Getting Out From Behind the Paraffin Curtain

| January 19, 2014

Post courtesy of Julie McDowell, Community Manager, CAPconnect (CAP Membership required). In July of 2010 I asked Dr. Uthman to write the 1000th post on this blog because of his use of a number of social media applications and as a long-time administrator of the popular Pathology Listserv to take a look back and share his thoughts about “Online Pathology” moving forward.  He also writes well as articulated in the recent editorial mentioned below (full PDF here). In order to balance roles of pathologist/politician/leader he has three laws for success:

The First Law. I am a physician. I seek to protect and improve the health, well-being, and social standing of the patient.

The Second Law. I am a pathologist. I am to apply the art and science of pathology to make accurate, timely diagnoses, and to operate my laboratory according to sound scientific principles and standards set by the most
respected peers in the field, except when it conflicts with the First Law.

The Third Law. I am a businessperson. Whether I am a proprietor, employee, or contractor, I will operate my laboratory according to sound business principles, except when it conflicts with the First or Second Law.

Words we can all live by. See comments by Julie below.

In the January issue of the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, CAP member and frequent CAPconnect blogger Dr. Ed Uthman shares some advice with trainees and new-in-practice pathologists in his editorial, “Getting Out From Behind the Paraffin Curtain”:

  • First, master one’s technical approach.
  • Then…venture out from behind the “paraffin curtain” (with a nod to Dr. Robert S. Richmond for introducing him to the term): “The fractional distillation of careers—from failure, to mediocrity, to excellence—seems to be more a function of personality traits and practice habits. I can summarize the most desirable of these as an eagerness to get out from behind the paraffin curtain, that zone of comfort at the microscope, where the well-trained pathologist can relax with a cup of coffee and a stack of slide folders.”

Dr. Ed Uthman is laboratory director at OakBend Medical Center, Richmond, Texas.

But where to venture? Dr. Uthman cites two examples, based on his 23 years of practice in a general community hospital setting: radiology—to review images and discuss biopsy procedures; and gastroenterology—where he encourages staff to summon him to the endoscopy suite to review puzzling findings.

Please comment on your own experiences venturing out from behind the paraffin curtain? What have been the benefits? Challenges? And what advice would you give to trainees and those new-in-practice looking for some direction in this area?

Dr. Ed Uthman is laboratory director at OakBend Medical Center, Richmond, Texas.

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Category: Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Laboratories, Clinical Pathology, General Healthcare News, Laboratory Management & Operations, Pathology News, Training

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