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My First Day of Pathology

Discussion in 'Pathology' started by Thaitanium, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. Thaitanium

    Thaitanium Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    I just got back from my first day of pathology.

    I stood there as the attending was grossing the specimens and dictating them for a few hours. Not much going on...I was just asking a few questions here and there and he answered. I asked the attending if he could point out some slides with pathology for me, which I think we will do tomm. My rotation is in a community hospital with no residency program. Is there anything else I should be doing? Do attendings allow students to gross? I think I can observe some autopsies in the coming weeks. Are students given the opportunity to do anything during autopsies?

    I am not sure what I can and cannot do as a student. Could you guys tell me what I could do to gain some good experience during this rotation which could help me in residency somewhat? He also recommended that I tag along with the ppl working in the micro lab or hematology...

    Any help would be appreciated...

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  3. SLUsagar

    SLUsagar rock chalk jayhawk 10+ Year Member

    Feb 12, 2004
    no, don't follow some CLS around, you'll be bored out of your wit and think, damn, path is boring as hell. Do an away rotation at a real institution. That's my recommendation. Do a SP rotation.
  4. Villin

    Villin 10+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    i had to kinda make myself a pleasant nuisance with my attendings in order to get my feet wet. i would ask the attending if i could gross, cut frozens, etc from day one and fortunately they allowed me. also, there were a couple of fetopsies that they let me complete entirely (but only because i was persistent)...that was cool. it doesn't hurt to see what's going on in the CP side of the dept, but it can get boring very quickly UNLESS there are unique cases. i also worked with a great PA who taught me the basics on grossing gyn path; placentas galore. the most important thing is to see if there is anything to do to help...more times than not they'll let you do stuff. i hope you continue to be proactive especially in a community setting.

    unfortunately your attending sounds pretty aloof and indifferent to you. maybe it was just a monday but telling you to follow other people is a good sign he is "too busy" for you. did you tell him you're serious about pathology. that sometimes helps them to come out of their shell.

    maybe they also have some teaching slides to go over or is that what you'll be going over tomorrow? good luck.
  5. DarksideAllstar

    DarksideAllstar you can pay me in bud 7+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2001
    West of the Haight
  6. Circumflex

    Circumflex Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2006
    Be proactive and find out what cases you will be seeing with him so you can do a little reading. Show that you are interested. Even if you are not allowed to gross, you can ask to hang out with whoever is grossing just to see what goes on. In general, the more interest you show, the more love you will receive.
  7. Villin

    Villin 10+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
  8. docbiohazard

    docbiohazard Highly ranked amateur 2+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    In my first path elective, it was designed to expose the MS3 to a variety of areas within the department. It was tough to get much hands on exposure, even as an interested student. I got the most "hands on" experience in autopsy, and got quite a bit of love in cytopath. Surg path was mostly observational but not uneducational. We also had to present a case so that allowed me to do some independent study work and interact with some different faculty. I know in our acting internship, you get to gross specimens and dictate notes, and in general be more active.

    So hang in there, it's tough to be so hands off but I just looked at what the residents were doing, and talked to them about it, and realized that, yep, that's what I wanted to do...

  9. deschutes

    deschutes Thing Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2004
    On location
    If it's not a busy day and there's a grossing station open, you may get a chance to gross uncomplicated specimens (e.g. start with a gallbladder) and just get used to dictating, measuring, handling a scalpel etc. And then you work your way up the specimen complexity ladder from there.

    Don't forget to follow up on the cases by looking at the slides the next day. You can also watch the histotechs for a while and see how the tissue is actually processed into slides.

    I don't know how many attendings are at your hospital, but after being around a few days you'll probably find are more amenable to teaching than others.

    If you have the opportunity to spend a few days in hematology or microbiology, I would - helps retain the perspective that surgpath/autopsies are not all there is to pathology.
  10. Thaitanium

    Thaitanium Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Thanks for the recommendations guys...

    Yeah, I told the attending that I was interested in pathology.

    There is only one path attending in the hospital.

    There are only two students in this is the first day, so I think I might read a surg path book (Rosai) to read up on what I've been seeing the attending gross. Tomm, I think we are going to go over some slides of the specimens we grossed today, should be interesting. One specimen was a mass in the axillary area from a female...the doc said it could be hidradenitis.

    I think I will ask the doc if I could gross in the coming days. I think I should gain some trust at first or at least watch him do it for a few days.

    In terms of autopsies, I will have to go to another community hospital. I am not sure if I will be able to do anything other than observe, but I will ask.

    When I asked the doc about the future of path, he talked about molecular path. Not familiar with the field, but it sounds interesting.

    I will try to get into the micro lab or hematology to see what's going on there. For me, I find AP a helluva lot more interesting than CP. I saw Giardia from a stool sample today :hardy: !

    I think Im going to look for some places to do aways (surg elective). Does anyone know anyplace where I can get a good hands on experience/teaching in surgpath? I am in Chicago now and am not able to do rotations in-state because I am from a non-LCME school (Ross University) and all the places I called in the Chicagoland area dont take non-LCME students. I think If I did an away at a university hospital/community hospital with a path residency, I will have a better experience?

    Well appreciate everyone's input. Thanks! I will continue to be proactive to see what I can do.

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