[Histonet] Interviewing Histotechs...

Jerry Ricks rosenfeldtek <@t> hotmail.com
Mon Jan 30 13:13:11 CST 2012

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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