CAP@Your Service – Residents Issue – Spring 2009
Global warming. Recession. Swine Flu. And today’s weather…partly cloudy. The news lately has been less than positive, has it not? The least we could hope for is that the meteorologists would choose to tell us it will be partly sunny rather than partly cloudy, but then I’ve always been a bit of an optimist.
For those of you who were unable to attend the Spring 2009 Residents Forum in Boston, I will share the similarly less than positive concern that has been expressed regarding job availability in pathology. Some residents fear that the combination of several factors seem to create an imbalance, where the number of graduating residents exceeds the number of available jobs. With the current status of the economy, it appears that some pathologists have found it necessary to delay retirement and that some hospitals are not refilling vacated positions, in efforts to decrease expenditures. In addition, as pathology residency training recently switched from a five-year to a four-year period, we saw in 2006 the combination of two graduating classes of residents, those graduating as post graduate year-five and those graduating as post graduate year-four. The College of American Pathologists Residents Forum is currently diligently working on surveying the appropriate factions to assess whether this concern is valid, including recent graduates and employers in the field of pathology.
While the jury is still out on whether we should add “lack of jobs” to our worry lists, we can take an optimistic stance and work to improve ourselves as candidates for whatever positions are available. In the end, if there are fewer jobs, the competition will be tougher, so make yourself the best pathologist for the job. Build your curriculum vitae by participating in councils and committees at your hospital. Volunteer to give tumor boards or lectures and labs for medical students. Design quality improvement projects for your laboratory or devise a research project and be sure to present your results at pathology meetings. Take a leadership role in state or national pathology societies.
The College of American Pathologists and the CAP Residents Forum are acutely aware of the greatest challenges facing pathology residents, with job availability being just one example of the myriad of things currently under investigation. Staying abreast of the many aspects of the College will not only prepare you better for your own future, if you get involved in the College, it can also give you the opportunity to voice your opinions and concerns for the good of all residents. In the near future, the College will be selecting the next round of Junior Members to serve on councils and committees and the Residents Forum Executive Committee will have its election. I strongly encourage you to participate in these opportunities that create the perfect mix of service to your peers and profession and edification for your own understanding of current events in pathology. See this issue of CAP@YourService for more information on how to apply.
Want to have the Residents Forum take action? Contact me and we’ll figure out how to get it accomplished. Together we will build a successful future for our profession.
Amanda Brehm Wehler, DO
Chair of the Residents Forum