Live Coverage: The Next Generation
After NSH attendees enjoyed a lunch break during what locals were describing as the most beautiful day of the year in Seattle today, workshops started back up with "Histotechnology as a Career, " a workshop on recruitment and team development presented by Joe McDermott, PhD, M Phil, FIBMS, Csi, MNZIMLS, technical head, Anotomical Pathology Lab Plus, Aukland City Hospital, New Zealand.
A transplant from Ireland, McDermott immediately split the group up into teams and encouraged them to ignore their "American ideas" about personal space by grouping around tables and beginning an exercise based on recruiting students into the histotechnology profession.
Each team was tasked with creating a 5-minute presentation that could be given in front of high school students to introduce them to the field. Each group had a unique approach.
One team appealed to the pop culture interest students have, by comparing histotechnology to CSI. One of the members described a case where her staff had to remove more than 60 bullets from a deceased patient killed in a mob-style execution.
When she questioned why they had to determine what was so clearly a death caused by blood loss and organ damage, the response was when that lawyer is standing in court, the defense team could question them about whether the death could have been caused by a cerebral aneurysm 10 seconds before the victim was shot 60 times. This example illustrates the importance of histotechnology as forensic evidence in the chain of evens in a court case.
Another attendee focused on the idea that you can enter the histotechnology field without having a 4-year degree.
He outlined his own career path, where he started working for a lab as a courier, and was intrigued enough to ask the pathologist about his job. The pathologist told him to get an associate's degree and come back as a pathologist's assistant.
After obtaining his associate's, getting certified, and then obtaining his bachelor's degree, that employee is now a lab manager. His experience illustrated how histotechnology is an easy field to navigate up the career ladder through, and how flexible degree programs allow a tech to obtain advanced degrees while continuing to work and afford the things that appeal to young professionals.
Another popular idea was to take the students into the lab itself, to expose them to the atmosphere and show them what they really want to see, the gore! Students are really interested in specimens and showing them body parts is a great way to engage them, while explaining the importance of fixation in the diagnostic process.