NSH Member, Laura Slack, shares her story, of how she got into histology.
How I got Into Histology
By: Laura Slack
I got my first introduction to histology while pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in General Biology. I needed an internship to complete my degree and just by chance a friend of mine was close to a pathologist at Lake West Hospital. When I was telling her about my need for an internship, she contacted the pathologist and just like that I was able to spend 10 weeks in the laboratory at Lake West. I spent two weeks in each area which included hematology, chemistry, microbiology, the blood bank, and the histology lab.
While each area of the lab is interesting in its own way, I found myself drawn to histology. I was fascinated with the way the techs so efficiently and seemingly effortlessly cut multiple blocks, made perfect ribbons, and picked everything up on a slide. They allowed me to try cutting some sections and I soon realized it was much harder than it looked! But it was then that I decided I was going to pursue a career in histotechnology.
“They allowed me to try cutting some sections and I soon realized it was much harder than it looked! But it was then that I decided I was going to pursue a career in histotechnology."
Despite holding a BS in biology, I chose to enroll in the two-year histotechnology program at Lakeland Community College. I learned right away that there was much more to histology than just cutting blocks and making slides. Going through the program rather than just attempting to take the exam with no background was the best decision I could have made. Not only did I get to learn theory and technique from professors who are currently working, or have worked in the field, but I was also set up with a clinical experience that not only gave me true first-hand knowledge of how a histology lab operates, but I also was offered a full-time position at my clinical site right after graduation.
The best thing I have found about working in histology is that you are doing something that is so important for the patient. Giving the pathologists the tools they need to make a diagnosis is an extremely satisfying and rewarding experience. Knowing that I’m a part of helping a patient get the best care possible has solidified that going to Lakeland Community College to pursue an Associate’s Degree in histotechnology was the best decision I have ever made.
Have your own unique histology story? Share it in the comments section!