Learn more about our Member Spotlight of the month, Ms. Courtney Kuhn from her conversation with Membership Committee Member Dr. Fang Fan.
Member Spotlight Interview
1. How did you first find out about cytology?
I first heard about this profession from a college advisor when I was looking into switching majors.
2. What drew you to this profession?
I really wanted to be involved in the healthcare field and cytology sounded like it would be a good match for my detailed orientated personality. My mother had also been recently diagnosed with cancer, which intrigued me into finding out more about how the process of rendering a diagnosis happens.
3. Tell us about an interesting case or situation that you’ve encountered in your practice.
Here is an interesting situation I remembered. I had been warned that this young patient was scheduled for surgery the next day to have a right hip disarticulation for osteosarcoma. The bone biopsy was done at a different institution and the slides were not available for our review. A preoperative CT scan earlier in the day showed a large thyroid nodule that was concerning for malignancy. The surgeon needed to know if the thyroid was positive for malignancy (primary or metastatic). If it was, the surgeon would cancel the surgery next day; if negative the surgeon would proceed with amputation as planned. I went on the adequacy assessment of the thyroid FNA and didn’t know what to expect. I tried not to let the current situation cloud my judgement. The first pass came, I saw abundant colloid and benign follicular groups. That’s good. I felt relieved and asked for two additional passes just to be certain. The pathologists had adequate and sufficient smears to make a diagnosis of a benign follicular nodule later that day. Although we don’t always receive this kind of patient history, this case is a good reminder about how important adequacy assessment is in the decision making process for patient’s care.
4. What do you like best about being a cytotechnologist?
The best part of what I get to do everyday is adequacies. I really enjoy the challenges that come with every case and being able to use my knowledge to make decisions that reflect directly in the patients care.
5. What is the most rewarding thing that has happened to you in cytology?
Working with our team of cytopathologists, they are all very approachable. It helps my diagnostic skills a great deal to know I can ask questions and get a thorough explanation of why a case was given its diagnosis and use that to better my diagnostic skills. They are also very appreciative of all the work I do, and what my ability offers our department and patients, which means a great deal to me.
6. What do you value most about your membership in the ASC?
The ability it gives me to stay in touch with the Society about current issues, events and common questions.
7. Do you have a memory from the ASC that you would like to share?
Attending the ASC meeting in Las Vegas has been a highlight of my career thus far. I really enjoyed meeting new people from all over the cytology community and all the educational benefits that come from the national meeting.