Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A nice easy week so far...

So this is the week of the AAPA conference, which means my boss is out of town enjoying all the continuing education opportunities and sight seeing available in Portland. Hopefully she's having a good time and not worrying too much about things back home... And as though the universe wanted me to not have to call her with any problems, it has been a relatively calm week. I've even been able to leave around 5, which has been great! I like being able to have everything done by then, some days it is harder since we accept specimens until then and I gross whatever comes in. And then there are other days when there aren't a lot of specimens but the ones I have are time consuming (oh colons and lymph node hunting, sometimes they are my worst enemy).

At some point I will have to worry about continuing education credits, but for now it is something to think about for the future. It is one of those things they told us about during second year that has been sort of filed away for future reference (I do remember that it is 45 credits in 3 years, and there are online ways to track your credits, etc). Conferences are a great way to get a lot of credits in a short amount of time, but they also come with a price tag and require time away from work/home/family.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fun things in jars...

Have I mentioned that my grossing station has an eyeball in a jar on it? It sits on the top shelf by the baby scale that doesn't get too much use (not to say that I'll never use it, but there is a really nice digital scale that has been able to measure everything I've put on it so far). I asked my boss why it was up there and she said it kept an eye on her, and now it would be watching me. I love pathology... you only get a certain type of person in pathology.

Picture stolen from the internet (not a testicle)
And I've gotten more testicles than I thought I would. Those are usually fun. I had one on rotations in school at one of the sites that was 147 grams (10-14 gm being normal), which is still my personal record for weight. I had to have my boss come in to look at one of the testicles too, because it was just not what I was used to seeing on one...which leads to the next point....

My boss is going to the AAPA conference in Portland next week so I'll be all alone!... well, except for the pathologists who are right across the hall and very nice about answering questions. So... that was needlessly melodramatic. Still, it is comforting having her on hand for advice and tips. But, hopefully there is nothing too out of the norm while she's gone.

In personal news, the car accident is still causing annoyances. I have to go to court on Thursday as a witness against the lady who hit me unless she pays her ticket between now and then. Every day I call, but she still hasn't paid it. In the month and a half I've been employed I've missed one day for the accident itself and this will be my second time being late arriving (with notice) because of it. Thank goodness I have my mornings free for the physical therapy appointments (which are helping somewhat) so all they're costing me are gas and time out of my life.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pathologists' Assistant Program in California?

Looks like Drexel University Sacramento is starting up a program on the west coast starting Spring of 2014. You can attend an online information seminar on October 2nd (sign up link), or go in person if you're local.

That's interesting! Especially considering how many job openings there usually are in California.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Direct feedback, work load, and random life news

A big difference between the learning environment and work is that if there is a problem, issue, or concern with a specimen then the feedback goes to me directly rather than through a staff PA (although, at the VA we were sitting in on sign out so that feedback was pretty direct). Sometimes things get filtered through my boss (ie: use "portion" instead of "fragment", things like that), but other times I look up to see a pathologist standing there holding a slide with a comment to make (ex: only one section of fallopian tubes for sterilization, that's all they need for verification...). Generally it is a fairly painless process and over pretty quickly. I'm glad that they're comfortable giving feedback and I'm working on keeping everything in mind.

Technically my hours are 1-5, but I'm getting leeway with that as I get up to speed. I tend to arrive around 12:30 and leave somewhere between 5 and 6. Every day there are some placentas (I think the highest so far in a single day was 11, but that was after a weekend), there are GIs, gallbladders, appendixes, and ortho specimens (humeral or femoral heads, knees, amputations). There are regularly hysterectomy specimens (the most in a single day has been four), segments of bowel for tumor or non-neoplastic (sometimes a couple a day), and a smattering of *breast cases. Sometimes there are kidneys, segments of lung, and the standard small larges. Oddly... not a lot of tonsils, but I guess those mostly go to an out patient surgery center somewhere.

Fuel economy makes a huge difference....
So... following up to my previous car accident announcement. My crossover was totaled (completely heartbreaking) and I'm still dealing with aches and pains (and an annoying host of medications) from it. But luckily, the gross room was set up for my boss after she had neck surgery so it is probably more ergonomic than it would have been otherwise. And I bought a new car, or rather a new used car since with my current commute I'd put a minimum of 37,000 miles on a car per year and a brand new one would lose all value after me having it for a year. I was shopping solely for fuel economy because of the 140 mile a day commute, so it ruled out most vehicles. I also needed something that would fit my human family plus my 120 lb dog, which ruled out sedans. I ended up with a hatchback Honda hybrid (alliteration!). The upside is that it saves me around $12 a day in gas costs (seriously...), the downside is that I really loved my old car and the space it gave me. Before the accident the idea had been floated to keep my old car and get a small commuter car, but the accident expedited the latter part and negated the former. Oh well. In a few years maybe technology will allow me to have a larger vehicle with excellent fuel economy.

*They use gel foam in the biopsy cavities, which makes it really easy to find the previous biopsy site. I'm a fan of that. Less of a fan that we don't have radiology on demand--it is easy to get spoiled with things like that... UNC had the capabilities in the gross room, they could do a quick scan to make sure they'd gotten all the staples out of an anastomosis section.