[Histonet] Re:peggy wenk comments on HT/HTL practical - To stick a Pin

Matthew Lunetta MLunetta <@t> luhcares.org
Wed Aug 31 09:15:29 CDT 2011

You might be surprised I too agree with Joyce and Richard. 

I understand very well that a new graduate will not be up to the skill
level of an individual that has been working for a while. What I am
surprised about is that this program seemed to teach to pass the test
and has left all of the technical skills left to be taught by the
persons 1st job. This could lead to several painful experiences for not
only the facility but the new HT.

Were is the disconnect. If a person is doing the OJT route they need to
have at least one year of experience signed-off by a pathologist. If a
person goes through a program who is responsible for making sure that
the base-skills are there? Is there not some standards that a new
graduate should be able to cut/embed so many blocks in an hour? Is it
reasonable for a new graduate to take 1.5 hours to cut 5 (uterus,
appendix, tonsil) one-cuts? From facing to lifting the slide off the
water-bath? Or to take 2hrs to embed 15 (large tissue sections) one-cut

So Richard is also right how is a new grad to get experiance without
that 1st gig? But how much resposiblity should be placed on the 1st gig
to train a new HT that is supose to have base skills in lab equipment,
cutting, embeding, staining etal? 

More thoughts....
Matt Lunetta BS HT(ASCP)

Edwards, Richard E." ree3 <@t> leicester.ac.uk

If you do not employ recently trained individuals, how on earth are they
going to obtain the experience that Matt craves, it's beyond me. My
daughter recently qualified as an Occupational Therapist, when she asked
for the reason that she was unsuccessful in obtaining a post, they said
that as a recently graduated student she had no experience, what
rubbish!!.Thankfully she has now obtained a position under more
enlightened management that is to be found here!.


Richard Edwards
>>> "Shirley A. Powell" 08/30/11 6:32 PM >>> 
I second that Joyce. 

From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Weems, Joyce
[JWeems <@t> sjha.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 6:17 PM 
To: Matthew Lunetta; histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu 
Subject: RE: [Histonet] Re:peggy wenk comments on HT/HTL practical - To
stick a Pin 

I don't understand how a student of any program would have not a portion
of their program dedicated to these skills. We partner with Darton
College and their students to do a certain number of hours for their
"Clinicals". They know how to do those things, are trained by the
clinical coordinator for the program, and are graded on their work. 

Are they prepared to go into a lab and work like they've done OJT for
1-2 years? Not at all, but they need to be hired with the understanding
that they will need time and patience to develop their speed and their

My 2 cents... 

Joyce Weems 
Pathology Manager 
Saint Joseph's Hospital 
5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd NE 
Atlanta, GA 30342 
678-843-7376 - Phone 
678-843-7831 - Fax 

-----Original Message----- 
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Matthew
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 13:59 
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu 
Subject: [Histonet] Re:peggy wenk comments on HT/HTL practical - To
stick a Pin 

Hey all, 

I found Peggy's comments on why the practical was discontinued to be
very interesting. Of late I have had some experience with a new HT that
graduated from a program and passed the current HT exam. 
So, as they say in Great Britain, to stick a pin in the ASCP reasons. 

This new fresh and shiny HT has all the book knowledge we needed them to
have. What they did not have was any technical skills. 
1) never used a microscope or centrifuge. 
2) no special staining experience 
3) no embedding experience 
4) no cutting experience 

When they cut or embed they are no were near the speed, accuracy or
quality that is nee
ded in our industry. While they can answer any
question you ask them they just do not have the technical skills one
would expect from a new graduate. 

I have learned several lessons from this experience. 

1) I am so very glad I was one of the last HT's to have taken the
2) Any new HT's will be taking a practical if I am involved in the
selection process. 
3) I will question they quality of any new HT from this particular

While I am sure that there are many new HT's that do have the skills
needed, this one experience has caused me to be more cautious. 


Matt Lunetta 

Message: 2 
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2011 18:09:46 +0200 
From: "Gudrun Lang" 
Subject: AW: [Histonet] Re: peggy wenk comments on HT/HTL practical 
To: "'Bob Richmond'" 
Cc: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu 
Message-ID: <8B7976B131854ABC8DB236FAB5026851 <@t> dielangs.at> 
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" 

Dear Dr. Richmond 
Here in Austria we have a job open for a pathologist with 5 years 
experience. ;) 
Please, think it over to come. Lovely mountains, lovely techs... 

It sounds, like you are from that sort of pathologist techs dream of. 

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht----- 
Von: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu 
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] Im Auftrag von Bob 
Gesendet: Dienstag, 30. August 2011 04:43 
An: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu 
Betreff: [Histonet] Re: peggy wenk comments on HT/HTL practical 

I really appreciate Peggy Wenk's analysis of the practical examination 
and why it had to be dropped. I never really understood the issue 

I must confess I always enjoyed helping the prospective examinee 
obtain exactly the right tissue. 

"No, this endometrium is poorly preserved. We'll arrange with surgery 
for a completely fresh specimen - I'll block it initially for the 
diagnosis, then we'll fix it overnight and then block it exactly to 
specifications. - Ick - this one's been curetted - we'll get another 

"I'll block the margins of this colon resection specimen, then we'll 
pin a portion of tissue onto paraffin and fix it flat overnight." 

"Next time I do an autopsy we'll get a lumbar spinal cord in the 
intact dura. I'll open the dura dorsally and ventrally with iridectomy 
scissors, then we'll hang it in neutral buffered formalin for two 
days. Then I'll tie the dura and dependent nerves with a cotton 
string. When you embed you'll remove the string, taking care that dura 
and nerves remain in position. After that it's all yours. If it 
doesn't work the first time, we've got three more levels in the jar." 

OK, I'm a geek, I'm 72 years old, I got a right. 

Bob Richmond 
Samurai Pathologist 
Knoxville TN 

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