"I'm a pathologist" or "I'm a doctor"?

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    Just wondering which one people prefer to say when meeting new people and getting asked what you do. Each one has pros and cons -- I'm sick of both getting blank stares and being asked if my life is like Scrubs.

    (Yes, the pathology part eventually comes out either way, but I think the tenor of the conversation is different depending on what is said first.)
     

    macrocyte

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      By meeting "new people", I assume you mean women. If not then it doesn't matter what you say. If you mean women then you should say "I'm a DOCTOR", I specialize in SURGICAL PATHOLOGY or DERM PATHOLOGY or GASTROINTESINAL PATHOLGY etc. Don't just say I'm a pathologist or their next question will be "so do you work at the coroners office?"
       

      fna

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        Just wondering which one people prefer to say when meeting new people and getting asked what you do. Each one has pros and cons -- I'm sick of both getting blank stares and being asked if my life is like Scrubs.

        (Yes, the pathology part eventually comes out either way, but I think the tenor of the conversation is different depending on what is said first.)

        If it's someone who might:
        expect a big tip- I work in a lab.
        ask for medical advice- I work in a lab.
        sell me a car- I'm a student.

        If it's someone I feel the need to make a good impression on: I work at ___ hospital.
         
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        yaah

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          I usually just say something like "I'm a doctor but not a real doctor." If they press for specifics I say I work in the lab and look at biopsies. Then they get a blank look on their face, think about it for a second, and go back to thinking that the surgeon made the diagnosis of a benign tumor on Dad's procedure that he had last week. If they ever had a biopsy then they figure it out and may or may not ask me how the whole thing works.

          If someone is really curious and worth informing I discuss the details of what I do. But to be honest, most people are too ignorant or have much too short of attention spans to bother with this discussion. But yes, for the purpose of the general public who asks you what you do just for the purposes of filling otherwise dead air with conversation, it's, "I work in the lab in the hospital."

          If they mention Scrubs just tell them you don't watch it because it's a stupid show and not realistic. Nor is it funny.
           

          Danbo1957

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            If they mention Scrubs just tell them you don't watch it because it's a stupid show and not realistic. Nor is it funny.

            DougMurphy.jpg


            You are a pathologist - feel free to come up from the basement... get some sunshine, Vitamin-D, talk to a girl. :rolleyes:
             

            Path_Anon

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              By meeting "new people", I assume you mean women. If not then it doesn't matter what you say. If you mean women then you should say "I'm a DOCTOR", I specialize in SURGICAL PATHOLOGY or DERM PATHOLOGY or GASTROINTESINAL PATHOLGY etc. Don't just say I'm a pathologist or their next question will be "so do you work at the coroners office?"

              could also say you're an expert in gyn path to chicks.....just so they're aware of the concepts that if you know your gyn around the scope, you'll know your gyn in the sack.
               

              Arctic Char

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                i say "anytime any tissue or fluid is removed from the body, it needs to be examined microscopically, using a microscope (duh), and characterized and described so the clinician knows what to do. thats what a pathologist does - they tell other doctors what to do. Like House."

                or, i just say "i like microscopes more than people".
                 

                KPath

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                  That clip is hilarious.

                  In my previous life as subspecialty surgery resident - I certainly considered such things! A fellow resident had appendicitis, and we were all jealous that she got to have surgery and get 2 days off!

                  I am so glad to be coming to a much more sane specialty!!
                   

                  listeriaismfb

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                    Love this thread.

                    If someone is looking to sell me something I tell them that I am a scientist/microbiologist - I'm broke, so forget it.

                    Otherwise, I say "I'm a _____ pathologist" because it conveys what I really do, and while it is invariably followed by questions I never get "So they let you out of the morgue?"
                     

                    yaah

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                      Otherwise, I say "I'm a _____ pathologist" because it conveys what I really do, and while it is invariably followed by questions I never get "So they let you out of the morgue?"

                      If they drop the "so they let you out of the morgue" line on me, I either say, "No, I escaped actually" or I say, "I let myself out, thank you very much."
                       

                      HRantz

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                        In general: "I am a physician. My specialty is pathology."

                        Agree with the above though; my response varies depending on who is asking the question and how much I feel like talking about it. Sometimes they just ask where I work and I can get away with saying "____ Hospital". Invariably that leads to "are you a nurse?", so I often say "I'm a resident at _____ Hospital". Then they ask what residency I'm doing, and that's when I get the blank stare.
                         

                        green mantis

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                          That clip is hilarious.

                          In my previous life as subspecialty surgery resident - I certainly considered such things! A fellow resident had appendicitis, and we were all jealous that she got to have surgery and get 2 days off!

                          I am so glad to be coming to a much more sane specialty!!

                          Where's the fun in being sane?

                          If you have appendicitis, gross in your appendix & make the diagnosis yourself. If you've just delivered, tell them to retrieve your placenta & examine it yourself. People in other specialties will think it's gross. For us, it's par for the course. :laugh:


                          ----- Antony
                           

                          Psychopathology

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                            Remember, dead people should be dead.

                            That's the first lesson they teach on day one of pathology school followed by instructions on operating the biopsy machine and morgue-tending. It's a long day, and we're encouraged to sneak out of the basement from time to time for sunshine and social interaction.


                            Whoever let the cat out of the bag that path is not a thing like it is depicted on television is personally responsible for the ten kazillion competitive applicants applying this fall! Shhhhh! We've got to keep these things quiet or everyone will want to become a pathologist. That's why I hardly know how I will answer the question, "So, why pathology?" Why not?

                            When asked what I do, I'm gonna say pathologist. I won't say lab because I won't want people thinking Dr. Bunsen Honeydew & Beaker. I won't say doctor because I would like to avoid a barrage of "So, can you take a look at the boil on my ass" - type questions that I've invariably been asked at every family gathering since I started medical school.

                            Pathology! Has a nice ring to it. :)

                            Now, back to jokes about dead people and freaks in the basement.
                             

                            docbiohazard

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                              I tend to reply I'm a doctor, or I'm a resident, if I think they'll know what that means. Then if they ask, I tell them I'm in a Pathology residency. If they ask what I do, I explain that we review all the surgical specimens/biopsies, and run all the labs and the blood banks and what not, and also do autopsies.

                              The best response ever, I think, was an attending at Penn, when a patient remarked "I thought Pathologists only did autopsies", he replied "Well, although thats what most people know us for, it actually accounts for a very small amount of what most Pathologists do, and this is what I do..." while prepping to do an FNA on a neck mass.

                              DBH
                               
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