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Outside the Lab Clinical care, Profession

Taking the (Pre-Residency) Plunge

In my third year, I did a four-week rotation: two weeks each of AP and CP. That first introduction allowed me to see and appreciate the daily work flow of anatomic pathologists in practice in an academic setting; observe autopsies to see the anatomic principles of disease; and explore the different problems encountered in each subspecialty anatomic service. Because I had the opportunity to observe the interactions between clinicians and pathologists, I felt I gained a better understanding of the various roles of laboratory personnel (from residents and fellows to lab managers) and of the clinical laboratories themselves (where they are, who works in them, and what they each process). I was also given the chance to explore clinical consultation questions, troubleshoot errors in analytical tests, and learn about quality assurance and improvement outcomes. By the end of my rotation, I felt I understood the perspective of the pathologist when specific consultation questions arise – something that would stand any physician from any specialty in good stead.

In my fourth year, I did two stints in pathology. The first was a four-week rotation in dermatopathology, which was amazing because it let me dive deep into a single subspecialty for a prolonged period of time. I saw as many specimens as a typical resident on the service and learned about the difference between diagnosis in dermatopathology versus other anatomic disciplines. I then did four weeks of anatomic pathology so that I could improve my skills with “bread and butter” surgical pathology cases, learn basic grossing techniques, attend daily lectures, and see as many interesting cases as possible.

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About the Author

Austin McHenry

Austin McHenry is a medical student at Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago, USA.

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