Re: Board of registry

From:Lee & Peggy Wenk <> (by way of histonet)

Hi -

First of all, I hope the NSH page stated that the elimination of the
high school route begins Jan. 2, 2005 (not 2004 as stated in your

Second, I would like to add another reason to those already stated.

Who has time to train someone anymore? Particularly someone with little
or no biology, chemistry or math knowledge/experience?

Years ago, we used to do our own on-the-job (OJT) training in histology.
Then we started an accredited histotechnology program. For the next
of years, the histology lab still did OJT and had the school. Then they
dropped OJT, and hired just the school graduates since then. We used to
do a GREAT job at OJT. Everyone passed the HT exam on the first try
(remember, there is a 50% pass rate).

Recently, I was talking with our histotechs about the job shortages
out there (very real and very large). And mentioned that the number
of HT/HTL schools were decreasing, due to hospitals not being able
to afford running the schools. I asked our histotechs, what would
they do if our school closed, and they had to do OJT like before.

They looked panic struck! They all said that they don't have time
to train someone from the beginning! They are too busy. They would
just hope that we could "steal" a histotech from another hospital
(that's what's going on all over the country). And this is from
the histotechs who help train my students (I do all the lectures,
they work with the students in the labs).

So, if a lab has to do OJT, wouldn't it be easier to train
someone who has taken:

- college anatomy/physiology, who knew that kidney is different
than liver, and what the functions of these organs are,
and what they look like.

- college microbiology, so knows that fungi and bacteria are
NOT the same things, and has already done a Gram stain.

- college chemistry, and knows how to use a pH meter and
Metler balance, and can do pipetting, and has measured
solutions in graduated cylinder, and knows the difference
between Molar and Normal solutions. All you need to do is
show them how your pH meter works, probably once once. You
don't need to explain what pH is.

- lab math or intermediate algebra, so can do the math to
make Molar solutions, or dilutions.

- medical terminology, so knows how to spell the words while
accessioning the specimens into the computer, or can "dissect"
the word into its meanings, and figure out what the word means.

My opinion is that the histology labs do not have the time
to train people like they used to. Our OJT techs from years
ago are GREAT! They have given talks at our state and at NSH.
They have written articles for our state newsletter and the
Journal of Histotechnology. But we had the time then to train
them from the beginning. (Plus, they were motivated to learn
more on their own.)

But these same techs admit that they and the lab do not have
enough time now to do the same type of training, if we had to
take someone like they were - high school graduate, most of
whom had very little exposure to the sciences in high school.

So when a lab calls me, looking to hire one of my students,
and I don't have a student for them (already hired, wrong
time of the year, etc.), and the person who calls me is
so depressed about being so overworked and not having the
time do OJT, I always suggest advertising at the community
college or university. And all the reasons listed above.

This does seem to be the trend. In the 1980's, of the people
taking the HT exam:
- 70% high school with 2 year OJT route
- 15% through schools
- 15% through associate degree (12 credits bio/chem) & 1 year OJT.

Now the percentage is:
- 40% high school route with 2 year OJT
- 15% schools
- 45% associate degree route (12 credits bio/chem) & 1 year OJT

Sorry for being so long winded in the morning. Just trying to
let people know there are advantages to hiring someone who
has a good strong foundation in bio and chem, on which we can
add on the histotechnology knowledge and skills.

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

Mary Bryhan wrote:
> 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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