RE: Board of registry

From:"MacDonald, Jennifer" <> (by way of histonet)


	Well said!  Histology was a part of my med tech training and I chose
Histology.  The training I received has helped immensely with my career.
Our local community college is in the process of starting a histology
training program.  I have been on the advisary committee and there has been
very positive reactions.  I believe that the lack of education requirements
dictates the salary offered to all histotechs.  If the standards are brought
up the wages should follow.

	Jennifer MacDonald

> Mary,
> This has come up several times before but I, for one, don't mind
> discussing
> it again because there is so much misunderstanding about the real problem.
> In the US it is most common for histotechs to be on-the-job trained. You
> are
> one of the lucky ones who had formal training. I had formal training in
> electron microscopy, and got an associates degree in that field, but I
> learned histotechnology on the job, as did all the people I originally
> worked with and learned from, and most of the people I have ever worked
> with, so I know all about that.
> The field of histotechnology has grown tremendously just since I started
> in
> 1982. That was just as immunos were entering the hospital labs. Before
> that
> the most that was ever done was special stains, and most of those had been
> in use, almost unchanged, for many, many decades. A high school graduate,
> or
> even someone off the street (as was one fellow in our hospital lab) could
> learn the basics in a few years and work for decades with virtually no
> changes in their technique, or even learning anything new!
> These days a high school grad may still learn to section and do specials,
> and even do the motions of immunos and ISH, but they will have a very hard
> time understanding what they are doing, and their advancement potential
> will
> be non-existant (usnless they go back to school).
> A large problem with on-the-job training is that you only learn what is
> available at that job, and then only what is absolutely necessary to get
> the
> work done. It is the rare employee that will go out of their way to learn
> things that are "outside the box" , to use current lingo, and so set
> themselves up for the future. Formal education is much broader in scope
> and
> prepares you for many eventualities.
> I believe an associates degree is the MINUMUM that is necessary to do a
> decent job in the histo lab these days. A bachelors is preferable due to
> the
> greater depth of theory you will be exposed to. I agree that almost anyone
> can do the motions of the work we do, and much of the sectioning work is
> truely a craft, but hands-on job experience only goes so far in preparing
> you to deal with the plethora of new technologies and methodologies coming
> down the pipe. If anyone thought immunos were a tough thing to understand
> and figure out you ain't seen nothing yet! A high-school education will be
> woefully inadequate for the future!
> As to the shortage of histotechs, I believe that taking the profession to
> a
> higher level will actually attract more people. How many college grads
> would
> enter a field that does not require any college at all? It is a waste of
> effort for them because they will not be paid college-level wages, but
> rather will be offered high-school level wages. Requiring college level
> education will advance wages and attract more people.
> I think that putting the histotech courses into medical technology
> programs,
> as is done in other countries, would cause some med tech graduates to
> enter
> histotechnology. I base this on my experience as a med tech instructor in
> Saudi Arabia where histotechnology is part of the med tech curriculum and
> all med techs do a rotation in all lab departments before choosing a
> "specialization." There, some med tech chose histotechnology because they
> were put off by running all the automation in the clinical labs (where
> they
> were just feeding tubes to machine all day) and enjoyed the hands-on work
> and variety of the anatomic pathology lab.
> While in Saudi Arabia I also worked with many histotechs from many other
> countries, all of which were med techs with a histotechnology
> specialization. To a person they were much more knowledgeable than any of
> the US techs I hired (and that includes me!). They did not try to avoid
> the
> routine aspects of the job, as is often cited as a reason not to require
> degrees, and were able to adapt to all new technologies very quickly.
> As to increased costs, I believe that education and training pays for
> itself
> in added effectiveness, efficiency and potential.
> In summary, requirements for more education can only help and will never
> hinder our profession.
> Tim Morken, BA, EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
> Infectious Disease Pathology Activity
> Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
> Ms-G32
> 1600 Clifton Road
> Atlanta, GA 30333
> PH: 404-639-3964
> FAX: 404-639-3043
> email:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mary Bryhan []
> Sent: Thursday, September 07, 2000 8:52 PM
> To: Histonet;
> Subject: Board of registry
> Today our lab operations manager showed me a page that had been printed
> off
> the NSH website.  This page reported that beginning in 2004, the BOR will
> not permit applicants with only a High School diploma to take the HT exam.
> There will be requirements similar to those currently required for the HTL
> exam.
> At the age of 14 I took a 3 week summer class for fun, which previewed
> three
> health careers, one each week.  As you can guess, I became interested in
> histology.  Two years later when I was 16, I began my 2 year ASCP
> accredited
> HT training program.  Because of staffing shortages, I received my
> received
> my 1st job offer in histology before I even graduated.  I took my boards
> as
> soon as I was eligible, back when the board only offered the exam twice
> per
> year.  I passed on the first try and got a pay increase of a quarter,
> which
> put my wage at $4.25 / hour.
> During the last 21 years I have worked with a wide variety of people who
> call themselves  histo techs.  I must say that the majority of techs I
> have
> worked with that were good at the meat and potatoes of regular histology
> techniques were high school graduates.
> There is a current staffing shortage in histology; does it make sense to
> further it by adding these restrictions?  Also, what will the added costs
> be
> to an already over burdened medical system as we have in the US?
> Mary Bryhan
> Petoskey,  Michigan

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