[Histonet] peggy wenk comments on HT/HTL practical

Bernice Frederick b-frederick <@t> northwestern.edu
Mon Aug 29 07:35:50 CDT 2011

I remember having to know, regarding Peggy's comment on why a reagent was on a piece of tissue, for my HTL what was going in every step of the retic (oxidation,reduction,toning etc) and believe me it was on the exam. We were taught to know the why from the techs that trained us and had taken the exam. If you chose to ignore what they said, it was on your head.

As to the microtomy during an interview, I'm all for it as I have done it in the past (as an interviewer and interviewee)  and most recently, as we had a tech come in from Romania and how were we to know what she knew? Their program is a CLS degree and she chose histo from that. Great tech by the way- histo is not much different the world over, from what I can see.


Bernice Frederick HTL (ASCP)
Senior Research Tech
Pathology Core Facility
Robert. H. Lurie Cancer Center
Northwestern University
710 N Fairbanks Court
Olson 8-421
Chicago,IL 60611
b-frederick <@t> northwestern.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu [mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Lee & Peggy Wenk
Sent: Sunday, August 28, 2011 6:41 PM
To: madary <@t> verizon.net; histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: Re: [Histonet] peggy wenk comments on HT/HTL practical

Now add in a few other things, that I didn't directly mention in the original 2006 HistoNet reply.

How many people are now using:
- automated H&E stainers
- automated special stainers, including IHC stainer
- automated coverslippers
- automated microtomes
- disposable blades

Can you see why nearly everyone passed the practical? If they could cut a half-way decent section (with better microtomes and blades, easier to do), just put the slide on a machine and let the machine stain it. To fail, they basically had to NOT follow a LOT of directions, such as submitting colon for small intestine, submitting autolyzed gall bladder, doing the wrong stain (like doing a Prussian blue for iron, instead of the requested colloidal iron), grossing the tissue too small, microtoming too thick, putting the institution's name on the label, etc. Automation makes it easier to produce better sections and better stains, particularly if someone is a mediocre tech to begin with.

As to whether the person understands the theory when using automated stainers - well, the fact that many of the people submitting the practical could pass the practical but would fail the written - that has been going on since "ancient" times, when staining was done by hand. They could follow the directions, but didn't know the reasons. Pour on solution A for 5 minutes, pour it off, pour on solution B for 10 minutes, rinse it off, and it's done. 
No idea what is in solution A or B, or what chemicals are binding to what components in the tissue, etc. Whether someone is doing the stain by hand or by machine, it's up to the person to have the curiosity to find out what is going on. Some people don't have it, and don't feel the urge to learn.

That's one of the reasons I like going to state and national meetings, and reading HistoNet. These people WANT to learn! Hurrah for them! And there are a lot of people in the histology community willing to help people who WANT to learn - answering HistoNet, giving talks at state and national meetings, being a mentor, etc. Hurrah for them too!

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
Beaumont Health Systems
Royal Oak, MI 48073

The above are my opinions and not those of my institution.

-----Original Message-----
From: madary <@t> verizon.net
Sent: Sunday, August 28, 2011 2:23 PM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] peggy wenk comments on HT/HTL practical

    The  dropping of the practical was explained so well by Peggy Wenk. I
   never  got  into  the  debate(glad  I  did  not  after  reading Peggys
   comments),  I  would  have argued to keep it.  That said, indeed it is
   outdated.  The  fact  that  we  were  the last to do it I guess speaks
   volumes.  I did struggle getting tissues for it for sure.  Modern day,
   modern  thinking.  Thanks  for the information Peggy and of course all
   you do fo this field.

   Nick(Rocky) Madary, HT/HTL(ASCP)QIHC
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