Perform lab tests on biologic samples from living and deceased patients.
What does a Pathologist Assistant do?
Pathologist Assistants perform lab tests and other duties under the guidance of a Pathologist. Over the course of an average workday, Pathologists order many more tests than they could conduct themselves. They rely on the expertise of Pathologist Assistants like you to accurately process blood, tissue and fluid specimens and analyze the data. Pathologists use the information you collect to accurately diagnose illnesses and study the way deadly diseases like cancer develop.
During most of a typical day, your nose will be buried in lab work: dissecting anatomic samples, preparing tissue swatches for diagnostic tests and taking photographs of collected specimens. Lab coats, goggles, gloves and aprons are standard issue attire in this field. Get used to wearing them.
When you’re not working with tissues and cells from living patients, you help Pathologists prepare cadavers for autopsies and assist in their postmortem examination. Pathologists often use you as an extra pair of eyes and ears during these exams, and take your observations into consideration when making a clinical determination.
That’s not to say Pathologist Assistants are chained to the lab. In fact, you’re a vital connection between your Pathologist and the rest of your medical facility. For example, you will often interact with co-workers in other labs and other departments on the Pathologist’s behalf. Many Pathologist Assistants also teach sessions on anatomy and physiology at educational conferences, and help train pathology residents on their way to becoming full-blown Pathologists. Communication skills are vitally important to your profession.