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Career in Pathology

Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease or injury. The word

‘Pathology’ also refers to the study of disease in general, incorporating a wide range of bioscience research fields and medical practices. When used in the context of modern medical treatment, the term is often used in the context of modern medical treatment, the term is often used in a more narrow fashion to refer to processes and tests which fall within the contemporary medical field of “general pathology”, an area which includes a number of distinct inter-related medical specialties that diagnose disease, mostly through analysis of tissue, cell and body fluid samples.


Idiomatically, ‘a pathology’ may also refer to the predicted or actual progression of particular diseases, and the affix pathy is sometimes used to indicate a state of disease in cases of both physical ailment and psychological conditions. A physician practicing pathology is called a Pathologist.

WHO IS A PATHOLOGIST?

A Pathologist is the specialist who conducts various tests and examine the cause of a particular disease to inform the respective doctors on medication and cure. They are also called Anatomic Pathologist, Attending Pathologist, Pathology Laboratory Director.

A Pathologist examine microscopic samples to identify diseases or other abnormalities, diagnose diseases or study medical conditions using techniques such as gross pathology, histology, cytology, cytopathology, clinical chemistry, immunology, flow cytometry or molecular biology. He writes pathology reports summarizing analyzes, results, and conclusions.


WHAT DOES A PATHOLOGIST DO?

While a Pathologist’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role, based on the analysis of job listings, these include: -

• Analyze and test samples:

Using microscopic and other testing tools, pathologists analyze samples of blood, urine, tissue and other body specimens and run tests. They use their understanding of diseases to look for abnormalities in samples that could indicate the patient has a blood disorder, cancer or other condition.


• Ensure accurate test results:

To prevent accuracy issues, pathologists first calibrate testing equipment to ensure it performs within standards. When running tests, they also use checklists, medical software and retests to get thorough and precise results.


• Diagnose Diseases:

Using information gathered through tests and analyses, pathologists determine the most likely disease diagnosis and communicate this to the patient’s physician. They also may suggest potential treatment options.


• Write reports:

Usually using electronic medical record software, pathologists write thorough pathology reports describing the specimens tested, results of all tests, and the diagnosis.


• Perform research:

Pathologists conduct regular research to stay current with ways to identify and treat diseases. They can use their findings to make new tests and develop treatment options.

WHAT IS THE WORKPLACE OF A PATHOLOGIST LIKE?

Pathologists often work in hospitals, medical pathologists can also be found in clinics, medical schools and military and government agencies. They are considered the ‘doctor’s doctor’, because they aid doctors in making diagnosis, treatment and management decisions in hospitals and clinics. They may teach or do laboratory work or research. They are employed by government agencies associated with agriculture, public health, law enforcement and many other fields.

KNOWLEDGE AREAS THAT NEED TO BE ACQUIRED

Medicine and Dentistry – Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases and deformities.

Biology – Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cell functions, interactions with each other and the environment.

English Language – Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar.

Administration and Management – Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modelling, leadership technique and coordination of people and resources.

Computers and Electronics – Knowledge of circuit board processors, chips, computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Education and training – Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Customer and personal service – Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services.

Personnel and human resources – Knowledge of principles and procedures for personal recruitment, selection, training, labor relations and negotiation and personnel information systems.

Chemistry – Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of chemical processes and transformations that they undergo.

PsychologyKnowledge of human behaviour and performance, individual differences in ability, personality, interests, learning and motivation, psychological research methods, and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.

SKILLS AND ABILITIES

Skills: -

BASIC SKILLS

• Listening to others, not interrupting and asking good questions.

• Reading work related information.


PROBLEM SOLVING

• Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.


PEOPLE AND TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS

• Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.

• Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.


Abilities: -

VERBAL

• Listen and understand what people say.

• Communicate by speaking.


IDEAS AND LOGIC

• Make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information.

• Notice when problems happen.


VISUAL UNDERSTANDING

• See hidden patterns

• Quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures or other things.


MEMORY

• Remember words, numbers, pictures or steps.

Pathologists should have qualities like accurate, with an eye for detail, analytical with problem solving skills and able to work well under pressure.

They also possess skills like excellent at data analysis and interpretation, good at communicating and good at report writing.


They should have detailed knowledge of physiology, pathophysiology and all medical sciences.

They should be able to understand the nature, cause, development and clinical management of diseases in people and the structural and functional changes caused by them.

DETAILED WORK ACTIVITIES

Pathologists are specialized physicians that undertake research and testing of medical specimens for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Pathologists do not work directly with patients, but they do assist medical practitioners in diagnosing their patients’ illness and developing treatment plans.

To be successful as a pathologist, a person must have an enquiring mind, extensive medical knowledge of diseases in their specialty , and remain current in all research and testing methods.


• Performing specimen analysis by using laboratory tools and equipment, in order to study samples and perform tests to accurately analyze bodily fluids and tissue specimens.

• Looking for abnormalities in samples that evidence disease and conveying this information to the relevant medical practitioner.

• Using checklists, medical software and retesting to get thorough and precise results.

• Suggesting potential treatment options.

• Writing pathology reports detailing specimens tested, results of tests, and the final diagnosis.

• Undertaking research to improve identification and testing methods and finding innovative ways to treat disease.

• Staying up to date with developments in the fields of pathology and medical practice.

PERSONALITY

People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.

Work Styles

Attention to detailJob requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Dependability Job requires being reliable, responsible, dependable and fulfilling obligations.

Analytical thinkingJob requires analyzing information and using logic to address work related issues and problems.

Integrity Job requires being honest and ethical.

Achievement / effort Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

IndependenceJob requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Stress toleranceJob requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

Initiative Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Persistence Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Cooperation Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good natured, cooperative attitude.

Work values

Achievement Occupations that satisfy this work value are result oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability utilization and achievement.

Independence Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Recognition Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Working conditionsOccupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working conditions.

Support Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Relationships Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

EDUCATION

To become a Pathologist, the person requires a science background with Physics, Chemistry and Biology combination. Thereafter, you should first complete the MBBS degree from a reputed medical college. Once, it is done, the person can opt for specialization in pathology. Or can also choose to do Pathology at the Undergraduate level.

To be eligible for joining MBBS course, one should be 10, +2 class pass with Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PCB) as main subjects and for institutions with at least 60% marks.


Courses for Pathologist:

• M. D. (Pathology)

• M. SC. Med. Tech. (Microbiology)

• M. SC. Med. Tech. (Pathology)

• Ph.D. (Pathology)

• Ph.D. (Speech pathology and Audiology)

• Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Pathology

• Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Pathology – D. C. P


Entrance exams for Pathologist

• All India Institute of Medical Sciences MBBS Entrance Exam.

• All India Pre-Medical or Pre-Dental Entrance Examination.

• Armed Forces Medical College Entrance Examination.

• BHU Medical Entrance Exam for MBBS / BDS / BAMS / B. Pharm.

• Delhi University Super- Specialty Entrance Test.

• Haryana Pre-Medical Test

• Madhya Pradesh Pre-Medical Test


Fees and other expenditures

Although varying from institute to institute, the total course fee for an MBBS degree and then specializations ranges from any here from few thousands at a government college to around Rs 20 lakhs and even higher in private institutes. But during specialization, brilliant students can get scholarships or even stipend is available for those opting for research work in Pathology and other fields.

JOB OUTLOOK

A Pathologist can expect a starting monthly salary anywhere between Rs 15000 to Rs 25000 depending upon the competence of individual Pathologist. The average pay for a Pathologist is INR 2,481,631 a year and INR 1,193 an hour in India. The average salary range for a Pathologist is between INR 1,676, 570 and INR 3,345,449. On average, a Doctorate Degree is the highest level of education for a Pathologist.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is some good advice for Pathology students?

One of the most widely perceived benefits of a career in Pathology is its good lifestyle. Incoming trainees are generally of the opinion that pathology offers flexibility and a good work life balance. In fact, 43 percent of residents in one survey listed it as a primary reason for their choice of specialty. Pathologists among have the highest job satisfaction. Less than one in three Pathologists surveyed are “happy” at work.


What are the various designations?

The various designations of a pathologist include, Medical Examiner, Consultants, Cytotechnologist, Dermatopathologist, Forensic Technician, Professors, Mortuary Assistant and Medical lab technician.


Is a Pathologist a doctor?

A Pathologist is a physician who studies body fluids and tissues, helps a person’s primary care doctor make a diagnosis about his / her health or any medical problems he / she have, and uses laboratory tests to monitor the health of patients with chronic conditions.


Is Pathology a good career?

The job outlook for Pathologists is very good. There is likely to be competition for teaching jobs in universities, but there should be new jobs for pathologists in research and medical laboratory work. Jobs will be plentiful in private industry, large hospitals and medical centers.


What are the specializations in Pathology?

The major specializations in Pathology includes Chemical Pathology, Neuro pathology, Forensic Pathology, Surgical Pathology, Medical Microbiology, Blood Banking / Transfusion Medicine, Haematology, Cytopathology, Dermatopathology, Paediatric Pathology, Veterinary Pathology and Plant Pathology.


Is pathology a science or an art?

Pathology is both science and art. Every day, Pathologists look at shapes and colours on slides. Aside from the very crucial diagnosis that this analysis delivers, it can also bring the artist out in a person, triggering a comparison of what they see through the microscope with a completely unrelated image or encouraging the picking up of a paint brush. Pathologists are enjoying sharing their artistic observations and stunning images.


What is the role of Pathologist in the field of Oncology?

The pathologists determine the precise type and severity (stage) of the cancer and may also work with other members of the care team to recommend a treatment strategy that include observation, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these approaches.

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