Is pathology the right career choice for me?

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Apr 5, 2017
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Hey guys,

I consider entering a pathologist trainee position in a large European university hospital.
I wonder if pathology is the right career choice for me.

A couple of questions for you:

- What I wonder is about the future of pathology. I talked to the head of a pathology department and he told me that molecular pathology will (to no surprise) be the future, and estimated that in a few years I will be looking at DNA-Charts (sorry, probably not the technically correct term) about 70 % of the time and only about 30 % of time do actual histopathology under the microscope.
Even though it obviously is only for the best of the patients I probably would not enjoy this "laboratory-doctor-medicine" as much as using my microscope and detecting visual patterns.

- How much reading is neccessary to be a pathologist? I feel my strengths are good pattern recognition and pattern memory but thousands of pages of written word are a little scary. Of course, theoretical background is key but since no one can remember everything, so how much is it for practical purposes really?

- Do you think there is a possibility to work from home or abroad like a radiologist to make diagnoses or will you be locally bound?

I do love pathology (especially histopathology) but I want to be sure not to have false expectations so I hope to get some quality input and I apologize in case I come across as a little ignorant.


an old mind
10+ Year Member
Jun 4, 2008
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Firstly, welcome to SDN forums. I hope you can find some valuable information and fun here.

If you have the passion to become a pathologist, than take it. I may give some ideas as an urologist.

- All branchs change by the time. IM is sub-branching and sub-branching. Legendary intracranial operations are abandoned by the rise of interventional radiology. Some urologists are not touching to scalpel for months in the endourology era etc. Of course, in the future pathologic diagnosis will depend on the genetic testing more. Anyway, the basic staining and histopathology will stand to fulfill your passion. Also, if you get into academic practice you may choose your own path.
- Depends on your practice and customs. As a histopathologist, if you want to diagnose the solid amount of the material, you have to read/see/talk/think/predict/decide significantly. On the other hand, you can just consultate the cases you are in doubt. And pathology is not only micro/macro diagnosis. There is a huge amount of information on the pathophysiologic background of the disease.
-If I have a hospital and you work in my pathology department it is ok. But we can not know what you will see when you start to work as a pathologist.

Something I want to mention about path:
+ No night shifts. Free holidays etc.
+ Respectively low stress and always time to drink a coffee.
- No heroic moments like you can find in surgery.
- Respectively low maximum income as you start your career as an attending.

You are not irrogant, you are welcome. I hope you a good choice and career.
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Full Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 23, 2015
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I've enjoyed it, but was always jealous of my friends in other specialties always getting solicitations to move to this practice or that practice while I just felt lucky to have a job.
I was very disappointed with how hard it was to find a job, any job, but while working I have always liked it. After a while the slides just seem like an old friend.