Written by Dr Sophia Neda, Consultant Histopathologist
What inspired you to take the role?
I put myself forward for this role because I understand how important the quality of training and education is for the development of a doctor within their specialty. It’s not that long ago that I was a trainee within this specialty in this hospital, so I have a good insight into what I felt worked well, as well as things I thought could be even better. I really enjoy teaching and feel privileged to communicate my positive experience of pathology to the next generation of pathologists! I hope I am approachable and open to ideas, as those experiencing the day to day life as a trainee are often best placed to give feedback on how we operate our training programs.
What new teaching developments /programmes running or intending to?
We are really keen to introduce more people to pathology, and to increase awareness of the specialty and how it can assist in diagnostic practice for doctors in other specialities. We offer taster sessions in the department, varying from a few days to a few weeks. Teaching is a big part of the training program, and there are formal weekly sessions around a multiheader microscope, as well as weekly sessions where interesting cases are presented. There is also a monthly teaching session within the deanery, covering topics from different organ systems each month. The department is also exploring the possibility of establishing a clinical fellowship for future interested trainees.
Synopsis of the department?
Cellular Pathology is a busy and varied department, with work ranging from reporting of biopsies and resections, to cytological preparations (such as thyroid aspirations and effusions), cutting up and preparation of big excision specimens, and post mortem work. The department serves a large geographical area and sees a large volume of material, diagnosing many conditions, including inflammatory, infections and malignant diseases. We maintain close links with our clinical and radiological colleagues, through MDTs, as well as providing a service to the MOJ through the Coronial system.
What it has to offer?
The great thing about pathology is that you have to have a working understanding of all aspects of medicine and surgery to do your job properly. It will reward anyone with an interest in many specialties and those with a curious mind, who like to get to the bottom of a problem. You will see a great deal of interesting pathology, and fine tune your observation skills, both macroscopically and microscopically. It is endlessly stimulating and there’s always something new to learn!
What are the advantages of trainees coming to us?
The department here benefits from a high level of cases, and sees many complex and unusual specimens, as well as routine diagnostic work. There are trainees of all levels, consultants and biomedical scientists handling this material, and learning is undertaken in an apprentice-style approach, often working one-on-one with an experienced practitioner. There is a good amount of post mortem work, and the mortuary and pathology staff have a well-established practice of introducing beginners into the world of autopsies. Trainees are supervised to a greater extent than in many other specialties, with a view to learning on the job safely and effectively.
What extra can we offer?
We have an enduring and well-established link with the medical school, and as well as being involved in the set up and content of the curriculum, continue to be involved in teaching and delivering of course material. There are opportunities to get involved with management programs, and to improve your presenting skills. Research is also encouraged, and there are many opportunities to work on interesting projects; the department is also looking into establishing a clinical fellowship for future interested trainees.
For more information about histopathology training, please see below: