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Expectations and essentials for the community practice of pathology


In 3 surveys during the past 10 years, community hospital pathologists were asked what they want, need, or look for when employing a pathologist and, more specifically, what skills and knowledge a newly minted pathologist should have to be successful in the community practice of pathology. The most recent survey, done in spring of 2005, cited surgical pathology diagnosis, frozen section diagnosis, dissection, and fine-needle aspiration as essentials in anatomic pathology. For clinical gross, cytology, pathology, knowledge of clinical medicine and test strategies that use the laboratory for clinical problem solving was paramount. New expectations in the latest survey were knowledge of molecular pathology and experience in quality assurance procedures. New pathologists generally meet the expectations of the community hospital workplace; however, there were some deficiencies: they were not proficient in gross pathology or autopsy pathology, they were slow, and many lack the clinical knowledge and experience to be effective consultants. The principal attribute that determines success in the practice of pathology, however, is skill in communication and interpersonal relations, and this remains the major deficiency of the fledgling pathologist. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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