The nature and extent of training activities in clinical pathology required for effective consultation on laboratory test selection and interpretation

Kirby, J.E.; Laposata, M.

Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine 121(11): 1163-1167


ISSN/ISBN: 0003-9985
PMID: 9372742
Document Number: 470254
Objective: The goal of this study was to identify the activities in clinical pathology training and the length of time required in each to effectively train residents as consultants on laboratory test selection and interpretation. Methods: The information needed to address these questions was obtained from a study of 20 residents in clinical pathology at our institution between 1990 and 1996. In the survey participants were asked to assess the value of specific training activities in developing their confidence when addressing consultative questions on laboratory test use and interpretation. Participants were also asked to assess the length of time required to gain confidence in performing this role. Results: The results of the study demonstrate that confidence in providing advice on clinical laboratory test selection and interpretation is acquired to a significant but not absolute degree after an intense 8-week experience in a single clinical laboratory subspecialty, during which time no other responsibilities are assigned. The data also indicate that interactions with clinical pathologists and formal lectures provided to the trainees during their rotations are critical components of the consultation service. There was a significant decrease in the length of time required to provide effective information on test selection and interpretation as the residents progressed through their training. Conclusions: For all of the major subspecialties in clinical pathology, the residents gained significant confidence by 4 weeks of intense training, and by 8 weeks participants were very confident in answering consultation questions. Even after 8 weeks, however, fewer than 10% of the residents felt absolutely confident in their own decisions regarding laboratory test use and interpretation prior to discussion with senior residents and faculty. Thus, acquisition of expertise to effectively provide advice on laboratory test selection and interpretation required up to 8 weeks of focused training in each clinical laboratory subspecialty. Gaining confidence in multiple areas requires a significant commitment of full-time training. This study provides an understanding of the type and extent of training required to attain the skills necessary to effectively provide consultation in clinical pathology.

Document emailed within 1 workday
Secure & encrypted payments