[Histonet] RE: Interviewing Histotechs...

Joe Nocito jnocito <@t> satx.rr.com
Thu Feb 2 16:41:07 CST 2012

yeah, I never did like that the "a monkey can do it" crap. A pathologist 
told me that he could teach a monkey to gross. When the grossing tech messed 
up a case, I was called in and got jumped on. He really didn't appreciate it 
when I told him he better  get that monkey trained quick.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kim Donadio" <one_angel_secret <@t> yahoo.com>
To: "Jerry Ricks" <rosenfeldtek <@t> hotmail.com>
Cc: <histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:46 PM
Subject: Re: [Histonet] RE: Interviewing Histotechs...

Your comment about a monkey hits a nerve. There is a misconception I think 
in our field that yes any monkey off the street can do our job. Well they 
can't. It takes a good amount of knowledge to understand tissues, stains, 
chemical reactions and yes you will need to have some  amount of hand eye 
coordination Skill .

It's the monkey theory that has histotechs jumping up and down into these 
quick almost no hands on programs so they can get a good paying job with not 
much invested I'm afraid. Yes, I'm an expert at sticking my foot in my 
mouth. But if we as a group don't recognize why we are even having this 
debate about testing techs on the most basic of functions.  Then I worry 
about the future of our profession And even healthcare because by god if you 
want monkeys , think monkeys , you will get monkeys!

And darn it. I can't run and hide from this one can I lol

Have a great week!

Kim D
Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 31, 2012, at 1:13 PM, Jerry Ricks <rosenfeldtek <@t> hotmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Toysha
> I think I'm just coming at it from "research mode" not clinical.  Hands on 
> Histotechnology is a core part of our work, but just part, and it is 
> focused on animal models of cardiovascular disease.  Depending on whether 
> the researcher is a postdoc or an undergrad they will have more or fewer 
> general lab skills including histo skills.  I haven't met anyone yet who 
> did not need some training for embedding of brachiocephalic arteries of 
> mice.
> I doubt I would do well in a clinical lab.  I've become accustomed to docs 
> saying "wow that's beautiful can you teach me how to do that?"  I gather 
> in the clinical field it's more like "a monkey can learn how to section." 
> Maybe a good monkey could but I doubt it could work up an IHC with a new 
> antibody.
> Jerry
>> From: TNMayer <@t> mdanderson.org
>> To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
>> Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2012 10:38:58 -0600
>> Subject: [Histonet] RE: Interviewing Histotechs...
>> Jerry,
>> I agree with you somewhat.  I have met techs that misrepresented 
>> themselves and said that they could cut or embed, and knew how to operate 
>> the instruments, but could not produce quality work.  You are right when 
>> you said that it is different for clinical vs. research. I have almost 
>> always worked clinical, and noticed that when working with research 
>> techs, they had a difficult time adjusting to clinical with the time 
>> frames and quality.
>> When training new hires, depending on the position I am hiring for, I 
>> expect to train in the new workflow that they have learned, the new 
>> instrument they use, not the basic skills.  I only expect to do that with 
>> a student. Fresh techs are expected to know how to get a section, not cut 
>> the plastic on the block, embed skin, and set up the h&e stainer.  I 
>> should only have to go over and orient them on "our procedure" not teach 
>> the skill.
>> I have worked various part-time jobs over the years and the first thing I 
>> ask is 'how many microns do you cut at here'? While 3-4 is the standard, 
>> some labs want everything at 3, or some at 4.  I know how to cut, but 
>> like you it takes about 2 weeks to get used to the new instrument. That's 
>> fine, but I don't expect to have to teach the tech how to embed a skin or 
>> cut a kidney biopsy. Not for an experienced tech, unless they have never 
>> encountered it.  That has to be made known during the interview.
>> Yes, a cutting test is good, I have seen registered techs not make it 
>> past probation (90 days) because they could not cut. It would have saved 
>> the company time and MONEY if a test could have been given. Asking if 
>> they can cut a kidney biopsy, or embed a skin would be good as well. I 
>> can't go back and get more epithelia or ask for another pass through the 
>> kidney.
>> Toysha N. Mayer, MBA, HT (ASCP)
>> Instructor, Education Coordinator
>> Program in Histotechnology
>> School of Health Professions
>> MD Anderson Cancer Center
>> (713) 563-3481
>> tnmayer <@t> mdanderson.org
>> Message: 5
>> Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2012 11:13:11 -0800
>> From: Jerry Ricks <rosenfeldtek <@t> hotmail.com>
>> Subject: [Histonet] Interviewing Histotechs...
>> To: <histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu>
>> Message-ID: <BAY161-W3593BCA5DAB2C7994A0D4CDB8D0 <@t> phx.gbl>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>> I gather it is different in clinical labs than in research labs.  In 
>> clinical labs there is an emphasis on quantity and speed.  In research 
>> the emphasis is on doing good experiments.  Our "patients" are almost 
>> always deceased or shortly about to be so there is no urgency of 
>> diagnosis factor.  For us, "diagnosis" means making precise measurements 
>> else some scientists looking at an image and asking each other "what 
>> the?"
>> Anyway I always assume that the person I am hiring is incompetent at 
>> histology and that they will need to be personally trained by me. 
>> Doesn't matter how much experience they have.  And over 23 years that has 
>> turned out to be true.  I've met exactly two people who didn't need much 
>> training.    One was a former senior clinical lab manager.  The other was 
>> a kid straight out of high school who happened to have a histology 
>> experience from high school and a decent histo portfolio.  Yes, Mercer 
>> Island High School had a Histology program.
>> No such thing as a tech who doesn't need to be trained and any tech 
>> trained by me will be up and running in a week or two.  Why bother making 
>> them cut or stain anything during a darn interview.  If they are smart 
>> and cooperative they will work out.
>> If I ever go to a new lab with a new microtome, new protocols, I am 
>> pretty sure that I will be sort of incompetent for a week or two as well.
>> Jerry Ricks
>> Research Scientist
>> University of Washington
>> Department of Pathology
>> histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
>>> Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2012 13:12:09 -0500
>>> From: rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com
>>> To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
>>> Subject: [Histonet] Re: interview....
>>> Ray Koelling asked me:
>>>>> If the Samurai Pathologist is out there reading still; any idea over 
>>>>> your career, about how many glass slides have you viewed under a 
>>>>> microscope since the first? Your replies are always top-notch, 
>>>>> entertaining and informative. And hope with each new job you don't 
>>>>> have to show someone you can pass a test of which slide shows normal 
>>>>> liver and which slide shows cirrhotic liver in your interview.<<
>>> I really have no idea how many slides. In a normal year I sign out
>>> about 3,000 histology cases (remember I don't work full time)
>>> averaging maybe 3 slides per case.
>>> Generally I've gotten jobs, both private clients and agency clients,
>>> by recommendation. A number of years ago I was interviewed by a
>>> four-pathologist hospital group who handed me a tray of 20 slides with
>>> the necessary historical information, and was told that this was a set
>>> the group had collected, including very straightforward cases, cases
>>> with serious diagnostic pitfalls, and some cases they'd never been
>>> able to make a diagnosis on. They tried to make it a test of judgment
>>> rather than simple diagnostic skill. Told to take as much time as I
>>> needed. I guess I passed - by coincidence, the entire group chanced to
>>> break up very quickly, and an entirely different team took over.
>>> Bob Richmond
>>> Samurai Pathologist
>>> Knoxville TN
>> ************************************
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