As you settle into your career, it can be easy to shrug off national pathology meetings: covering service work, balancing travel finances, and having less seniority all make attending more difficult. However, the benefits of national meetings make the challenges worthwhile, and the new in practice can gain valuable experience by getting involved! The CAP annual meeting offers educational experiences in a wide range of disciplines and difficulty levels, current recommendations in changing areas of pathology, opportunities to build skills in leadership or management, and attainable chances to be involved in the national pathology scene.
For many new-in-practice pathologists, it can be intimidating to sign out cases that are out of your wheelhouse. Afraid of giving somebody a false positive breast cancer diagnosis? Take “Masqueraders of Malignancy in Breast Pathology: Strategies and Solutions”! Frozen section evaluation of pelvic organs can be stressful due to the many different types of pelvic lesions. Take a course that helps you make the definitive diagnosis or communicate the findings in cases where one cannot be provided. Or perhaps you’re wary of unusual variants in prostate pathology. Lucky for you, “Challenging Areas in Prostate Pathology Interpretation” exposes attendees to a wide spectrum of lesions and difficult diagnostic scenarios.
As I moved into my grown-up job, I had the startling realization that I was now responsible for staying on top of the latest and greatest changes in my field. I was shocked by how quickly I could become out-of-date! While engaging with clinicians and attending multidisciplinary tumor boards helps, I've found attending educational meetings is the best way for me to stay abreast of advancements in my area of expertise, and pathology and laboratory medicine.
In case you did not know, CAP19 even offers courses in the “softer skills” that are imperative as you advance into leadership roles within your group, institution, or corporation. “Welcome to the REAL World: Crucial Survival Tips for the New Medical Director” prepares unseasoned laboratory directors to be more effective leaders. Other courses take on the challenges of pathologist burnout (and how to avoid it by increasing workplace autonomy) and effective communication with a variety of audiences across a range of settings. You can get more information on courses like these here.
One benefit you may not have considered: the CAP annual meeting offers opportunities for both engagement and national exposure to the larger pathology community. You can join the House of Delegates to be involved with changes happening in our profession. You can propose a roundtable or course to broaden your educational horizons and gain national exposure in our field. You can network with other pathologists and develop larger projects or proposals to continue the excitement following the meeting.
Personally, just meeting other new-in-practice pathologists and commiserating about our shared struggles and solutions is one of my favorite parts of attending a meeting like CAP19—and there’s a “New-in-Practice/Resident” Lounge, so this fellowship can occur over refreshments!
I hope to see many of you at meetings around the country and in Orlando in September!