In Summary - Pathologist
The Work - Pathologist
Pathologists investigate the cause and effect of disease. They work in laboratories, supervising the work of other laboratory staff. Their work includes chemical pathology, cytopathology, dental and oral pathology, molecular biology, haematology, histopathology, immunopathology, medical microbiology, molecular pathology and neuropathology.
Pathology is a lot more than just autopsies. They also work in hospital labs or research institutes.
Two examples of Pathologists' work are:
Histopathologists, those who diagnose disease from changes in tissue structure
Chemical Pathologists, those who look at the biochemical nature of disease.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Examine microscopic samples to identify diseases or other abnormalities.
- Diagnose diseases or study medical conditions using techniques such as gross pathology, histology, cytology, cytopathology, clinical chemistry, immunology, flow cytometry, and 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.
- Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in pathology.
- Consult with physicians about ordering and interpreting tests or providing treatments.
- Plan and supervise the work of the pathology staff, residents or visiting pathologists.
- Review cases by analyzing autopsies, laboratory findings, or case investigation reports.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Interests - Pathologist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The life of a Pathologist involves long working hours but is rewarding and stimulating. The work can be tedious with a lot of experimental procedures to follow, step by step.
A medical career involves a long period of academic and clinical training. This means that you must have considerable physical and mental stamina.
Entry Requirements - Pathologist
To become a pathologist, you must first qualify as a medical doctor.
It is usually during the internship year required for the purposes of registration that most newly qualified doctors decide on which branch of medicine to pursue. Some doctors enter general practice, while others pursue specialisation in hospital practice such as Pathology.
Practical and Technical Training
Once a primary degree in medicine has been obtained, and a year of internship has been completed, a training post in a pathology laboratory must be obtained. The duties of a Pathologist include performing autopsies to document causes of death.
To become a fully accredited Pathologist takes a further five years. After three years training, an examination in the first part of the membership of the Royal College of Pathologists may be taken, and two years later the second examination may be taken
A successful candidate can then become a member of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (Faculty of Pathology) and is eligible to become a Consultant Pathologist in a hospital.
Last Updated: November, 2014
Pay & Salary - Pathologist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 30k - 120k
Last Updated: April, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Pathologist
Useful Contacts - Pathologist
Health Service Executive (HSE)
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
Irish Medical Organisation
Department of Justice - State Pathologists Office
Irish Medical Council