Re: Histotech Education

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From:Barry Rittman <> (by way of histonet)
Date:Mon, 31 Jan 2000 22:47:10 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

            I agree one hundred percent with your comments. I feel that when
histology was removed  from the med lab tech programs that everyone lost.

Tim Morken wrote:

> Barry Rittman wrote:
> "My perception is that our major problems are really the lack of
> standardized training, the increasing complexity of the field and the lack
> of a broad view of the training necessary."
> This is a result of the fact that the perception of histology by most Med
> Tech training programs is still rooted in cutting sections and staining
> H&E's. Most Med Techs are surprized when they find out what is going on in
> the histology lab these days. They  have had no exposure to it in their
> training and all they know about it in a hospital is that all those smelly
> formalin container go to histology. All lab managers are med techs, so is it
> surprising at all that Histology is still thought of as a backwater? That's
> why I feel that histologists will either have to make a lot of noise to get
> the recognition they deserve or surrender their samples to med techs,
> especially the molecular biologly labs.
> I feel that if Med Tech programs would re-institute histology in their
> programs that the "histologist shortage" would disapper overnight. I have
> talked to many Med Techs who are disappointed to find that all they do is
> push buttons on machines all day.
> Tim Morken, B.A., EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
> Infectious Disease Pathology
> Centers for Disease Control
> MS-G32
> 1600 Clifton Rd.
> Atlanta, GA 30333
> email:
> Phone: (404) 639-3964
> FAX:  (404)639-3043
> ----Original Message Follows----
> From: Barry Rittman <>
> To: histology <>
> Subject: Re: Histotech Education
> Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 14:13:38 -0500
> The discussions regarding histiotech training all revolve around adequate
> training. While many laboratories provide excellent on the job training
> others
> may  do a mediocre to poor job.
> I worked in a laboratory where on the on the job training was excellent
> because
> the chief technician was highly skilled and  cared deeply about his
> employees
> (and we were not in a rush mos of the time). We had a half day of formal
> training in the laboratory each week where we were trained in advanced
> techniques. Additionally, we were required to attend classes outside of work
> for
> additional histootech training (and to maintain good grades). These outside
> classes were valuable because they provided a different approach to the work
> and
> also allowed interaction with individuals from other laboratories. Not many
> laboratories can  afford to have this luxury.
> In the States we have the situation where for many laboratories there is
> always
> pressure for producing sections in as short a time as possible and often
> little
> or no time left for an individual to receive additional training. There are
> some
> avenues for training such as the courses mentioned earlier and also
> workshops at
> local, state and national meetings. Many of these are excellent and many
> laboratories will pay for their histotechs to attend these courses and
> meetings.
> My perception is that our major problems are really the lack of standardized
> training, the increasing complexity of the field and the lack of a broad
> view of
> the training necessary. We now have specialists in histotechnology,
> cytology,
> electron microscopy, immunochemistry and so on. While it is desirable to be
> as
> skilled as possible at the work on hand it is prudent to also have a good
> concept of related fields. With a heavy work load however, the natural
> tendency
> is to concentrate narrowly on the actual procedures that need to be done.
> This
> may result in an individuals who are highly skilled in a specific area but
> have
> to struggle each time a new procedure arrives on the scene . It has also
> resulted in a robotic approach for many procedures in  laboratories.  This
> approach may  save time and sometimes expense but may add nothing to the
> training of the histotech.
> Another factor is the histotechs attitude. The individual must be willing to
> avail themselves of any opportunities that the job may offer in the way of
> additional training. Unfortunately not all histotechs are willing to do this
> or
> to spend some of their own time in learning new techniques. It is easy to
> criticize this attitude but many individuals have come to realize that there
> is
> a life outside of work and especially with a familty and a double income
> required, total dedication to work may be unrealistic.
> I believe that salaries should and increase for histotechs. I believe that
> the
> only approach is the education of the customers (including the general
> public
> and the pathologists) of the advantages of a highly skilled technician who
> can
> produce a quality product. Currently, many do not realize that continual
> training, a highly motivated and respected technician and a clear career
> path is
> just good business.
> One final comment, look at the beauty of the sections that you are
> producing.
> The complexity of the tissues and the vibrant colors in many of the
> procedures
> is still a wonder to me.
> This reminds me of when I was in Iowa. The state decided that because of the
> large number of sunflowers growing wild, they would declare it a noxious
> weed.
> Unfortunately the sunflower is a state flower (think it is Missouri?). That
> state then declared the eastern goldfinch (the state bird of Iowa) a noxious
> pest.
> Ignorance can be a killer.
> Barry
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