[Histonet] Re: Cutting Blocks

Tim Higgins thiggins <@t> cddmedical.com
Fri Oct 26 09:47:20 CDT 2012

All great points, awesome information, that’s why we all enjoy histonet.

One thing I've learned over the 20 plus years in histology is every person 
is different and you cant stick them all in the same box.  I personally 
don't believe 40 blocks an hour is unreasonable as an average as long as you 
account for time spent doing other functions in the lab.

Some supervisor, admin. heads, whomever, want to divided the number of 
blocks cut by a 8 hr. work day, not fair to the employee who also has to 
load the slides, clean, answer phones, get interrupted by pathologist, use 
the restroom (god forbid) and the hundreds of other tasks that some they are 
not given credit for.

I am all for high production with quality sections, it can happen with a 
well taught ,seasoned, hard working technician that strives to be a good 
tech.  That is another part of the equation, some tech (hard to believe) 
don't care to be "the best they can be" and just want to get in there and do 
there work and go home.  You can try and shoe horn them into the same mold, 
or you can try to understand that not everyone is dedicated and has the same 
skill set.   This is the time they get evaluated and receive the same 
evaluation as the work they have put forth.  Best way for them to get the 
message you are trying to get across given you have been up front with them 
preceding the evaluation.

Tough subject and everyone has a opinion on what is right.

My two cents.


Joelle Weaver MAOM, HTL (ASCP) QIHC
> From: contact <@t> histocare.com
> Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2012 11:23:07 -0500
> To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
> Subject: [Histonet] Number of blocks
> Hi,
> To most folks that number does seem high but I've met many old school 
> techs who can do this easily. One of my first learning experiences was 
> watching a 57 year old woman crank out tons of slides with no errors and 
> who regularly got praises from the pathologists for producing the most 
> beautiful slides.
> While I have never been required to produce a certain amount within a 
> certain window, I have built up the ability to cut a lot more than 50 per 
> hour. I have even doubled this number. Of course it depends on the tissue 
> type, but assuming properly decalcified bone, nothing popping out of the 
> block, and a cold block of ice, it's very easy for me to produce a high 
> quality slide at 3,4,5 microns. I get compliments all the time of my 
> slides.
> My methods are quite different from most techs though. When facing, I 
> don't waste movements. I actually count the rotations and spend less than 
> 8 seconds facing each block. I also get the right section usually in about 
> the third or fourth crank and I only put at the most two sections in the 
> water bath to pick up.
> I don't cut unnecessary ribbons just to have them sit in the water bath 
> and eventually have to wipe away with the Kimwipe, which in my opinion is 
> wasteful of both materials and time. I also make sure I have enough ice to 
> keep the blocks very cold and adequately hydrated.
> I'm not sure if being in decent physical
> shape matters but I think it gives me the arm stamina to do this. I use 
> only my wrists and fingers and not my whole arm in the rotational motion.
> Hope this helps,
> M
> www.HistoCare.com

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