Accreditation experience obtained through working in CAP accredited laboratories, proved critical to my transition to an academic role as Program Director for a NAACLS accredited histologic science program. Preparing your laboratory or program for an inspection can seem a daunting experience, yet obtaining the skills necessary to do so can make that experience seamless. For example, any inspection in the field of histology warrants an eye for detail, critical thinking and direct technical expertise; all foundational (and transferable) skills of the histotechnician. As a Program Director, accreditation of the histology program involved maintaining accreditation standards through submission of annual reports, writing a self-study, and ensuring all documentation was in order. My technical skillset and years of experience in the field of histology, allowed me to transition to an academic position. My experience as an educator and program director allowed me to grow in leadership, and transition to my current position as an Assistant Dean for a School of Health; a clear demonstration of how an evolving skillset can create a career path.
It is important that histotechnicians planning their career path broaden their lens beyond the technical skillset. Navigating a global pandemic taught us to think creatively, while encouraging many of us to reevaluate our careers. With this in mind, the ability to demonstrate critical thinking, understanding the “whys” of the work we do, and leadership, prepares the histotechnician to move forward, while simultaneously allowing growth within a current position. Regardless of where one’s career path takes them, the histotechnician with a strong technical foundation, and the ability to demonstrate competency in areas outside of that skillset, is the histotechnician of today. Be that histotechnician.
Written by Kelli Goodkowsky, HT(ASCP), M.Ed.