Pathology assistant salary versus academic instructor/assistant professor

pathstudent

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I heard that path assistants command six figures right out of training. Is this true? Because I know some academic instructors who only make 70-80k and some assistant profs that make 125k. If this is true it pisses me off. They say path assistants make so much because they are in high demand due to low supply.
 

pathstudent

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How does it make sense to pay the person grossing the biopsies and specimens more than person who reads them out.
 
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I heard that path assistants command six figures right out of training. Is this true? Because I know some academic instructors who only make 70-80k and some assistant profs that make 125k. If this is true it pisses me off. They say path assistants make so much because they are in high demand due to low supply.
Yes, this is true, and clearly an example of supply/demand issues. Where I trained the salary numbers for instructors and junior attendings were very similar to what you listed, and I know for a fact that some of the PA's were making 6 figures. Nothing against PA's, they (well, some of them) generally work hard and do an important job...but the fact that they make even similar numbers to junior attendings, and in some cases more, is absolutely insane. Think about the difference in number of years necessary for training/licensing, difference in debt incurred during training, difference in liability for performing the job, etc. And people still wonder why we choose to ditch academics.
 

2121115

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I heard that path assistants command six figures right out of training. Is this true? Because I know some academic instructors who only make 70-80k and some assistant profs that make 125k. If this is true it pisses me off. They say path assistants make so much because they are in high demand due to low supply.

Maybe in certain markets, but the path assistants that I know of started around 80-90k and make greater than 100k after several years. 100k is not all that absurd actually. According to tax records, in the years 2005-2007 greater than 60% of American families logged an income greater than 100k in at least one of those years (according to the NYT's). Inflation is a bitch and it has caught up with physicians big time.
 

pathstudent

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Maybe in certain markets, but the path assistants that I know of started around 80-90k and make greater than 100k after several years. 100k is not all that absurd actually. According to tax records, in the years 2005-2007 greater than 60% of American families logged an income greater than 100k in at least one of those years (according to the NYT's). Inflation is a bitch and it has caught up with physicians big time.
\\bull shiitt, the median US household income id 50K and half of all american families pay zero income tax.
 

pathstudent

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Step 1: Gross in your own colons and Bx's

Step 2: ???

Step 3: Profit
You can choose to gross in your own colons and bxs in academics but you won't get paid anymore.
 
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Um, no. Not insane. It's simple market economics.
Yes and no. Academic physicians are paid way below their market value...for various reasons that I probably don't need to list here. PA's salaries are driven by market economics regardless of whether they're working in an academic or private practice place because they generally don't give a crap about the prestige of working in academics and therefore would never accept the 50-75% pay cut that certain physicians are willing to take to work in academics.

Therefore I conclude it is, in fact, insane. The insane part is that some academic physicians are willing to work for salaries that are lower than those of their technical staff.
 

pathstudent

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Yes and no. Academic physicians are paid way below their market value...for various reasons that I probably don't need to list here. PA's salaries are driven by market economics regardless of whether they're working in an academic or private practice place because they generally don't give a crap about the prestige of working in academics and therefore would never accept the 50-75% pay cut that certain physicians are willing to take to work in academics.

Therefore I conclude it is, in fact, insane. The insane part is that some academic physicians are willing to work for salaries that are lower than those of their technical staff.
Yeah this is bs. I know of many of my friends who spent a few years as instructor who made less than 100k a year while pas make more than that. WTF. The pathologists are in 200k debt and spent 5 extra years training and have way more responsibility but they make less.
 
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Path or bust

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Yeah this is bs. I know of many of my friends who spent a few years as instructor who made less than 100k a year while gross monkey pas make more than that. WTF. The pathologists are in 200k debt and spent 5 extra years training and have way more responsibility but they make less.
If there are pathologists willing to work for a low salary, why would they pay them anymore? Simple supply and demand. It has nothing to do with education, experience or responsibility...sadly. :confused:
 

path24

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Just remember med students...there is a pathologist shortage. Keep drinking the koolaid that Dr. Silva, program directors, attendings, and company is handing out. Med students drink it up every year (I did, and am now finding out the truth).
 

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I am speaking from experience, my wife completed 3 years of residency in Path before being forced to leave her program. Found a job as a PA (per diem) makine $50 per hour and the work has been steady. I highly doubt PA are making $100K per year. I also doubt that Path MD are making 80K in no matter where. THis is just anecdotal or someone heard....blah blah. From what I heard from my wife, low salary at her hospital is about 130-150K . This is in or close to a major east cost city.

You can land a job as a PA with a few years or residency, depending on what you would like to do and what bills you have it seems like a good living. I am a tech guy so not familiar with your field beyond what I hear from the wife. Seems like you all have a rough life: scared of not getting into residency when a student, scared of attendings and their tantrums when a resident and getting booted from the program, scared of lawsuits when an MD and getting booted from your hospital. Boards, recertification, CME, huge loans, other docs looking at you as not real docs. God bless you all. Give me a computer any day, at least the future is becoming more computerized and if I lose my job I can go somewhere else no black listing or national provider database.

Anyway, there seems to be a big market for PAs, except that their society is trying to get certification a big issue. Her hospital searched for 1 year for a PA but could not find one. The hired a guy and WAITED for him to graduate, 3 months. My wife tried to apply to sit for the exam, no no no. Wanted her to retake the course no waivers, to hell with that I was not shelling out 50K to have her take courses she already took as a medical student to take and exam she could already pass hands down. She has passed USMLE 1, 2, and 3

hope this information helps.
 

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\\bull shiitt, the median US household income id 50K and half of all american families pay zero income tax.
The median individual income is like 30-40k. 2 workers in each household making that much comes out to like 80K per year. It is no shocker with the economic boom of that time period that these families may have made over 100k in one of those years. Here is the link to David Brooks quoting that stat.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/opinion/06brooks.html



"Over the last 10 years, 60 percent of Americans made more than $100,000 in at least one of those years, and 40 percent had incomes that high for at least three."
 

pathstudent

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The median household income takes includes the income from all individuals over 18. It is 50k http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

The median individual income is like 30-40k. 2 workers in each household making that much comes out to like 80K per year. It is no shocker with the economic boom of that time period that these families may have made over 100k in one of those years. Here is the link to David Brooks quoting that stat.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/opinion/06brooks.html



"Over the last 10 years, 60 percent of Americans made more than $100,000 in at least one of those years, and 40 percent had incomes that high for at least three."
 

KluverB

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The median individual income is like 30-40k. 2 workers in each household making that much comes out to like 80K per year. It is no shocker with the economic boom of that time period that these families may have made over 100k in one of those years. Here is the link to David Brooks quoting that stat.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/opinion/06brooks.html



"Over the last 10 years, 60 percent of Americans made more than $100,000 in at least one of those years, and 40 percent had incomes that high for at least three."
Apparently Brooks's source (the Stephen Rose book he mentions) isn't out yet, but if you hunt around the interwebs you can find mention that this number is derived solely from the 26-59 year age group.
 

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I heard that path assistants command six figures right out of training. Is this true? Because I know some academic instructors who only make 70-80k and some assistant profs that make 125k. If this is true it pisses me off. They say path assistants make so much because they are in high demand due to low supply.
How is it that you're just now finding out about this?

Oh, wait, that's right...
 

2121115

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Because I know some academic instructors who only make 70-80k and some assistant profs that make 125k. If this is true it pisses me off.
It should piss you off that an academic institution would offer a board certified pathologist this much regardless of what path assistants make. Also, it should piss you off that a board certified expert pathologist has to agree to it.

It should really piss you off that a surgeon at an academic institution makes twice what a pathologist makes but in private practice they have similar incomes.
 

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I don't know of PAs making $100k out of training. I don't know of PAs making $100k. There may be some but they are probably PAs who have additional responsibilities (some run the grossing room, the histo lab, whatever). I was under the impression most made somewhere between $60k and $90k.

Starting "instructors" (or lecturers) at academic centers do often make something like $70k or $80k.
 

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I don't know of PAs making $100k out of training. I don't know of PAs making $100k. There may be some but they are probably PAs who have additional responsibilities (some run the grossing room, the histo lab, whatever). I was under the impression most made somewhere between $60k and $90k.

Starting "instructors" (or lecturers) at academic centers do often make something like $70k or $80k.
I think the $100k mark is set by location, a PA in San Francisco may make $110k out of training but one in Iowa makes $75k
 

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I think the $100k mark is set by location, a PA in San Francisco may make $110k out of training but one in Iowa makes $75k
FINALLY some common sense chimed in. location is key. certified PAs in the bay area can essentially demand 100K. And a group hiring a new PA essentially ends up paying whatever "the going rate is." Thus, the 100K phenomena persists.
But a quality PA is indeed priceless (mcfaddens, you know what i mean)
 

pathstudent

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All the pas at my university pull 100k. Bit I gurss ones in fly over country probably can't command that. I was just shocked that pas can earn more than faculty. But I also just read that anesthesia nurses can easily command 200k a year so a 100k for grossing sounds reasonible.
 

Unty

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How many hours do these PAs work a week (those that pull in 100K)...that's pretty damn good money for a PA...how long is PA school anyways?
 

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All the pas at my university pull 100k. Bit I gurss ones in fly over country probably can't command that. I was just shocked that pas can earn more than faculty. But I also just read that anesthesia nurses can easily command 200k a year so a 100k for grossing sounds reasonible.

The difference is that anesthesia nurses don't earn more than anesthesia faculty.
 
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Um no. Not insane. As someone astute has already pointed out, that's the very definition of market economics.
Um, trust me, I understand what market economics is, Mr. Astute. Yes, within the context of the academic arena, the salary paid to academic pathologists is market driven - but only within the context of the academic pathologist market. That salary is still well below the overall market value when considered in the wider context of the entire job market.

Obviously I was hyperbolizing by saying it is "insane" for an academic pathologist to accept a salary below (or even in the same general range as) a technical staff member. To me it seems crazy...to others it may not be. If someone chooses to make 100k-200 in academics rather than the 250k-750k+ that they would be worth in private practice, that's their decision.
 
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I don't know of PAs making $100k out of training. I don't know of PAs making $100k. There may be some but they are probably PAs who have additional responsibilities (some run the grossing room, the histo lab, whatever). I was under the impression most made somewhere between $60k and $90k.

Starting "instructors" (or lecturers) at academic centers do often make something like $70k or $80k.
I agree it would be rare for a PA to start at >100k unless they are in a very high cost of living area, but the more senior ones routinely make that much, at least in my experience.

Regardless of the specific numbers, the fact that an academic pathologist's salary is even in the same general range as a PA's is disturbing.
 

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Close half of all pathology residency programs and cut the number of residents in pathology from >500 per year to 250 per year and this situation will correct rapidly. Unfortunately pathology leadership is rife with people who IMO don't really give a d##n whether residents can get good paying jobs (Fred Silva, Mark Stoler, Jared Schwartz, Betsy Bennett) and who have taken no substantive action to improve the situation.
 
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2121115

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Close half of all pathology residency programs and cut the number of residents in pathology from >500 per year to 250 per year and this situation will correct rapidly. Unfortunately pathology leadership is rife with people who IMO don't really give a d##n whether residents can get good paying jobs (Fred Silva, Mark Stoler, Jared Schwartz, Betsy Bennett) and who have taken no substantive action to improve the situation.
I agree with this 100% but unfortunately this will never happen. My program (and many others) are currently in the process of increasing the number resident positions because the work in surgical pathology has been increasing. I would bet that over the entire country in the next few years there is going to be a stark increase in the number of pathology resident spots. Surgical path volumes nationally are going to increase and the number of residents needed to do the work will increase with it. Unfortunately the number of attendings needed to sign out the cases doesn't increase at the same rate as the residents needed to gross them in. This will only worsen the problem.
 

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I heard that path assistants command six figures right out of training. Is this true? Because I know some academic instructors who only make 70-80k and some assistant profs that make 125k. If this is true it pisses me off. They say path assistants make so much because they are in high demand due to low supply.
But but, I thought that for you it was all about helping your fellow men and advancing the knowledge about pink and blue stained pieces of glass... Please don't be pissed when a high school dropout has a better ride than you and gets home by 3:30 while you slave until 8.

That's disgusting. I'm out, see you in three years. Enjoy the prestige of academia, and make sure to send some of the prestige to pay your rent and student loan interests in lieu of the $$$.
 

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Close half of all pathology residency programs and cut the number of residents in pathology from >500 per year to 250 per year and this situation will correct rapidly.
I'm afraid all that would do is half the number of people available to gross the ever-increasing volume of surgical specimens, which would increase the value of PAs even more.

I have a fairly simple solution: have groups establish loan forgiveness programs for pathology residents who would rather operate as PAs than pathologists. This will both increase the supply of grossers and decreased the supply of pathologists.
 

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Better yet, have 10% of senior pathologists retire. That would open up multiple jobs immediately AND free up $ to provide a decent salary. Or have 20% retire and create a shortage of pathologist to really drive up the salaries.
 

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I have a fairly simple solution: have groups establish loan forgiveness programs for pathology residents who would rather operate as PAs than pathologists. This will both increase the supply of grossers and decreased the supply of pathologists.
Why hire a failed doctor when you can train your own newly minted B.S. grad on the job to gross exactly how you want?

Plus, your idea would be an unacceptable admission of failure on the part of the residency program: "You might as well become a PA." The programs need to foster hope to keep those fellowship positions filled.
 
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Close half of all pathology residency programs and cut the number of residents in pathology from >500 per year to 250 per year and this situation will correct rapidly. Unfortunately pathology leadership is rife with people who IMO don't really give a d##n whether residents can get good paying jobs (Fred Silva, Mark Stoler, Jared Schwartz, Betsy Bennett) and who have taken no substantive action to improve the situation.
No offense, but to call that an "easy fix" is not only naive but completely impractical. You can't just hide behind a simple-sounding statement like that and hope you will get any traction. While I agree that there are far too many residents, and too many weak programs, how would you decide which to close?

Are you going to base it on specimen volume? If so, you're going to eliminate quite a few great training programs. And you would let pass a lot of bad ones. Do you base it on fellowship #s? Same problem. Boards pass rate? Possibly, but most programs would qualify for that. How exactly would you make this decision? What is your timeline? How would you deal with programs you propose shuttering who meet all qualifications for having residents? Do you write new criteria? What are they?

To simply trash leadership and present your "easy fix" is completely unhelpful. So you are suggesting that other people do all of the heavy lifting and difficult decisionmaking? If it's such an "easy fix" then why don't you propose how to do it? Or is that someone else's job?

There is so much asinine blather on this forum. I guess the internet is great for that. Go ahead, call me an apologist or an idiot (despite the fact that I said I agree with the main crux of your statement). Make it somehow my fault instead of actually confronting difficult issues head on. Maybe raider will come back and tell me how stupid we all are in red type. I think other people have posted this before too, but do you guys honestly think you are helping the situation?
 

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Why hire a failed doctor when you can train your own newly minted B.S. grad on the job to gross exactly how you want?
If it were so easy there likely would be not such an imbalance of supply and demand for trained PAs.

Pathwrath said:
Plus, your idea would be an unacceptable admission of failure on the part of the residency program: "You might as well become a PA." The programs need to foster hope to keep those fellowship positions filled.
According to many on this forum the programs have never cared to date, and with an increasing flood of 2+ fellowship pathologists on the market, surely a few who self-divert into PAdom wouldn't be noticed.
 

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If it were so easy there likely would be not such an imbalance of supply and demand for trained PAs.



According to many on this forum the programs have never cared to date, and with an increasing flood of 2+ fellowship pathologists on the market, surely a few who self-divert into PAdom wouldn't be noticed.
Is there really a shortage of PA's or are you assuming one based on their salaries?

I think residents would notice people in their program dropping out of medicine. It looks really bad.

As for the underemployed 2+ diplomates, they hit the wall years after residency and therefore it's someone else's fault. Their own fault, according to the apologists here, anyway.
 

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Is there really a shortage of PA's or are you assuming one based on their salaries?
I have a number of reasons to think that PAs are undersupplied right now, and salary is certainly one of the factors.

Pathwrath said:
I think residents would notice people in their program dropping out of medicine. It looks really bad.
I'm not saying people would drop out, rather after graduating they would choose to work for groups in a capacity that involves primarily grossing duties. Since nobody seems to keep or display data on residency graduate activities, I don't see why residencies would suddenly start caring.
 

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I'm not saying people would drop out, rather after graduating they would choose to work for groups in a capacity that involves primarily grossing duties. Since nobody seems to keep or display data on residency graduate activities, I don't see why residencies would suddenly start caring.
I misread your original post. You wrote "pathology residents who would rather operate as PAs than pathologists."

Regardless, you are assuming this PA shortage is so severe that groups would pay off medical debt to land an overqualified grosser.
 

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The way many residents (and programs) prioritize grossing these days, a trained PA is probably a better option than a residency graduate who can't find a job, to be honest. I am not personally aware of any board-certified pathologist who is currently employed as a (full-time) grosser or "PA." I am sure they exist. Just like I am sure there are pathologists who are currently working as cytotechs. And that there are ER physicians who are working as EMTs. I am equally sure that where they do exist the reason for their existence is far more complicated than simply "the job market sucks" or "they suck as physicians." But complicated answers don't really do well on this forum - a complicated answer means you're an apologist or you're naive. Again, not helpful to make such dichotomous statements.


I have also heard that PAs are hard to find in some places, and often can get signing bonuses, etc. I do not know about the universal quality of PA training - whether there are programs which always put out good PAs, some that don't, etc. However, the difference between an excellent PA and a subpar PA is huge in terms of a group's bottom line. A good PA makes every pathologist in the group better and more efficient.
 
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As for the underemployed 2+ diplomates, they hit the wall years after residency and therefore it's someone else's fault. Their own fault, according to the apologists here, anyway.
Why do people on this forum insist on making everything into characterizations like this? To acknowledge that there are poor pathologists does not make one an apologist or academic plant or whatever you want to call it. It is merely acknowledging the truth. Have you seriously never met one of these people? There are board certified pathology graduates who are positively frightening to work with - either personality-wise or skills-wise. This is not apologist, this is not denialist, this is not anything except reality. To deny that these individuals exist is helping no one. It might make you feel better and make your argument sound stronger that the job market sucks, but to be honest it makes your opinion pretty much invalid because you are failing to acknowledge an important point.

Of course it is not true that everyone without a job has deficiencies that make them unqualified. That would be an asinine statement. I know of qualified people (who do not fit into the above category) that have trouble finding a job or a good job - although I do not personally know of anyone who failed to find any job and is looking at PA positions. The job market difficulties that people have are unacceptable - I agree.
 

2121115

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There are board certified pathology graduates who are positively frightening to work with - either personality-wise or skills-wise.
For someone who will be entering the job market in the coming months, what constitutes poor skills and how do employers assess for this? I assume checking references is one way. If you are required to look at slides on an interview does that mean that you had references that were less than stellar when the group called about you? Or are slide tests given regardless?
 
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For someone who will be entering the job market in the coming months, what constitutes poor skills and how do employers assess for this? I assume checking references is one way. If you are required to look at slides on an interview does that mean that you had references that were less than stellar when the group called about you? Or are slide tests given regardless?
No. I would say that groups that do slide tests do them irregardless of who you are (unless you are a well-established pathologist who is changing jobs). Our group would not do slide tests. But our group would also not hire an unknown commodity. We have hired new fellowship graduates.

Checking references is one way, as well as checking with non-references who might know you. Poor skills include overconfidence as well as underconfidence. Overconfidence is a huge problem for some people - some pathologists are quite arrogant and do not recognize their own limitations or weaknesses. Thus, they can be equally confident of incorrect diagnoses as they are of correct diagnoses. This is difficult to assess unless you work directly with a person, and can also be difficult to assess before the person is signing out on their own. This is part of the reason, unfortunately, that some groups only want to hire people with experience. Groups have also been burned by people who make good residents but make poor practicing pathologists - sometimes this is related to work ethic, sometimes it is related to confidence, sometimes it is related to lack of knowledge in certain important areas.

Poor skills also include poor communication - either poor english or simply antisocial behavior. Arrogance fits into this at times (sensing a trend?). Inefficiency is also a problem at times - you need to get work done and not dawdle or vacillate over every single thing you see.

In a sense, the most dangerous pathologists (IMHO) are the arrogant ones. Lots of people agree with me. Big surprise, arrogant people tend to disagree with that statement and they see their confidence as a plus. But they are missing the fact that arrogance and confidence do not go hand in hand.
 

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No. I would say that groups that do slide tests do them irregardless of who you are (unless you are a well-established pathologist who is changing jobs). Our group would not do slide tests. But our group would also not hire an unknown commodity. We have hired new fellowship graduates.

Checking references is one way, as well as checking with non-references who might know you. Poor skills include overconfidence as well as underconfidence. Overconfidence is a huge problem for some people - some pathologists are quite arrogant and do not recognize their own limitations or weaknesses. Thus, they can be equally confident of incorrect diagnoses as they are of correct diagnoses. This is difficult to assess unless you work directly with a person, and can also be difficult to assess before the person is signing out on their own. This is part of the reason, unfortunately, that some groups only want to hire people with experience. Groups have also been burned by people who make good residents but make poor practicing pathologists - sometimes this is related to work ethic, sometimes it is related to confidence, sometimes it is related to lack of knowledge in certain important areas.

Poor skills also include poor communication - either poor english or simply antisocial behavior. Arrogance fits into this at times (sensing a trend?). Inefficiency is also a problem at times - you need to get work done and not dawdle or vacillate over every single thing you see.

In a sense, the most dangerous pathologists (IMHO) are the arrogant ones. Lots of people agree with me. Big surprise, arrogant people tend to disagree with that statement and they see their confidence as a plus. But they are missing the fact that arrogance and confidence do not go hand in hand.
The phrase "Arrogant with insufficient cause" has been used to describe these people.