RE: BOR Registry - Clarification

From:"Barnhart, Tammy" <> (by way of histonet)

I have been reading, with great interest, the conversations about
educational requirements for the HT certification and felt I needed to put
in my two cents worth.

  This may not be very popular, but here goes.  We all know Histology is
changing.  IHC, FISH, flow cyto and new techniques for processing and
staining are happening at breakneck speed.  The old days of processing,
embedding, cutting and staining only are over.  We still need people who do
these things and do them well.  But to trouble shoot and keep current with
even these most fundamental areas, a tech must have at a basic
understanding of the chemistry of processing and staining.  And to be
effective in performing the more complicated areas of Histology, an overall
understanding of biochemistry, cellular biology and physical chemistry is
needed.  I don't believe that just being able to "do" a job is good enough.
You have got to "understand" the job to be a professional.  A MedTech goes
to school for three years to learn the theory behind the tests and then
does one year of perfoming the test.  Theory is important and this is why
MedTechs are professionals whereas a non degreed HT is not.  If Histology
is to ever be considered a true profession than the educational
requirements must be upgraded and I for one wish to thank the NSH for their
work in getting the increased educational requirements added to the BOR
qualifications.  The opportunity to earn a degree is out there for
everyone, it just depends on how bad you want it.

    I have, since beginning my current position, helped OJT train 4
histotechs.  Being in North Dakota, it is impossible to recruit certified
HTs or HTLs.  Two of the four we have trained are Med Techs, the other two
have only a high school diploma.  I can not tell you the difference between
the speed of training and the comprehension of the field between the two
groups.  The Med techs have learned faster and become more proficient in
the more difficult areas.  The high school educated only group are still
just cutting and staining.

 The Hospital and group I work for have very strict guidelines about job
classifications and pay scales.  To be classified as a "professional"
employee, you must have a degree and appropriate
certification/registration, ect.  Period.  No exceptions.  HTs are now
classified as "Technical" employees.  They may not be salaried, therefore,
cannot be in a supervisory position.  HTLs who are grandfathered may not
supervise, they lack the degree. HTLs with degrees (very rare) can
supervise and are considered professionals.  I know this does not seem
fair, but it's the way things are and we won't be changing it soon.
Anyway, I'll quit preaching and apologize to all I have offended.  Be nice.

Tammy Barnhart, BS,HTL(ASCP)
Anatomic Pathology Supervisor
Pathology Consultants/St. Alexius Medical Center
Bismarck, ND
From: Louri Caldwell
Subject: BOR Registry - Clarification
Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 9:07AM

To clarify my opinion as stated in the previous e-mail, I am against the
requirement of an AA for an HT - and I was trained by a graduate of a
technical school (not a histology program or an Associates Degree
Program)who had extensive on-the job training.  She also is the best tech
I've ever worked with.

However, I was only trying to understand the purpose behind the AA
requirement, as I do not see how this "advances our profession" as the
previous arguements have stated.

First of all - you'll have no better control of the quality of training
received unless you implement strict curriculum guidelines for the
certification.   Also, you'll have no better influence over the quality of
the more complicated procedures produced by labs because you'll still have
those who are HT grads or who were grandfathered in performing those
procedures that supposedly require the additional education put forth by the
BOR.  It just appears that the BOR is trying to "advance the profession"
through artificial requirements that in the end do not mean much.

Again, I do not feel that an HTL is required to perform those more
complicated procedures - as I know many HT's that are high school grads with
OJT that understand it as fully as those who have a degree.

I just feel that the AA requirement hurts a lot of very capable people from
entering the field, and it's going to be even harder to recruit individuals
to work.  There are not enough of us out there as it is.

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