emotions:

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