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Outside the Lab Profession, Training and education

The Value of Social Media in Pathology

Our lives are growing increasingly social – in digital and virtual ways. Where does this leave medical students, pathology residents, and the lab community as a whole? Social media can bring us together for education, celebration, and perhaps even one more opportunity to give potential residency match programs a good impression.

For most students starting medical school, pathology is an unknown; their M1 year is their first-ever exposure to the field. They get an introduction to H&E stains, normal histology, and maybe learn about a few basic pathologic entities and their appearance under the microscope. Students quickly learn that pathologists are not typically out and about on the wards; rather, they are “behind the scenes” making diagnoses on specimens and performing the occasional fine needle aspiration or autopsy. As they progress through medical school, the beauty of pathology as a field of medicine is not well-communicated. Even if medical students happen to cross paths with a passionate, education-oriented pathologist in their preclinical years, the extreme stress of studying for Step 1 exams (and the resulting intellectual and emotional fatigue) often eliminates any good memories of pathology. During clerkships, students frequently see pathologists used as the punchline of jokes about “antisocial” personalities. These experiences conjure visions of a dark, dingy hospital basement and solitary practitioners wearing tweed coats adorned with elbow patches, sitting at their microscopes and reviewing slides with nothing but their thoughts for company. This small glimpse paints a horrible picture of the stereotypical pathologist – quiet, introverted… and lonely. The pathologist has come to be known as the antisocial doctor.

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About the Authors

Emily Towery

Incoming pathology resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Philip Hurst

Incoming pathology resident at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.

Matthew Luo

Incoming pathology resident at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Brett Kurpiel

Incoming pathology resident at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

Kamran Mirza

Kamran Mirza is Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and SCOPE faculty liaison at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, USA.

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