[Histonet] Histology Stories

Green JumpyOne greenjumpyone <@t> hotmail.com
Thu Mar 11 09:36:56 CST 2010

I am really enjoying reading these "start-up" stories.  :o)  If you don't mind indulging me, I'll share mine too!

I had just graduated from college with a BS in Biology when I landed a job as a cancer research assistant.  Well, it turns out that portion of lab just wasn't for me!  I left that department and worked in another area of the lab.  Then the histotech quit.  They looked at me, said "you have a degree, you can do this".  I had no idea what histology was other than looking at the cells under the microscope!  They had no problem with that and they set about teaching me how to use the equipment.  I had no theory, no understanding of *why* I was doing any of what I was doing, I just learned the practical side histology: process, embed, cut, stain.  I learned how to cut with my knees in a cupboard (they didn't have a proper desk for me) and not with forceps or brushes, but with chop sticks!  You see, the first person to introduce me to Histology was a graduate student, from Japan, who was doing an internship at our facility.  :o)

I stayed at that position for about 1.5 years, but absolutely had to leave it because I developed a very severe allergy and asthma to the rats we were doing our research on.  I was offered a position in (what was then) the largest private lab in MI.  My true mentor, Glenda, taught me anything and everything I know about Histology.  She helped me study for the HT exam, spending countless hours of her own time helping me learn.  Thanks to her, I passed the HT the first time around!  Later, she assisted me in studying for the HTL exam which I also passed!  Had it not been for her kindness and guidance, I'm not so sure I would have succeeded.  :o)  THANKS GLENDA!!  Glenda had no formal education after high school - everything she learned was via on the job training.  I will say, she learned very, very well!  :o)  So much so that she now has a QIHC after her name.

And now where are we?  I am trying to figure out just how to have our very own Histotech school here at my hospital.  We are affiliated with another school (with me as the mentor), but I am thinking it would be nice to run our own.  See?  What goes around, comes around!

It's amazing just how far we have come!  From stropping our own knifes, to disposible ones; from maintaining our (and in some cases, making new parts!) microtomes to having maintenance free ones; from all the manual staining to the automated;  and now microwave technology for the processing.  Yes, indeedy, we sure have evolved!  Gone are the days of grabbing someone from the lab and saying "you can be a histotech"!!  We have to be formally educated now!  :o)

I love my job!

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