Re: tissue for HT/HTL exams (PROCESSING GI)

From:Lee & Peggy Wenk <>

Thanks for your concern, but rest assured, we do get help when
we need it.

The students just started in September, and the HT students
will be taking their HT exam in April, while the HTL students
will be taking their HTL exam in August.

We are starting this early, collecting ALL the possible tissues
that ASCP could possibly ask for on the practical exams. We
obtained the list from the ASCP BOR web page.

then click on HT or HTL, and scroll to the bottom and click on list.

Anyway, I like the students to gross their own tissues for their
registry exam, for many reasons.

It helps them with orientation during embedding, as they can
now understand that a fallopian tube WAS a tube, not a little
round piece that they now see in a cassette, and they now
understand "on end." Or "on edge" for tissues with layers.

It helps them identify tissues microscopically, because they
now know where the endocervix is versus the ectocervix, and
why one has stratified squamous epithelium and one has
columnar epithelium, or where the cortex of the kidney is
compared to the medulla.

They also are able to check the tissue, to see that it
matches all the criteria established by ASCP - no
autolysis, contains all layers, etc.

They understand (really understand) the need for cutting
tissues 2-3 mm thick, since they now see what happens
when THEY don't gross the tissues thin enough. They also
see how difficult it is to gross thin enough, and that it with
tissue that has been fixed for 4 weeks. So they now
appreciate the PA's and residents who gross beautifully
the tissues that have only 30 minutes of fixation.

They make the connection between tissues that are hard
and those that are soft, or large and small, and the times
needed for fixation, and why cervix is harder to microtome
than liver, since it was more difficult to gross due to it
being "denser."

Since we are a 929 bed hospital, and just received
our 50,000 specimen last week (looks like we'll
hit 63,000 easily this year), we have LOTS of tissues
for the students to find their specimens. And since we
start early, the students get lots of experience grossing
their own tissues.

It also helps them (a little) in case they get hired to do some
grossing at a hospital in the future, and the hospital/lab is
willing to train them. We don't really teach grossing techniques
to the students right now, but we shall have to add this
in the future, as ASCP will be adding grossing questions
to the HT and HTL exams in the future.

When we get the HT and HTL practical lists from ASCP,
and know exactly what tissues are needed, and if we
are having a hard time obtain high quality specimens from
our "treasure hunts" of the tissue to be discarded, then
we ask the PA's and residents for help. And they willingly
provide us with autopsy and surgical tissues, cut to the
correct size. Since the students have spent time trying
to obtain the tissue themselves, they appreciate the
time the PA's and residents spend helping them obtain
the correct tissues.

So rest assured, we do get help when we need it. But I
do appreciate your concern for the students, and your
support for the students. REALLY appreciate.


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

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: Monday, October 16, 2000 9:17 PM
Subject: tissue for HT/HTL exams (PROCESSING GI)

>Peggy Wenk just described the conditions under which her HT/HTL students
>to obtain tissue for their exams, from tissue fragments in the process of
>being discarded after a month's storage.
>Peggy, your pathologists owe them better than that. Who do they think is
>going to make their slides for them in the next generation? It takes little
>time to cut some duplicate blocks from a normal uterus or spleen or what
>you, when they're grossing tissue. (Since the duplicate blocks would be
>for overnight fixation anyhow, they could be immediately reclaimed in the
>very unlikely event they were needed for diagnostic purposes.)
>I've certainly prepared tissue with students who needed it, and I think
>time well spent.
>Bob Richmond
>Samurai Pathologist
>Knoxville TN

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