Myths and Misconceptions
Medical students and junior doctors have limited exposure to histopathology. Consequently there are many myths and misconceptions about what the career involves.
Pathologists just do autopsies
The histopathology workload is varied and includes macroscopic assessment and sampling of specimens (‘cut up’), microscopy, interpreting molecular diagnostic tests, quality improvement and education. Autopsies are a small and optional part of the job. Training in autopsy practice is a mandatory part of the curriculum until the end of stage B/ST2 but optional thereafter. Some trainees choose to stop autopsy training at this stage. Others go on to complete specialist training in autopsy practice. This allows them to perform coroner’s and hospital autopsies as a consultant, usually in addition to their role as a diagnostic histopathologist.
Pathologists never leave their office
Nobody pays attention to pathology reports
Pathologists spend all of their time in front of a microscope