News & Announcements

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Anatomic Pathology Laboratory is where cancer investigation is carried out. It is here, cytology and tissue samples pass through complex procedures to reach the pathologist for interpretation. The pathologist receives stained slides that obtained sections mounted on the slide from the paraffin block. And in the case of cytology samples, they only receive smeared and stained slides. Therefore, it is imperative for these cassettes, blocks, and slides to be identified in a fashion that is informative and clearly understandable to all of the individuals handling that material. This applies to the laboratory and institution where those blocks and slides have been ...
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I shared in my previous post that histotechnology shortages have reached critical status and believe the published data are lagging indicators. For the techs reading this blog post, we are stating the obvious. We initially looked at the macro trends driving employment shortages throughout the United States, including demographics and a pandemic that is quickly approaching its third year.  NSH leadership has been reviewing as much histotechnician and histotechnology data as we can gather. A fundamental question is do we have enough seats in the NAACLS HT(ASCP), and HTL(ASCP) approved programs to fill immediate and future workforce needs. We believe that answer ...
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In a recent Histology Professionals Facebook post, a group member asked the question, “W hat is something that you wish you would’ve been taught at the beginning of your histology career?” Several thread participants shared their tips for using dish soap to help with fatty sections. To keep fatty sections from blowing up in your water bath, rub a bit of Dawn-type dishwashing liquid between your fingers and tap the area where you will place your section on the soap-treated finger. The viscosity of the soap will help hold the section together long enough to pick up the section. Another tip shared was that a bit of reagent alcohol in your water bath would also ...
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There are several different classifications of silver stains a histologist can use in the lab. The silver stain classifications refer to the physicochemical reactions involved between the stain solutions and the tissue constituents. The four major categories are Argentaffin methods, Argyophilic methods, silver oxidation-reduction stains, and impregnation stains. For example, an Argentaffin stain, which is similar to a Fontana-Masson stain, can be used to identify melanomas and carcinoids because certain tissue elements, if present, can alter the ionic silver and change it to a metallic silver. The following chart outlines four silver stain classifications and ...
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Workforce shortages in the lab have reached critical status. During the 2021 Clinical Laboratory Legislative Symposium and the Fall 2021 ASCP Board of Certification Board of Governors meetings, staffing shortages and workforce development were top of mind. The data surrounding workforce is shifting faster than we can collect or document it accurately. We believe the data we do have is a lagging indicator of what is happening. To understand our current situation we need to look at external macro drivers first. NSH has used the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Foundation’s Foresight Works on strategic drivers to evaluate its strategic plan. ...
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In August of 2021, Janice Cook attended the NSH Emerging Leadership Course.  Below she shares her learned insights for dealing with conflict when it arise First, take a deep breath, and if you are upset, wait so you can address the person/group when you can stay calm.  When a conflict arises in the lab, below are tools you can use to calm the situation and deal with it in a positive manners in the lab. Instead of confronting the whole group at the same time, listen to each person’s opinion/side of the story individually first When you acknowledge the conflict with everyone together, you should then break into smaller units, and have each unit come up ...
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What to teach and how long to teach it is the question that many educators and professional development managers often ask themselves.  Believe it or not, the answer to this question can change from year to year – or even class to class.  Those in charge of education often rely on resources like ASCP content outlines or CAP checklists to guide their educational decisions. While those are great resources, they often include A LOT of information you may not have the time to cover, or the learner may not be interested in learning (because they are already comfortable with the topic).   One great tool to help makes these decisions are short assessments based on one ...
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Each year, NSH accepts applications from Student Members for the opportunity to receive a $500 scholarship. Applicants must be enrolled in a NAACLS approved histology program. Winners of the scholarship can then use the money from the scholarship to help cover costs associated with pursuing their career in Histology.  The scholarships were sponsored by Avantik, Epredia, Sakura Finetek, Newcomer Supply, and NSH. The winners of the 2021 NSH Scholarships are Laura Cutting, Emily DiGeronimo, Cythina Hurado, Sarah Kelley, Michael von Friedrich. Three of the recipients took the time to answer a few questions about their careers and how they will use the scholarship ...
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Histologists play an essential role in the overall process and outcome for a patient receiving CAR T-Cell therapy.  CAR T-Cell therapy is an immunotherapy treatment designed to activate a patient’s immune system to target and destroy cancerous cells. The therapy involves developing c himeric a ntigen r eceptor (CAR) T-cells to bind to a specific type of cancer. Before infusion of these modified T-cells into a patient can take place, the histologist must process samples. Standardized protocols must be adhered to, and histologists must ensure quality control is achieved in both materials used and the procedures done throughout the sample processing to ensure ...
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A Useful Glossary of Terms for Histotechnologists from the Biological Stain Commission (BSC) and a Bit of BSC History Do you need a term related to your staining procedure defined?  The name of a dye?  A staining method?  A reagent used in your laboratory?  A definition of any particular word related to histotechniques?   The Biological Stain Commission has an A Glossary of Staining Methods, Reagents, Immunohistochemistry, Terminology and Eponyms written by three experts on dyes, stains, and reagents, Drs. John Kiernan, Richard W. Dapson and Richard W. Horobin. This glossary is free and found on the Biological Stain Commission website Glossary of Staining ...
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Barcoding was developed to reduce manual data entry and errors that can occur as a result of manual work. Since their development, barcodes have been widely adopted by virtually every industry and used for product identification, tracking, marketing, and other benefits. So, how can barcoding benefit the field of histology? Labs that incorporate the use of barcoding can reap several benefits, including Productivity improvements Error reductions Specimen integrity control Turn-around time upgrades Task elimination (without compromising quality)  With up to 70 percent of laboratory errors occurring in the pre- and post- analytic phases, adoption ...
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Analysis of costs of clinical laboratory tests is as important as the quality indicators of the laboratory practice. Setting the cost per test for the laboratory service is fundamental for the sustainability of the service. Financial resources are the engine of the healthcare system in the provision of services and one of the main concerns of the public and private sectors executives and managers. As today's healthcare systems are faced with a financial crisis, managers must be able to use the financial resources efficiently while endeavoring to maintain quality. A long time ago, the test cost was calculated by considering the annual laboratory expenditure ...
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According to Elon Musk, the four most important traits that are critical for building a great team are: “hardcore work ethic, talent for building things, common sense and trustworthiness (Aten, 2021).” In order to have a united team that is built on Musk’s most important traits, one must first address conflicts within the team itself. Leaving conflict unresolved will not only cause serious problems to workplace morale but will also hinder the ability of the team to inspire a strong work ethic, build on their interdepartmental strengths, and trust one another. Identifying and preventing conflict is one of the key components to building a strong, united team. ...
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IHC Basics

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We know that Immunohistochemistry is the combination of three distinct fields—histology/pathology, immunology, and histochemistry. With IHC we start with our properly prepared tissue samples (histology/pathology), take advantage of the fact that antibodies bind to specific proteins (immunology), and finally combine that with enzyme reactions that provide a colored end product to identify tissue components (histochemistry). The results provide diagnostic, prognostic, and even therapeutic information. The steps of the staining process are straightforward enough to be automated – and probably is in the majority of histology labs - but the process itself still must ...
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Let’s face it. It’s a fast-paced world. It’s been reported that the average human makes 35,000 choices per day. To apply critical thinking to every decision would be impossible. Instead, your brain is generally operating on automatic mode thinking. You’re still thinking, but you are not diagnosing every choice you’re faced with and the ramifications of those choices. Almost instinctual, you make choices—"What should I have for breakfast?” or “Should I continue reading this post?” —in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, however, we face problems or choices that require us to step out of automatic mode thinking and employ critical thinking to solve a problem or arrive ...
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So you have spent time searching, screening and have a number of articles that you want to gather . However, you don’t have time to screen all the articles? How do you capture the citations? What is the best way to save the search results ? Do you have to download all the articles? Fortunately, both PubMed and Google Scholar allow you to create a profile, login and use tools that allow you to save searches, search results and even run the same search repeatedly. Plus, by using free Reference Management Software, you can download article citations and manage your local personal resource library. PubMed’s “ My NCBI ” dashboard provides access to a number of ...
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Many early career scientists struggle with the task of screening, reading and collecting biomedical literature.   Lack of familiarity with search tools, article structure/organization, scientific terminology and time management are obstacles that inexperienced researchers face when looking for information. No single approach will overcome all the hurdles but with practice, users can identify strategies that work best for them and increase the likelihood of finding the information needed, quickly and efficiently. The first and most important step is to know what you are looking for.   How specific is the information ? Is it very detailed e.g., an antibody protocol ...
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There are many sayings involving time. Time flies. Time is money. Time heals all wounds. But we know these quotes are not all necessarily true. Perspective or context is important in how one would evaluate the truth of these statements. For example, a patient having a biopsy performed intraoperatively will not agree that “time heals all wounds.” From their perspective, time is of the essence. Not only can abnormalities or growths worsen, but worry can also compound for the patient as time passes. The patient will benefit from overall better care the faster sufficient material can be collected for analysis and diagnosis. Rapid on-site evaluation (ROSE) can be ...
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“ Open access ”, the ability to access biomedical literature free of charge and with few restrictions, is slowly being adopted by publishers worldwide. This means you no longer need privileges at academic libraries or paid journal subscriptions to access biomedical science journals.  While all journals do not provide free access, the number is steadily increasing and this means anyone can retrieve past and present biomedical literature. But where does one start ? There are two well-known publicly available tools that provide access to multiple literature archives.  Based on the MEDLINE database, the most widely used by the biomedical community is PubMed ...
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Reading the biomedical research literature can be a time-consuming and intimidating task, especially when you need to find specific information in a hurry. Where do you start ? How do you find what you need ? Like everything else in science, there is a reason why scientific articles are organized the way they are.  With the exception of a few other formats, biomedical articles are written using the “IMRaD” format: introduction (I), Methods (M), Results and Discussion (RaD).   The IMRAD format first appeared in the 1940’s and became the standard for medical research articles by the 1950’s. In the 1970’s, The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors ...
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