Learn more about our Member Spotlight of the month, Dr. Marilee Means from her conversation with Dr. Fang Fan.
2014 Member Spotlight Interview
1. How did you first find out about cytology?
When I was researching possible careers at the medical center, I was given a brochure, which listed all of the possible educational programs available from technician jobs, through the allied health professions, nursing, and medicine. I happened to have all of the prerequisites needed for the cytotechnology program, and it was only a one year program so it was a good fit. Also, using a microscope sounded fascinating.
2. What drew you to this profession?
I always had an interest in science and being able to help people seemed very fulfilling to me. Additionally, I found that each case seemed to be like a mini detective story. You needed to be a careful observer, put together the visual clues with the history, and use your background knowledge of the most likely disease process to help diagnose the case.
3. Tell us about an interesting case or situation that you’ve encountered in your practice.
One of my most memorable cases occurred when the pathologist and I went together on a FNA of the parotid of a 40 year-old woman. Her friend was with her for moral support while the pathologist explained the procedure to her. He performed the FNA, I smeared and stained the case, and we both looked at the smear. It was an obvious classic pleomorphic adenoma. He turned to them and said, “This looks benign. They may need to take it out but it looks benign. You will be OK.” She had an immediate look of relief on her face and both she and her friend broke out into applause! I thought to myself that it is very rare that a cytotechnologist gets such immediate gratifying feedback on their job and sees firsthand how much it means to the patient. I have never forgotten my pride in being able to participate in her care.
4. What do you like best about being a cytopathologist?
I really like the pattern recognition, the necessity of careful observation, and the feeling of contributing to patient care in a team atmosphere
5. What is the most rewarding thing that has happened to you in cytology?
I have really enjoyed getting to teach other people the profession I love so much. I get to combine my technical, educational, and writing skills all in one profession! The people I have become friends with are also very dear to my heart.
6. What do you value most about your membership in the ASC?
I enjoy getting to give back to the profession in a meaningful way by volunteering my skills to the Society.
7. Do you have a memory from the ASC that you would like to share?
There have been too many great memories to count but the support from the Society and my peers has been a treasured part of my life.