COVID-19: A Histology Recruiter's Perspective

By: Pam Barker, RELIA Solutions


Here’s an update from outside looking in:

It seems that things are changing on an almost daily basis. I have been monitoring social media - personal connections and histology related groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and have been staying in touch with many of my active candidates and customers.

I have received a lot of questions about what is going on with the career aspect of histology at this time.

Here is a summary of what I have observed and experienced so far:

Histotechs supporting “non-essential surgeries” i.e. Derm and GI private practices:

  • Some are experiencing cuts in hours and/or are using the time to catch up on backlogs and lab maintenance.

  • Many are being furloughed with the expectation of being called back to work once “the all clear is given”.

  • Start dates for new employees are being postponed until further notice.

Traveling Histotechs - Histotechs that are working as contractors nationwide:

  • Most of the travel techs I have heard from have been grounded, meaning sent home until further notice.

  • Some seem confident that they will be returning to their assignments as they are looking for PRN positions for now and some have decided to return to permanent positions as they were given no indication that they would get a new assignment.

Hospital based histotechs:

  • Some are being furloughed.

  • Some are having their hours reduced.

  • Some are job sharing, meaning if they have a regular staff of 4 techs they take turns 2 at a time, working for a week, while the other 2 stay home.

  • Some are being used in other areas, for example, if they have experience in phlebotomy they are moving to that department.

Research, Academia and Pharmaceuticals:

I haven't heard much from our colleagues in research, academic and pharmaceutical areas, but from what I understand they are maintaining social distancing in their labs and are busy working on and or supporting the COVID-19 response.

What I glean from this, and bear in mind this only an opinion on my part based on what I have heard anecdotally; it seems that the best case scenario at this point is there was a shortage of histotechs before the pandemic and there will be just as great a need after the pandemic, in other words we are just pressing pause.

I have also been doing a lot of research on coping with job loss and other stressors associated with living with this pandemic and there seems to be a common theme I would like to share: To stay positive, live in the moment, and plan ahead!

Stay Positive:

Just Remember…

Things will get better. This will end. We will return to our normal lives.

In the meantime…

Live in the moment

If you are off of work this could be a great time to re-evaluate your career.

  • Are you doing what you love?

  • Are you doing it in an environment that you love?

  • Are you working with a team you love?

  • Is it time to think about your next career move i.e. online classes or another certification?

  • Are you thinking about moving from temp to perm or perm to temp?

All you have now is time… Use it to research, re-evaluate, re-assess what will make you stronger, smarter – better than you were before, in every aspect of your life.

It is also a great time for self-improvement, or self-care.

  • At-home workouts – the internet is a treasure trove of workout classes, many are free of charge and being offered by top instructors you might not ever get to take a class with otherwise.

  • Embrace a hobby – Dive into doing what you love while you have the time or try that hobby you always wanted to try and never had time for.

  • When was the last time you played a board game or read a book for pleasure?

Now is also the time to plan ahead…

As unprecedented as this pandemic has been it is also a good time to look at how to plan ahead for future stressors whatever they might be.

Here is what I plan on doing to plan ahead for the future:

  • I will be asking my clients how they handled COVID -19 and what did they do for their employees.

  • Even MORE importantly I will be asking them what their strategy will be for their employees in the future, if or when something like this was to strike again.

Some ideas for planning ahead for you:

  • Do you have licensure or experience in another career field-if so update that skill in case you need it in the future.

  • Do you have the time to earn another certification or take a class towards a degree?

Across the board and in every discipline, the message is the same. Now is the time to:

To stay positive, live in the moment, and plan ahead

If you are in need of immediate assistance here are some helpful links:

Stay Safe and Well


Pam Barker


RELIA Solutions

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