What Do Pathologists Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Job Description

Job Description

Pathologists diagnose presence and stage of diseases using laboratory techniques and patient specimens. Study the nature, cause, and development of diseases. May perform autopsies. They also examine microscopic samples to identify diseases or other abnormalities.

Other tasks include:

  • Diagnose diseases or study medical conditions using techniques such as gross pathology, histology, cytology, cytopathology, clinical chemistry, immunology, flow cytometry, or molecular biology.
  • Write pathology reports summarizing analyses, results, and conclusions.
  • Identify the etiology, pathogenesis, morphological change, and clinical significance of diseases.
  • Analyze and interpret results from tests such as microbial or parasite tests, urine analyses, hormonal assays, fine needle aspirations (FNAs), and polymerase chain reactions (PCRs).
  • Communicate pathologic findings to surgeons or other physicians.
  • Diagnose infections, such as Hepatitis B and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), by conducting tests to detect the antibodies that patients’ immune systems make to fight such infections.

We asked Pathologists how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

74%

How meaningful is this job

82%


74% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 82% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Pathologists diagnose diseases or study medical conditions using techniques such as gross pathology, histology, cytology, cytopathology, clinical chemistry, immunology, flow cytometry, or molecular biology. They examine microscopic samples to identify diseases or other abnormalities.

A typical day for a Pathologist will also include:

  • Write pathology reports summarizing analyses, results, and conclusions.
  • Manage medical laboratories.
  • Identify the etiology, pathogenesis, morphological change, and clinical significance of diseases.
  • Plan and supervise the work of the pathology staff, residents or visiting pathologists.
  • Communicate pathologic findings to surgeons or other physicians.

We asked some Pathologists a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job? 84% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 22% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 84% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 8% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 0% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 89% said yes


Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Pathologists also conduct research and present scientific findings. They may also conduct genetic analyses of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or chromosomes to diagnose small biopsies and cell samples.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Pathologists Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in pathology. They might also Consult with physicians about ordering and interpreting tests or providing treatments.

In addition, they Review cases by analyzing autopsies, laboratory findings, or case investigation reports.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Diagnose infections, such as Hepatitis B and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), by conducting tests to detect the antibodies that patients’ immune systems make to fight such infections.

To some Pathologists, it is also their responsibility to Analyze and interpret results from tests such as microbial or parasite tests, urine analyses, hormonal assays, fine needle aspirations (FNAs), and polymerase chain reactions (PCRs).


Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Pathologist, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do Pathologists work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
84%


Once a month
11%


Do Pathologists work outdoors?

Never
100%


Once a year
0%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Thinkers and The Builders

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

You can read more about these career personality types here.



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Related to Pathologists Job Description

Pathologists job description, what do Pathologists do, typical day for Pathologists, what is it like to work as a Pathologist, how many hours do Pathologists work, day to day work of a Pathologist

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm
http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home.html
http://www.ama-assn.org/
http://www.abms.org/


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