The Division of Cytopathology


Cyto Technicians 2011Having over two centuries of experience in the field of cytotechnology, the nine Hopkins CTs bring a wealth of diagnostic expertise to their jobs every day. Working for less than a princely sum and having to pay handsomely for parking, there must be something intangible that this cadre of professionals possess. When asked why they work here and what they like about their jobs, they roll their collective eyes and usually give the age-old answer "collegiality, interesting patients and a varied, unusual caseload". Of course, there is one CT who occasionally states, "It's the only hospital within walking distance of my home!"

The JHH cytotechnologist's job description has changed over the fifty-four year history of The John K Frost Cytopathology Laboratory just as the field of cytotechnology has changed over that same time period. Gone are the days of conventional Pap smears and GI washes (although some of the staff still fondly remember them). Enter liquid-based gyn technology (absent any imaged cases at JHH), fine needle aspiration onsite evaluations, and molecular diagnostics. Most of the staff rotate turns in the endoscopy suite, neuroCT, and endocrine clinic, as well as an occasional trip to the OR. It is not particularly unusual for more CTs to be "out and about" with their carts than evaluating prepared specimens!

All this emphasis on diagnostic work is not to say that the Hopkins cytotechnologists are not involved in research activities. From the Early Lung Cancer Project in the early 70's through ALTS in the late 90's and now to FNA enhancement techniques, they collaborate with colleagues on papers and posters.

The varied workload, plus the collegiality, both intra- and extra-departmental makes working "at the Hop" stimulating and rewarding for this extraordinary group of professionals.