Sunday, 8 September 2013

Gallbladders, Microtomy and an Upcoming Trip!


My first week of clinical is done! It was definitely a week of firsts. I am in Histology this month and went though the first few days shadowing the Lab Assistants to see the flow of work, how specimens are processed and received. It was nice to get eased into the work rather than thrown to the wolves in the first few minutes! Here are some noteworthy things I was able to do this week:

1) I grossed skin specimens (for the first time) for processing. It was interesting to learn about the different types of specimens and how they differ when being grossed. Excisions, shaves and punches all have different methods and needs. It also depends if there are stitches in the tissue or if they are suspecting melanoma. It might sound boring to the average person but it's amazing how much goes into making sure the appropriate samples are taken for diagnosis.

2) I got to cut open a gall bladder that was filled with a huge 25mm stone. The gall bladder was about 3X the size of a "typical" gallbladder and the person much have been in tremendous pain as there was also a stone lodged in the neck. Key note: It's important to make sure you squeeze all the bile out before cutting... it can get a bit messy.

3) I started microtomy this weekend. Yes, the dreaded microtomy... but you know what? Everything went well! The wax was good, the tissues were soft and the blades were sharp. I am a little rusty but I was able to cut 60 slides in just over 3 hours today on my 2nd day, which I was happy with. 90% of the blocks require serials with most being 3x so they are more time-consuming than a 1x block.  Apparently I have a static issue because a few of the ribbons were sticking to my hands so I need to figure out if I carry some kind of mystical charge that causes this issue. I had problems with static in my school's microtomy lab but figured it was just the environment... apparently it's me! Perhaps I will need to ground myself before cutting next time or I'll have to pick up one of those "ion" bracelelts.
Me plus static + wax= bad

Lastly, I was awarded a OneLab Travel Grant from the American Society of Clinical Pathology to attend the 2013 General Meeting in Chicago! I blogged about the conference earlier this year when they announced that Hillary Clinton will be the Keynote speaker and my dream to attend.  I applied for the grant on a whim thinking I wouldn't have a chance as a international member but I am thrilled I was selected!  I'll be missing a few days of my clinical for the conference as it's from Sept 18-21st, which is why I have been working at the lab this past weekend to make up time. It's worth giving up some of my weekends to have such a great opportunity. I'm really doing the conference circuit this year since I went to LabCon2013 in back in May.

If you want to follow along, I'll of course being tweeting using @MedLabMaven and @kurchenko. You can also follow the hashtag #ASCP13 on Twitter and Facebook. They will be livecasting some of the events so I recommend heading over to their Facebook page to see which ones you can catch!

Also, if you're going to be at the ASCP conference, feel free to reach out and perhaps we can connect!



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