Re: The future of Histotechs

From:Patsy Ruegg

this situation is sort of a catch 22, some of the training programs are closing
because there is no one who has time to teach, and they don't have time to
teach because they have to do more of the actual work because of staff
shortages.  you are right that training would be a good way to use us retirees,
but once again, when we go back to work it is usually to get the slides out.
doing it all for so long, working, teaching, leading is taking the wind out of
our sails and making us very tired.  we have beat our heads against the wall
for so long trying to get techs to participate in their professional
organizations and we understand why they don't, i don't mean to be negative but
i am having a hard time finding a solution to this problem.  it is a good thing
so many of us love what we do.

"Martin, Ronald" wrote:

> Tim,
> You have some good comments. I have been in the histology field for 13 years
> and would not mind teaching the technical aspect of histology. However as
> you mentioned there are not that many programs available. When I first
> started in this field I was out of college with a few years of lab
> experience. I had to learn the technical aspect of histology on the job and
> apply my academics where ever I could. I also started with a very low salary
> but the experience was worth it in the long run. I know that my former
> college now has a class in histology and a second class that teaches the
> technical aspects of histotechniques (embedding and sectioning etc). This is
> not a histology program but it does introduce the students to different
> science backgrounds. Hopefully when they graduate some of them will take an
> interest  in the  histology profession.
> Ron Martin, B.Sc., HTL (ASCP) HT
> Research Associate
>                 -----Original Message-----
>                 From:   Morken, Tim []
>                 Sent:   Monday, October 21, 2002 12:31 PM
>                 To:     ''
>                 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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