[Histonet] RE:Unregistered HT

Mayer,Toysha N TNMayer <@t> mdanderson.org
Wed Sep 11 16:04:02 CDT 2013

I actually agree with Rene on some points. 
 In the past, and in some current labs, that mentality of just get the work done prevails. It happens more in small labs than in larger ones now. However the tide is starting to change.  While it may be years before the old regime mentality retires out (we all know that pathologists don't really retire they hang around forever, no offense Samurai pathologist), management is changing.  We must demonstrate to ourselves that we matter. Too many places still allow the docs to control the lab and it has hindered us.  It has to do with the separation of medicine and business. Not all docs think monkeys can do our job, I know some that understand our value.

I don't know what category to place myself in, an old timer or a young buck,  I have 20 years in and have paid my dues.  I was disrespected, overlooked and scraped floors, but I stayed around.  Sometimes I take offense at those who discredit the OJT route, I did it.  But I also had a BS degree.  I take offense at those who look down on me because I do have a degree, and passed my test.  Those were my choices, and I wanted to better position myself for promotion.  
Some really good techs have no degree, or certification and I would consult with them in a heartbeat.  I care about what I do, it matters, so I take pride in my sections and stains.
To get our respect we should support our schools (not just because I teach) because they are the ones who can demonstrate the proper skills to students.  To do this realize that schools need students to stay open, so send some their way.  The faculty cannot teach without them.  Be willing to serve as a clinical site to teach what you know, especially if you think they are doing it wrong.  Remember that the faculty are under pressure to graduate students so make sure that you support them, don't get mad when they take in more students.  We all want to eat. 
Suggest to your HT's that they go back to get a BS to move up.  Facilities are beginning to require supervisors and managers to have that 4yr degree.  Everyone should mentor others to keep things going.
Lastly,  as techs we need to get out of the 'I am not going to train someone to push me out' mentality.  We can all learn from each other.  That is why so many new techs can only operate an instrument and not understand the theory.  It makes the whole field look bad.  
Unregistered HT's were  provided the opportunity to take the test.  Some could not afford it, others did not see the need.  Now some are locked into a job and cannot leave because of it.  Hospitals are requiring certification for employment that is good.  It is a step towards improving the field.  
I will never say that registered techs are better than unregistered ones, but I will say that those letters behind your name can get you a little further ahead nowadays.  My mama taught me that.


Toysha N. Mayer, MBA, HT(ASCP)
tnmayer <@t> mdanderson.org
Instructor/Education Coordinator
Program in Histotechnology
School of Health Professions
MD Anderson Cancer Center

This very long thread deals with a very complicated and ages long issue so I would like to add my opinion.
The fundamental issue is that the pathologists do not respect the histotechs because for them the only thing that matters is that the sections are good, well stained and finished on time. That is all!
If they can get some well trained chimpanzees doing these tasks they would be OK with that and they do not give a dam about how much we make or what we know as long as the sections are goo, well stained and on time. Sometimes they decide to "do something" is a histotech completely sick and tired of being disrespected threatens to leave to other lab.
The other factor against the histotechs are the managers that prefer to pay the least amount possible and see a histotech with higher education as a potential "money pit" for their budget because they will have to pay them more.
Additionally some histotech with higher education are not the best from the quality results point of view and perhaps those with more experience and quality of work are those old histotechs with 20 or more years of experience that usually have been grandfathered and some not even graduated from high school.
When I started in this trade (1952) I remember that I was in pre-medical year and learning how to do the basics (embed, section, stain) with the hope of being contracted at the "wonderful" salary of $30/month but that was not to be because the professor head of the department gave the position to a cousin of him and I was supposed to train her, something that did not occur because I left and he had to start all over again.
Hiring a janitor or a?cleaning lady to do histology work was not an infrequent occurrence in the mid 1950's and even 30 years later.
Why? Again because what the pathologists wanted out of the histotech i.e. good sections the cheapest the better.
How this can be solved? It has to start with the pathologists and the administrators, and also with the histotech. We need to demand respect and I coincide that the NSH has done little in that respect.
The issue is not only to study and become more knowledgeable in our trade, that is of paramount importance to do a better job, to be able to understand the procedures and be able to trouble shoot but unfortunately many histotechs see this trade as "a decent way or earning a salary" and that is all.
Two final caveats: not all pathologists?are born equal, neither all?administrators.
Ren? J.?

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