RE: under appreciated histotechs

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>
From:Judy Webb <> (by way of histonet)
Date:Mon, 31 Jan 2000 22:47:26 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Thanks Tim,
Well said!

Judy Webb

>From: Tim Morken <>
>Subject: RE: under appreciated histotechs
>Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 07:48:35 -0400 (EDT)
>Your concerns are real but your take on things is wrong. There is no
>requirement that anyone be certified or even educated to work in a
>Any ol' person off the street will do. It is totally the responsibility of
>the pathologist in charge to take responsibility for the work being done.
>Any requirements are set only by a given hosptial. State that require
>licensing have different requirements.
>The ASCP has certain requirements for certification and until 2005 any high
>school grad can qualify for the HT test with only some experience on the
>So, right now the only thing holding things up is training someone to do
>practical parts of the job. On-the-job training can be good. Practical
>things are easy to learn. It's the theoretical parts that are hard. Your
>person may do great in general lab work. When it comes to understanding
>complex subjects they will most likely struggle with it.
>Anyone who thinks that no science training whatsoever is needed in
>is sadly mistaken. The next ten years will have dramatic changes for
>histology. Those who fail to train are just going to be cutting sections
>the rest of their careers.
>Personally, I think it unfair to a person to insinuate that OJT is all they
>need for histology work. They will eventually come to realise that they
>lost out on a lot of training that they need to advance in a field that has
>no limit to it's possibilities.
>Tim Morken, B.A., EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
>Infectious Disease Pathology
>Centers for Disease Control
>1600 Clifton Rd.
>Atlanta, GA 30333
>Phone: (404) 639-3964
>FAX:  (404)639-3043
>----Original Message Follows----
>From: Doug Showers <>
>Subject: RE: under appreciated histotechs
>Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 14:21:08 -0400
>Many days go by where I feel unappreciated but I don't think certification
>or lack of a degree has much to do with it. No matter what certification or
>degree anyone holds in healthcare, I feel the majority of the money will
>always be made by those who hold the MBAs, JDs, and MDs. (Anyone know many
>well appreciated or well compensated PHDs?)  In some ways I think doing
>with the "hs route" or the ability for individuals to OJT their way to an
>is akin to shooting yourself in the foot.  I do not want the government or
>any regulatory body to tell me who I can and cannot hire.  It falls on each
>of us as supervisors or managers to hire the most qualified personnel to
>our demands for high quality work.  If the best person for the job is
>unregistered, make it a stipulation that they work towards registry within
>two years (and fully support their efforts to get registered); make sure
>your registered techs are better paid; cull the ones who are not
>contributing to the work.
>	At a time when there is a severe shortage of registered technicians
>available for hire and when training programs are very hard to find, we
>should not be making it harder for people to enter the field.  Instead we
>should be finding ways to "grow" our own technicians.
>	What has worked for me several times is to hire a sharp,
>intelligent, hard
>working individual as a lab aide to help sort, label, and distribute
>when they have learned our system then we teach them how to coverslip,
>maintain the slide stainers and then the processors.  Teach them to handle
>basic phone requests to track down work.  If they last that long, then we
>bring them in on an off day (Saturday) and teach them embedding.  The next
>step would be letting them practice cutting on extra tissue blocks the
>room prepares for us.  By the time they get to the embedding step, we know
>if we want to take them further and they know if they want to go on. We
>furnish them with Frieda Carson's book and make available any other
>educational materials they need.  Next we let them work in the special
>room with an HT during the slow part of the day to teach them how to do
>special stains, starting with the simplest.  If they take to that, we
>progress them to the complex and then assign them their own cutting
>certify their work, encourage them to seek their HT, and look for another
>lab aide.
>	I am truly afraid that by requiring degrees and certification prior to
>hiring we would be cutting ourselves off from intelligent, ambitious
>individuals who might come to love our craft as well as we do.
>	I'm sorry; I didn't mean to turn this into a thesis, but I'm very
>passionate about my art and don't want anyone to take us down a road it
>would be very hard to return from.  Let's here about state licensure from
>our friends in Florida.
>Douglas Showers, MS, HT (ASCP)
>-----Original Message-----
>From: []
>Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 1:43 PM
>Subject: under appreciated histotechs
>some more thoughts...
>we are under appreciated, but it is very difficult to lobby for a group
>so many without certification and so many without higher education
>it is also difficult to lobby for required certification when we don't have
>the bodies to meet the demand
>the lack of certified techs forces employers to take what they can get
>(OJT), and it also makes the employers have a negative atitude towards
>required certification as they are afraid they will not be able to find
>anyone to do the work
>i know it is slow, but the best we can do, is what we have done by asking
>ascp to change the requirments for certification, illiminating the hs route
>i was very encouraged at the first timers breakfast in providence when i
>found that all the young people at my table starting their ht careers had
>degrees, now i just hope we can keep them in this profession and not lose
>them to more desirable areas
>patsy ruegg
>Get Your Private, Free Email at

Judy Webb
John Peter Smith Hospital
Ft. Worth Texas
817-927-1024 (work)    (home)

Get Your Private, Free Email at

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>