Re: [Histonet] Dumbing down the practical???


I took my HTL exam in 1980, and have helped a lot of HT and HTL students
since then take (and most) pass their exams.

1. In all those years, there has never been a time that both the H&E and a
special stain has been requested on the same tissue. That would be double
penalizing someone if they had a bad tissue.

2. There are 25 possible tissues that are listed on the complete HT
practical list, with 48 stains on those tissues (some H&E, some specials).

Bone is listed, as is spinal cord. (The HTL have bone, cerebellum and
medulla. They also have 28 possible tissues with 61 possible stains.)

The Histology Exam Committee randomly picks tissues from the lists, trying
for varying degrees of difficulty of sectioning and staining. On this year's
HT list of 9 tissues/stains, you are correct, there are no bone or CNS for
the HT. There is uterus (which can be difficult to section due to density)
and there is tonsil to be cut at 2-3 um, which is also difficult.  At least
these are the ones that my students had to struggle with this year. Also
artery, until they got one without calcified plaque. (This year's HTL has
bone and cervix which are dense, and kidney which had to be cut at 3 um.)

As for staining, Retic can be tricky, as can carbol fuchsin. My students had
to repeat these several times.  PASH and Alcian blue were easier. H&E often
revealed 2 shades of eosin, not 3 because they didn't pH it correctly. (My
HTL students had problems with the PTAH stain on the muscle, the Giemsa on
the bone, and the PAMS on the kidney. VVG on artery, Mucicarmine on small
intestine and Pan-cytokeratin on cervix seemed to be easier for them.)

As for automation, I'm sure this is playing an impact on the staining.
Hopefully, someone on the Histology Exam Committee can address this one.

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
Program Director
Schools of Histotechnology
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2004 4:51 PM
Subject: [Histonet] Dumbing down the practical???

> I have a question for all those on the list who have taken the HT
>   Why do you think that the practical exam does not cover the material
> it used to?  Having taken mine in 1981, and then, later as a supervisor,
> having trained 8 OJT's to sucessful completion of their certification, I
> have observed that the practical is not near the test that it used to be.
> There is no CNS tissue, no decalcified tissue, no submission of both a
> special stain and a H&E from the same block. Just one slide, one block,
> stain.  Also how is the effect of fully automated special stainers vs
> prepared kits vs "homemade" solutions being taken into account?  There
> even an informational question pertaining to this so that the ASCP could
> begin to see the impact of the technology in our HT learning process?
> the technician that can successfully load an autostainer be as effective
> troubleshooting a stain as one who has learned every step by hand? Will it
> even be necessary in the future of Histology?  Just curious to hear some
> opinions - Terri
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