[Histonet] Competency for Supervisors

Tony Henwood (SCHN) tony.henwood at health.nsw.gov.au
Thu Dec 1 17:32:18 CST 2016

Hi Mighnon,

I find the so-called competency for all staff, including laboratory managers one of the stupidest items ever to be put in a standard (ie ISO 15189).

All staff who perform a test need to be recorded as being competent in it, no problem with this but managers as well?

How ridiculous! Why you ask? Well please forgive me in advance for the following rant:

The Manager/Supervisor is responsible for instituting the test, training his/her staff in the test and importantly responsible for the quality of the test and yet His/her competency is called into question?

So how does a Manager obtain a competency record for the test?

1.	Ask a manager from another laboratory (?rival) to sign their competency. Could you imagine Donald Trump asking Ed McMahon to sign his competency? Since many of us sign confidentiality and privacy agreements, this will cause problems.

2.	The manager could ask his staff to sign off his competency. A brilliant example of a BAD personal management decision. Why put your staff into the stressful position of deciding whether their supervisor is competent or not? If they say their supervisor is competent even though they believe they are not, then they are forced to lie possibly in order to keep their job. OR in the worst case scenario, they could hold this over the supervisor's head (and visa-versa) in order to keep their job, obtain favours or monetary gain.

I often wonder whether the authors of this item in the standard were complete idiots. They probably never had to face the stresses of managing a laboratory and especially valuable scientific staff. 

Absolutely stupid!!

We stepped up our competency assessment by evolving it into a Continuing Education exercise, including questions and scenarios for my staff to consider and hopefully learn from.

I was then asked why I had not done the same tests. Well I wrote the tests so one would assume that I would know the answers - a little self-serving?

Unfortunately I could not test myself when I was attempting my driving licence, I would have passed the first time!!

Enough of a rant - please advise whether I am driving up the wrong tree!

Tony Henwood JP, MSc, BAppSc, GradDipSysAnalys, CT(ASC), FFSc(RCPA) 
Principal Scientist, the Children's Hospital at Westmead
Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney 
Tel: 612 9845 3306 
Fax: 612 9845 3318 
Pathology Department
the children's hospital at westmead
Cnr Hawkesbury Road and Hainsworth Street, Westmead
Locked Bag 4001, Westmead NSW 2145, AUSTRALIA 

-----Original Message-----
From: Mighnon Lashus via Histonet [mailto:histonet at lists.utsouthwestern.edu] 
Sent: Friday, 2 December 2016 7:38 AM
To: 'histonet at lists.utsouthwestern.edu'
Subject: Re: [Histonet] Competency for Supervisors

Did anyone have a form for the Histology Supervisor Competency?


Mighnon Lashus, HT (ASCP)
Laboratory Manager

4071 S. Access Rd, Suite 107
Chattanooga, TN 37406
423-493-0208 fax
mlashus at pathgroup.com

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