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LETTER TO EDITOR Table of Contents   
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 580-582
Objective career planning for a resident pathologist

Patologisk institut, Regionshospitalet, Randers, 8930 NØ, Denmark

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Date of Web Publication1-Oct-2009

How to cite this article:
Jaiman S. Objective career planning for a resident pathologist. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2009;52:580-2

How to cite this URL:
Jaiman S. Objective career planning for a resident pathologist. Indian J Pathol Microbiol [serial online] 2009 [cited 2023 Sep 30];52:580-2. Available from:


As you are aware most postgraduate residency and training programs do not offer counselling on choosing a career path following the completion of the training. [1] Majority of the neophyte pathologists are dogged by 'after-residency-what' syndrome. It is vital for one to form a strategy in order to be reasonably successful in life after MD training. Unfortunately, since most residents and youngsters have not organized their thoughts and commence the job search without a concrete strategy or plan there is often great confusion, frustration and confoundment. Many bright prospects find themselves at the crossroads and in a dilemma about the future and feel pessimistic about pathology-the subject itself.

In order to help a resident in objectively analyzing a career choice and organizing his/her thoughts I have compiled a series of 14 questions. The important factors considered are specialty priority, family, personal financial requirements, location, working conditions etc.

I. In What specialty would one like to establish one's practice?

  1. Only histopathology, cytopathology, hematology.
  2. Only histopathology, cytopathology, hematology plus clinical pathology.
  3. Clinical pathology and occasional histopathology cytopathology and hematology.
  4. Only clinical pathology.
  5. Does not matter.

II. How does one wish to practice pathology?

  1. As a government hospital employee.
  2. As a corporate hospital employee.
  3. As an employee of a large corporate laboratory.
  4. As a part-timer.
  5. As an individual, entrepreneur.

III. What kind of financial compensation does one expect?

  1. Income guarantee.
  2. Monthly fixed salary with maybe annual bonus.
  3. Monthly fixed salary with maybe production incentive.
  4. Hourly compensation.
  5. Willing to risk compensation.

IV. How does one relate to working as a junior colleague?

  1. Does not matter at all.
  2. Not critical as long as there is some leeway.
  3. Matters and would prefer greater freedom.
  4. Matters but little cautious and restrained by compulsions.
  5. Cannot work as a junior colleague.

V. What is the most important consideration in selecting the professional practice setting?

  1. Only academic professional environment.
  2. Academic plus geographical location.
  3. Financial compensation plus geographical location.
  4. Only financial compensation.
  5. Does not matter.

VI. How important is spouse's job?

  1. Extremely essential.
  2. Essential.
  3. Very important but not essential.
  4. Important.
  5. Not important.

VII. What type of schooling would one prefer for one's children?

  1. A government school (kendriya vidyalaya).
  2. A reputed private school.
  3. Any local reasonably good school.
  4. Only a school of social standing.
  5. Not only a school with a social standing but also the most expensive school.

VIII. Where should one locate one's practice?

  1. Does not matter.
  2. In an urban setting.
  3. Urban or suburban setting.
  4. Urban, suburban or rural setting.
  5. Commercially viable setting.

IX. Where would one prefer to live?

  1. Does not matter.
  2. In an urban setting.
  3. Urban or suburban setting.
  4. Urban, suburban or rural setting.
  5. Preferably close to a commercial setting.

X. How does one relate to the administrative and financial aspects pertaining to a laboratory?

  1. Not interested.
  2. Participate occasionally but unwilling.
  3. Participate willingly.
  4. Interested.
  5. Very interested and passionate.

XI. How are one's communication skills?

  1. Generally poor.
  2. Manageable.
  3. Circumstantial.
  4. Good.
  5. Excellent generally.

XII. How skilful is one socially?

  1. Generally poor.
  2. Manageable.
  3. Circumstantial.
  4. Good.
  5. Excellent generally.

XIII. How strong are one's personal finances?

  1. Average.
  2. More than average.
  3. Good.
  4. Quite good.
  5. Excellent.

XIV. How cautious is one temperamentally?

  1. Extremely cautious.
  2. Cautious.
  3. Cautious but not averse to risk-taking.
  4. Can take risks.
  5. Greater the risk greater the motivation.

As it is apparent each question can be answered in five different ways. In order to assign more objectivity to the questionnaire I have allotted a score of 1 to 5 for each response [Table 1]. Response point allocation is in ascending order: A has 1 point, B 2, C 3, D 4 and E has 5. Total score ranges from 14 to 70. Based on the score one can attempt at objectively define a future career strategy [Table 2].

Lack of counseling on choosing a career path following the completion of training is a malady not just confined to India but affects even other accomplished nations. [1] Despite living in this technology-driven era where the world's most powerful careers are getting objectively defined by the INTERNET and the BLOG, references for 'Objective career planning for a resident pathologist' are virtually nonexistent on the WEB WORLD. This may be deemed as a modest attempt in the direction of reaching out to our universe: The WWW. I conclude on a humorous note by quoting Albert Einstein "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I am not sure about the universe". [2]

   Acknowledgment Top

Pathology residents who have sent personal mails of appreciation for the questionaire.

   References Top

1.Part of the information in this paper has been drawn from "Planning a Career Strategy" by Patrick C. Alguire, MD, FACP, Director, Education and Career Development, ACP (American College of Physicians). Available from:   Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Available from:   Back to cited text no. 2      

Correspondence Address:
Sunil Jaiman
Sennelsgade 6, Først til højre (1th), 8900 Randers C
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0377-4929.56125

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  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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