As you advance in your career, make sure you continually expand your skill set and knowledge base, and learn everything you can from each new situation. Hear from two ASCP pathologists and a laboratory professional about how they developed valuable attributes that helped them to progress in their careers.
“Remember that patient care does not stop with the pathologic diagnosis. Work closely with your healthcare providers by attending tumor boards, fielding clinical questions etc. This relationship between you and your clinical colleagues is important to establish trust. Don’t be afraid to take on responsibilities you didn’t learn in training, such as being a laboratory director or optimizing laboratory testing. You may find these tasks you didn’t learn in medical school are the most rewarding/favorite part of your job. Remember, when you are looking at a patient’s slides, at that moment, you are the most important person in that patient’s life. What you determine their diagnosis to be could alter their life drastically. Take your time, and look at each case thoroughly. Remember to enjoy your job as this is what you have worked so hard to achieve!”
Tara Nikole Miller, MD, FASCP
“Having a career in pathology is exciting and rewarding. We have the benefit of providing critical information to patients and clinicians to help ensure the best treatment is provided. Pathology is so diverse and all aspects are rewarding. Try to find something you love within the field and pursue it! As a resident, I tried to embrace every rotation and learn what I could from each area. I now realize every rotation was important to my training, and all those skills make me a better pathologist. Regardless of the point you are in your career, say yes to projects that come your way and try to learn everything you can from every new situation. You might find a new passion! Use your mentors and people you admire in the field. Pathologists tend to be supportive of each other, and my mentors helped set me on a successful course. Be as involved as you can. Serving on national committees, attending conferences, and communicating with other pathologists keeps me engaged and excited about my work. Finally, just enjoy being a pathologist; you are doing important work and providing useful information to patients!”
Jennifer L. Pincus, MD, FASCP
“Valuable attributes for any individual seeking to advance their career in pathology and laboratory medicine are versatility and a strong character. Versatility, in the context of laboratory medicine, means to expand your scope; cross-train in as many areas of the lab as you can to build up your skill-set. Always be looking to advance your knowledge base and seek out opportunities to display an enthusiasm for growth to your institution and any affiliated professional organizations. The increased value you gain through these proactive self-investments is critical for being noticed and set apart in the industry, when in consideration for advancement. In addition, consistently display a strong character in the workplace. Someone viewed as always having a humble, positive, and respectful demeanor by all their associates and colleagues will have those traits reflected in how they are viewed, when given consideration for additional responsibilities or an advanced role. Exhibiting traits such as being quick to help others, accepting criticism constructively and demonstrating trustworthiness will build strong connections with others that will stay with you, and it will certainly have the potential to positively impact your future.”
Andy Stanton, CT(ASCP)CM