Re: under appreciated histotechs

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From:Don Hammer <> (by way of histonet)
Date:Mon, 31 Jan 2000 22:47:10 -0500
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Hi Patsy,

Missed you all at the NSH meeting and have heard great things about it!
Retirement is fantastic and I continue to enjoy all the Histonet mail.

A recent thread on OJT vs. Higher Ed. causes me to write.  I know I'm
"preaching to the choir" because I would bet most subscribers to the
Histonet are also NSH members.

This discussion began back when we formed NSH in 1973 and the discussion
continues with the exact comments made 26 years ago. :(  Perhaps one of the
main reason there has been so little change is that the membership has
about the same numbers now as back in the formative years, some 3900.

This is too small a number to lobby for the educational requirement changes,
altho amazingly, several have been accomplished.  i.e.; Histotechnologist
Certification, phasing out OJT route to HT Certification, ect.

NSH has been a powerful source for change in the profession, but with a mere
3900 members, can only do so much.  Change needs the support of all those in
the profession along with their dues to pay for costs of doing business.

Several of us have been successful in developing Position Descriptions with
our Institutional Personnel Departments that require Certification and/or
higher education for employment.  This could be done nationwide with all
healthcare institutions by NSH but needs the member numbers and dues
to support the effort.

There seems to be a feeling that all must agree that this is the way to go,
but consensus of a big population will be impossible.  Many fear they will
be "cut out of the profession" many feel because they did the OJT route,
that eliminating it somehow lessens their value.  Not the case at all, but
hard to convince people.  The upcoming phase out of the OJT route to
obtaining HT Certification is already in place and will not affect people
already in the profession.  This leads automatically to a higher education
requirement, altho just at the Associate Degree level.  (took 25 years to
get this in place altho it went on for much longer)

The requirement by institutions to employ only Certified people, as they
hire new staff, could be accomplished without affecting people already
employed.  We all move for instance... a self taught OJT HT/HTL
has moved on......we all retire if the fumes or stress doesn't get us
first..  *Grin*
It's the future of the profession that the present professionals need to
carve out.
Change in requirements do not usually affect those people all ready in

As unpopular as it may seem to some, NSH, as the only body representing
Histology Professionals, needs to take a stand, make a decision for the
future and move towards required certification.  It seems NSH has done that
with the success of eliminating the OJT route to certification. To move
further needs the support (financially) of members.  Could it be that
persons in the profession realize this and is one the reasons not to become
a member?  3900 x $40.00 = $156.00 (approx. figures)  Small amount to run an
organization such as NSH.  Of course there is other income but other
expenses as well.  NSH needs the member dues to undertake such a course of

Don Hammer HT/HTL (ASCP)
(Retired Person) *Huge Smile*

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 5:43 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
> 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
> 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

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