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Why did you decide to be a pathologist? What inspired you?

Hi! My name is Andrea and I am doing research on pathology for my Health class. I would appreciate it if you answered these questions the best you could. Thank you!

1)How many years of college did you need to go through? What other programs, courses, and clubs did you join or do?
2)What jobs did you work before you became a pathologist? What did you think of them?
3)How can I decide if I want to get a PH.D. in this field?
4)Did you have to pivot and go back to school at a later time?
5)Did you need to shadow another professional in the field before becoming a pathologist?
6)Was there a subject you struggled with during your school years?
7)What skill sets did you learn or gain while being in this profession?
8) Why did you choose a career in medicine? Why did you choose this specialty?
9)Do you regret going through the years of schooling?
10) What skills would you recommend someone to have before trying to get into this field?
11) What keeps you motivated?

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Valeria’s Answer

Hello Andrea! It's amazing to hear that you are interested in being a Pathologist! I have been a pathologist for about 8 years and here is what I have to say to your questions:

1) I decided to be a pathologist because my mom had pancreatic cancer. This brought up the subject of chemotherapy and that had interested me. This sparked research and eventually me taking the pathology route in medical school.
2) I worked smaller jobs, like at yogurt land and Dollar tree but no professional jobs prior to being a pathologist.
3) High school Diploma + 4 years for pre-med degree + 4 Years Med school + 4 Years residency. Although not a program, I volunteered at nursing homes.
4)It is up to the person and what they enjoy/are interested in. For example, it would not make sense to go into this specialty if you were not interested in running tests on tissues, blood, and urine to find abnormalities. You also need to consider all the tasks that we complete, like examinations and analyzations of bodies and samples and set up treatment plans with the working physician. You also need to consider the 11 years, more if you go into a specialized field, of schooling and wether or not you want to follow through. Think about the pros and cons.
5)At the beginning of my education, I wanted to be something that had to do with cardiology but I started my education right out of high school and had no big changes that caused more years of schooling.
6)I did need to shadow a professional. In addition to this, I also worked under attendants during my residency that gave me access to more information and allowed it to be hands on.
7)In high school, I was horrible at science, which is funny because I got a career in medicine. It got better in college.
8)Pathologists need to be able to communicate effectively with not only their patients but their coworkers to determine treatment plans. They also need to be able to pay attention to detail. They need good hand-eye coordination and precision because of the tools they use, because they need to be precise with their actions. They also need to be able to problem solve when something unexpected comes up and they need to treat it. They need clinical and technical knowledge and be able to analyze data.
9)I chose a career in medicine because my mom worked as a nurse and I was always told about the funny/weird things she saw on the job. Then, I used every chance I could to learn and expose myself into different careers.
10)Sometimes I regret going through all that schooling because it took up the entirety of my youth. Straight out of high school, I was working constantly while in medical school. This did not let me do anything fun with my friends and caused me to lose a lot of them. However, the pay off was worth it and although it was a lot of handwork and time, I got to a place where I have a stable job and I am able to help people and make a plus in their lives.
11) Attention to detail, communication, and able to analyze different aspects of charting and data.
12)My family is very supportive. My mom especially is always on my side and is there ready to help me. It also helps that I am in a career I enjoy doing and want to actively come in everyday to help as much as I can. When thinking about the people you could help, it keeps you motivated to keep coming in and keep helping more and more people.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi Andrea,

##1) How many years of college did you need to go through? What other programs, courses, and clubs did you join or do?

To become a pathologist, one typically needs to complete a bachelor’s degree, followed by medical school, and then a residency program in pathology. The total number of years in college can range from 11 to 13 years, depending on the program and school. During this time, it’s common for students to participate in various programs, courses, and clubs related to their field of interest. These experiences can help them gain valuable knowledge and skills, as well as make connections with other professionals in the field.

##2) What jobs did you work before you became a pathologist? What did you think of them?

Before becoming a pathologist, I worked in several different jobs, including retail, food service, and research assistant positions. These jobs provided me with valuable experience in customer service, teamwork, and time management, which have been helpful in my career as a pathologist.

##3) How can I decide if I want to get a PH.D. in this field?

To decide if you want to pursue a Ph.D. in pathology, consider your interests, career goals, and the amount of time and dedication you are willing to commit. A Ph.D. can open up opportunities for research, teaching, and leadership positions, but it’s important to weigh the benefits against the challenges and time investment required.

##4) Did you have to pivot and go back to school at a later time?

No, I did not have to pivot and go back to school at a later time. I was able to complete my education and training in a linear fashion, with each step leading to the next in a logical progression.

##5) Did you need to shadow another professional in the field before becoming a pathologist?

Yes, shadowing other professionals in the field is an important part of the educational process in becoming a pathologist. It allows students to gain firsthand experience in the daily tasks and responsibilities of a pathologist, as well as learn from experienced professionals.

##6) Was there a subject you struggled with during your school years?

During my school years, I struggled with chemistry, particularly organic chemistry. However, I worked hard to overcome these challenges and eventually found it to be one of my strongest subjects.

##7) What skill sets did you learn or gain while being in this profession?

As a pathologist, I have gained a wide range of skill sets, including strong analytical and problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work well under pressure. Additionally, I have developed expertise in interpreting laboratory test results, diagnosing diseases, and communicating complex information to other healthcare professionals and patients.

##8) Why did you choose a career in medicine? Why did you choose this specialty?

I chose a career in medicine because I wanted to help others and make a difference in people’s lives. I chose the specialty of pathology because it allows me to work behind the scenes, contributing to the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. As a pathologist, I can have a significant impact on patient care without being directly involved in patient interactions.

##9) Do you regret going through the years of schooling?

No, I do not regret going through the years of schooling. I have gained invaluable knowledge and experience, which has allowed me to build a successful career in pathology. The time and effort invested in my education have been well worth it.

10) What skills would you recommend someone to have before trying to get into this field?

Before entering the field of pathology, it’s essential to have strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work well under pressure. Additionally, a solid foundation in biology, chemistry, and other related sciences is crucial. Good communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team are also important qualities for a successful career in pathology.

11) What keeps you motivated?

What keeps me motivated is the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by contributing to the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. I am also driven by the continuous learning and growth that comes with working in this field, as well as the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes from being part of a dedicated team of healthcare professionals.

Authoritative Reference Titles:

[Bold]American Association of Pathology (AAP)
[Bold]Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
[Bold]American Medical Association (AMA)

Short Description for each Authoritative Reference Title:

AAP is a professional organization that represents pathologists and aims to promote the practice of pathology.
AAMC is a non-profit association that represents medical schools and serves as a resource for medical education, research, and policy.
AMA is a professional organization that represents physicians and medical students, advocating for the betterment of the medical profession and patient care.


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