RE: The future of Histotechs

From:"Hoye, Glenda F. (Fka Hood)"

Hello, All.
It's interesting that I am reading this string of conversation. In a grad course I'm taking, I just researched for a paper and presentation the topic of the aging of healthcare workers. I concentrated on medical lab, radiography and nursing -of course my main interest is histo, but I had to choose a broader topic than my own field!

What is very interesting, and frightening at the same time, is that we baby boomers are all getting older - not just in the lab but in the general population and in other healthcare fields. By 2010, it is estimated that there will be as many people over the age of 65 as those aged 20 and younger! The average age of MT's right now (and I think we HT's fit that range too) is 47, for nurses it's 45, and for x-ray techs it's also 47. And, most schools for all of us have declined in the past few years -- because of multiple causes, but of major concern is lack of applicants!

We, as a nation (or world, as Canada and UK are reporting similar age and shortage issues) will need more health care as we age, we have fewer workers to provide it, and technology is a double-edge sword in that it helps the limited workforce be more productive but it's also responsible for increased technology-based testing and treatment that requires more people! 

One of the papers I found in my research mentioned that 'crisis precedes consciousness'. Well, I think we are all agree that we have a crisis - now on to the consciousness!! 

Yes, WE are responsible, just as much as organizations, hospitals, legislators, etc. are, to DO SOMETHING constructive about the problem. Some of us might work longer to help alleviate the shortages (but be careful and don't squelch the younger people in their upward mobility on jobs!) and some of us take over some training (I loved those ideas expressed by several histonetters in the past couple of days!) and some, if not all, of us need to be out there espousing the wonderful things about histology to the general public.

I'm not really sure that most people in the general public have any idea that the crisis is upon us in many of the healthcare fields. So, education is important. But so is turning around the societal/cultural attitudes that have become prevalent that tell young people that working in healthcare is not valued. Awareness is as important as crisis in raising consciousnesses.

I am the program director of a distance education training program, as most of you are aware. Each year we get more and more interested people and students, because there's not enough time in labs to dedicate to doing the training correctly and well. Our main goal is to get the work out, right?

The 2005 deadline for the elimination of the high school OJT route to the ASCP exam is causing many people to panic, and we need to help as many as possible meet that deadline before they become 'ineligble' for the exam. After 2005, OJT can still be done, but the trainee must have an associate degree. So, labs need to start now hiring people with associate degrees (or well on their way to completion) for training in the lab. Contact NSH for scheduling a Readiness Workshop for your area techs/trainees if you need that sort of assistance.

Enough -- I feel like I'm writing the research paper all over again. Just thought I'd add my thoughts to a very timely and interesting topic! 

HISTOTECHS, UNITE!! Go forth and educate!! ;-)  (how's that for a battle cry?!)

Glenda F. Hoye, B.S., HT(ASCP)
Histotechnology Program Director
Dept of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Indiana University School of Medicine
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5119

-----Original Message-----
From: PMarcum []
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2002 11:17 AM
To: JOE NOCITO; Morken, Tim;
Subject: RE: The future of Histotechs

It would be hard to saturate a market that is in the grips of the shortage
we have.  We (meaning us older histotechs) need to get out and talk to more
of the high school career day students and community colleges as well as
push for better training and more schools.  Unfortunately we have a problem
most are too busy to it.
We keep waiting for NSH or ASCP to help and they are limited also.  I run
into people all of the time who have no idea what Histology is, so how would
they even know where to look to find out about a career.
We need to get loud!!!  Doesn't anybody remember how to organize a protest
anymore?  We need to reverse it and find a way to get attention for a career
and rewards in Histology.  If we start to get better people and train them
(along with how to ask for more money) we will get what we want.  Pam Marcum
(Neil and Patsy had some very good points.)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: JOE NOCITO []
> Sent: Monday, October 21, 2002 7:31 PM
> To: Morken, Tim;
> Subject: Re: The future of Histotechs
> I know some cities in Texas are setting up histology programs at the
> community college level.  Here in San Antonio, our third class just
> graduated in August and we just started another class of 10 students.
>     When we started the program here in San Antonio, the question
> that came
> to mind first was "are we going to saturate the market?"  Well, up to this
> point, no. After three classes, there are still shortages in San
> Antonio and
> I know a lot more in Houston, Dallas and El Paso.
> Joe Nocito, BS, HT (ASCP) QIHC
> Histology Manager
> Pathology Reference Lab
> San Antonio, Texas
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Morken, Tim" 
> To: 
> Sent: Monday, October 21, 2002 11:30 AM
> Subject: RE: The future of Histotechs
> > The school issue is kind of moot since there are so few histo schools
> around
> > (I think 24 in all the US at last count). In meeting hundreds of
> histotechs
> > over the years, only a handfull went through a histo program. The vast
> > majority are on-the-job trained. Granting that the ideal tech is
> > specifically trained, I feel the real issue is that people are
> unaware the
> > field even exists. That is a failing of pathologists and lab
> managers, in
> my
> > opinion, who have ignored their duty to get people interested in the
> field.
> > Are histotechs really supposed to feel a responsibility to go out and
> > recruit their replacement, even in light of any feeling loyalty they may
> > feel to the profession?
> >
> > BTW, the Atlanta Journal Constitution has a sunday feature called Why I
> Love
> > My Job. Beside the main story they put a side panel Called "hot
> jobs". Two
> > weeks ago they highlighted histotechnology, and did a good job of it.
> >
> > some are taking the bull by the horns and opening new schools.
> There is a
> > new one at Dalton College in Albany Georgia, and a new one
> opened a couple
> > years ago in Califorina (mt san antonio college).
> unfortunately, one also
> > closed in seattle, leaving the entire west coast with only one histo
> school
> > - still.
> >
> > Hmmm, maybe THAT is the new career path!
> >
> > Tim Morken
> > Atlanta
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Bartlett, Jeanine
> > Sent: Monday, October 21, 2002 11:56 AM
> > To: 'Dawson, Glen'; Morken, Tim;
> > Subject: RE: The future of Histotechs
> >
> >
> > Another issue is that the graduates that do come into the field
> usually do
> > not then attend a school of histotechnology.  So you have educated
> > individuals being "trained on the job".  And we all know that
> learning as
> > you go is not the same as a structured 12-24 month program with the
> > concentration that you receive in an accredited program.  But how many
> > college graduates want to take on the additional training at the salary
> that
> > is usually offered?  So we have that "anybody walking in can be
> trained to
> > do this job" mentality.  I know of individuals that have walked
> into a lab
> > with a degree but no histology laboratory experience at all and
> are hired
> at
> > a higher salary than those without the degree but with formal histology
> > training.  That does not help the perception of our chosen field.
> >
> > Jeanine Bartlett, HT(ASCP)
> > Centers for Disease Control
> > Infectious Disease Pathology Activity
> > 1600 Clifton Rd., N.E.  MS-G32
> > Atlanta, GA  30333
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Dawson, Glen []
> > Sent: Monday, October 21, 2002 11:30 AM
> > To: Morken, Tim;
> > Subject: RE: The future of Histotechs
> >
> >
> > I hope you are right Tim.  There is a huge resource that histology could
> tap
> > into; college graduates with a bachelor's degree in Biology since many
> > finish school and cannot find a job that they are qualified for.  The
> > problem is that it is difficult approaching these graduates with a
> > histotech's salary without apologizing for the low figure.  These folks
> > would be great additions to the histology lab but, as of now,
> the rewards
> of
> > histology aren't good enough to entice them in.
> > I fear that the field is so low on the perceived "importance totem pole"
> > that the crisis will be MAJOR before lab management truly addresses the
> > problem.  I have an interesting take on the histology situation from one
> >, a lab manager who's views on the field were so low, I
> > can't post them to this listserver for fear he may never receive a
> Christmas
> > card from any of us again.  Until the perception of histology
> as a second
> > rate lab service is shaken, I fear that changes will be too
> slow to avert
> a
> > crisis.
> >
> > Glen Dawson.
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Morken, Tim []
> > Sent: Monday, October 21, 2002 9:50 AM
> > To:
> > Subject: RE: The future of Histotechs
> >
> >
> > Although I'm sure a lot of histotechs will retire in the next
> 10-15 years,
> I
> > don't believe it will be in the 50 - 70 percent range. One
> reason is that
> as
> > the shortage becomes worse, the pay goes up and labs will
> accomadate older
> > techs with incentives to keep them working longer - even as part timers.
> > I've already seen ads for partimers with full benefits. And per
> diem work
> > may beome common place. So, more realistically it may be more in the 30
> > percent range, which is still bad!
> >
> > One bit of practical experience with this, from another field. My mother
> is
> > a retired teacher who has been working about 75 percent of the
> time since
> > she retired. The benefit to her is she gets to pick her assignment, is
> given
> > full benefits and doesn't worry about all the extra stuff
> teachers have to
> > do these days. i thing something similar will happen with histotechs.
> >
> > Tim Morken
> > Atlanta
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: kevin williams []
> > Sent: Sunday, October 20, 2002 9:48 AM
> > To:
> > Subject: The future of Histotechs
> >
> >
> >
> > At a one of the meetings at the ASCP in California there was an
> interesting
> > observation. I understand that in the next 5- 10 years between 50-70% of
> > histologists are going to retire.
> > Can anyone tell me if there is definative research and where to get my
> hands
> >
> > on it.
> > Thanks in advance
> > A. Kevin Williams
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > _________________________________________________________________
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> >
> >
> >

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