What to Expect
Pathology students are constantly reading up on the effects of diseases
on the human body.
That's Beth Euscher's favorite part of studying pathology. "Sometimes it's
hard to get excited about a really cool tumor if you know you're going to
be the one to deliver the bad news to a patient. But as the pathologist, you
have the luxury of appreciating the disease process for its rarity or even
the way it looks under the microscope."
Euscher chose the MD route to a career in pathology. At first, she thought
she wanted to enter the practice of obstetrics and gynecology.
But that field was very stressful, she says. "It was hard for me to make
patient care decisions based on sometimes very little information. In pathology,
the information is already in front of you; you just have to figure out what
it all means or what to name it -- what kind of tumor is this?"
Corinne Stanek found the amount of required reading in pathology somewhat
difficult. "Read, read, read. Study, study, study. There are so many
pathologic diseases and each disease can have many different patterns grossly
and histologically," she says.
Her advice? "Set small goals for yourself and you will reach them.
I realized that you can overcome any obstacle if you take one step at a time."
During the first year of her studies, Stanek spent between five and six
hours per night on homework. Her courses included anatomy, microbiology,
physiology, pathology, surgical pathology, histology and embryology.
Her second year involved clinical rotation. "But I managed to put
in two to three hours a night of reading about pathology," she adds.
"I guess that I didn't expect to find that regarding autopsies, the cause
of death is not always clear. You have to look at the big picture to understand
how the body works," she says.