I have mentioned this before in my other post, but the main task that a Pathologists’ Assistant does is grossing specimens. What does that mean Meghan!??!?! Well lets say that someone goes into surgery to get a biopsy or even a kidney removed because there is a tumor in that organ. Ever wondered what happened to it? Well it gets sent to the anatomical pathology lab and goes to me (one day!) I will then dissect the specimen and place the sections into cassettes to be made into slides. Those slides then go to the pathologist to read and give a diagnosis. That diagnosis will be sent to your doctor and they will be able to come up with a treatment plan.
So how am I preparing to go into my clinical rotations in about 2 months with no experience? You’re probably thinking the same thing that I am, “Meghan you have no experience?” Yes that is true! However one thing that the program here at Loma Linda University does great is prepare us for our rotation and our job. How do they do this? With Frozen Section Fridays!!!
Every other Friday, my classmates and I get together with our program director Cherie and go through how to gross different specimens. It is not always real tissue but our teacher tries to get it as close as possible. We have grossed blackberry polyps, quinoa biopsies, and a lot of clay specimens. Through clay models, I have learned how to gross a thyroid, a prostate, a large skin ellipse, a uterus, and breast specimens.
This past Friday we did a prostate and reviewed a large skin ellipse. I remember my first Frozen Section Friday and I was completely lost. This Friday though, I actually felt more comfortable in writing my own dictation and choosing the correct sections to take from the specimens. I am still a little nervous for my rotations (which start at the end of September!!!) but Frozen Section Fridays are preparing me for me to do my very best.
Here are some pictures from the lab. One is my classmate Kendra (who is awesome!!). The second picture is what our sections look like when we finish dissecting the specimen. This was a skin ellipse and it is a good idea to lay everything out before you submit it to be made into slides.