Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First day

Today was my first day in Clinical Placement.

Technically that started yesterday but that was mainly orientation, meeting with Human Resources and so on. The real work, in the labs, began today and I was in Histology.

Histology is the study of tissues. So if you find a lump somewhere a lump should not be, and if the doctors do a biopsy of it, the little bit they take out is sent to the histology department (or pathology department, as it's sometimes called). We get to process the little bit into such a form that the pathologist can look at it under a microscope and tell whether the lump is a bad lump that needs to be removed before it makes any more lumps.

One thing I always liked about medical laboratory technology was the distance it maintained between the lab and the patients, because while empathy is important, a certain degree of detachment is also necessary to go about your work. You can't start feeling for everyone, or you'll burn out. In medical laboratory technology, samples are delivered to the lab in labeled containers and results go out in printed or digital reports, which is fine by me... but in histology, some of those samples are very recognizable as once having been on people.

And sometimes they are people. There is a chance I may see an autopsy. Not quite sure what to think or feel about this, although the staff at the hospital are very kind and would understand if I had to leave halfway through the procedure. Actually, they'd probably prefer that to my keeling over and needing to be carried out.

Anyway, that was my first day. I wasn't rushed off my feet, but there's a lot to know and study about the discipline. And future jobs depend on this first impression, so I have to work hard.

Wish me luck, everyone. :)

Image from:


Angela Ackerman said...

I imagine some days will be tougher than others. But, with a husband who has his body mapped every year for skin cancer, people like you are so needed, because hopefully for many things might be caught before skin cancer progresses too far.


Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Marian Perera said...

Thanks, Angela! And here's to your husband's continuing health. Partly because Med Lab is so behind-the-scenes, it's good to be reminded of the people whom we work for.

Maria Zannini said...

Congrats on your new post.

I think you need a certain amount of distance to remain objective--as long as you remember there's a human behind those lumps.

colbymarshall said...

I am so silly--even though I knew what this post was about, when I read "the study of tissue" I immediately thought of Kleenex! Come on, brain! Wake up!

Marian Perera said...

Thanks, Maria! I think the reality of dealing with patients will be brought home to me when it's my turn in the venipuncture clinic, though. *shiver* But for now, I find it all fascinating, and the other staff look amused sometimes - it's probably been a while since they were excited to go down to OR to pick up a specimen. :)

Colby - some of those tissues could be confused for Kleenex, they're so delicate. God help you if you sneeze or even breathe hard when you're working with them.