[Histonet] RE: Interviewing Histotechs...

Marcum, Pamela A PAMarcum <@t> uams.edu
Tue Jan 31 13:03:27 CST 2012

Thank you and well said!!!  Pam Marcum

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu [mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Kim Donadio
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:47 PM
To: Jerry Ricks
Cc: <histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu>
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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