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Pathology is the science of studying the causes and effects of diseases through body tissue specimens. Pathological studies are used in both diagnostic health care (determining the cause of an illness) and forensic sciences (determining the cause of death). A Pathology Technician works under the direct supervision of a Pathologist, testing and analyzing biological samples, and assisting with all testing-related procedures that lead to a diagnosis.
Exceptional attention to detail is required to be a Pathology Technician, as you record and track data gathered from tests and samples. Working as a Pathology Technician in a hospital or morgue setting, you collect and evaluate tissue samples (blood samples, skin samples for decomposition rate, or organ samples to determine possible poisoning or disease), and prepare and perform autopsies.
For example, when someone enters the hospital with an infection in their blood, it’s your responsibility to determine its cause. After running laboratory tests on a blood sample and then analyzing the results, you determine that it’s a strep infection that will likely respond to a particular type of antibiotic. The supervising Pathologist then reviews your findings and makes the diagnosis.
Patience and determination are key character traits for this position, as you may spend many hours in a laboratory setting trying to solve the mysteries behind illnesses or deaths. The excitement and anticipation of the process will keep you on your toes, however, and knowing that you may save someone’s life makes the career fulfilling and engaging.