Pathology is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis of the underlying cause of a particular ailment. Based on superficial symptoms, a physician can make only a basic assessment and give some drugs to alleviate the pain until a complete test report conducted in the pathology lab is obtained.
Pathology impacts almost all aspects of patient care. For instance, if a person has a fracture and it is seen through an X-ray that he broke his bones, he may need the assistance of an ortho and physio expert. However, if the same person has any underlying complications and develops drug interactions, then only a pathologist can find out after examining the bloodwork of the patient.
The root cause of an illness or a disease is established through pathology. Professionals who want to further their careers in diagnostic or forensic pathology can consider pursuing an online pathology course.
Importance Of Pathology In Healthcare
Even though pathology is necessary for eliminating doubt and establishing facts through diagnostics, many medical aspirants are not aware of the scope and career prospects of pathologists.
Pathologists with microbiology, immunology, genetic engineering, and molecular biology are preferred choices in disease identification and preventive medicine fields. They work closely with other experts and surgeons and are responsible for taking critical decisions based on scientific data. Pathologists also sub-specialize in other areas of medicine such as oncology and gastroenterology.
For every discipline in medicine, there is a related pathology counterpart to support the function, make an accurate diagnosis, and guide in the appropriate patient care. The role of pathologists in medical research, drug and pharma research, advanced and preventive medicine, and the development of effective treatments to fight microbe-generated diseases is immense. They have contributed significantly in the last century to completely eradicate a few diseases such as smallpox and polio across the globe.
How To Become A Pathologist?
Pathology is a specialization course that one enrolls for after completing their med school program and clearing the USMLE licensure exam. Interested students can take microbiology in a bachelor of science program at the undergrad level before they choose their medical program.
Once USMLE is cleared and med school finishes, the student can choose pathology as the area of expertise where they want to further their MD program. This choice however is dependent on the USMLE scoring and the application status of the residency program. But with focus, alignment in related studies, and consistent efforts, becoming a pathologist is a doable plan. One needs to sort out the type of online courses that can aid in completing the pathology course.
Here is a list of some of the online courses that can help interested students and aid them in their journey to become a pathologist:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers two online courses in pathology that are free through an open ware course platform. These courses are:
2. Musculoskeletal pathophysiology
It is an interesting course that deals with the growth, and development of bone, connective tissues, and its stress response. The effect of parathyroid on calcium levels, Vitamin D synthesis in the body for bone development, diseases related to connective tissues, and other metabolic derangements affecting the tissue are discussed in this course.
3. Principles and practice of human pathology
This is a comprehensive course detailing topics at the cellular and molecular level of pathology and diseases. It also covers molecular imaging and includes weekly lab sessions. Time is also devoted to clinical mini-cases for enabling a better grasp of the course contents.
4. Tufts University
Tufts university is offering a free online program in histology which is the study of tissues. It is a course where anatomists and histologists can grasp a perspective about diseases that result in changes in tissue. The course has twenty-five lectures and there are five tests including a final exam that a course participant undergoes.
5. University of Alabama
An online course in medical pathology with interactive labs is a free course offered by the University of Alabama. It has comprehensive case specifications, citing over 100 different cases covering a range of topics like neoplasia, cell injury and death, tissue damage, and recovery, which are some of the common topics that have been discussed. This is a self-paced course that is divided into thirteen different sections.
6. Mercer University
A collection of pathology images divided into 9 different sections with a complete description and related disease prognosis is part of this online reference tool. This is not a structured course with pedagogy. However, whenever someone is looking for a related case, they can go through the archives of the pathology images structured in this segment.
7. The American Society of Clinical Pathology
Society helps pathologists in getting sub-specialization certifications and in maintaining their continuing education point requirement. This step is very important to stay relevant and keep oneself abreast of all the developments in healthcare that can aid their work. Certifications in chemical pathology, cytopathology, and clinical informatics are some of the popular courses that are taken up via the ASCP.
Pathology is not interesting but a field that has the scope for research, innovation, and career growth and an enriching field that offers job satisfaction. With help of AI-driven advancements in the field of pathology, diseases are observed at cellular and tissue level with minimum invasive procedures. The insights offered are setting the ground for medical breakthroughs that help the patient care efforts of healthcare professionals.
Many medical school students are interested in jobs with the least patient interaction. The field of pathology offers a lot of scopes for such careers where there is a lot of lab work and less interaction with outside patients.
As pathologists meet and interact with different surgeons, their holistic view of overall disease management also improves and this is a critical step in finding ancillary conditions that may arise in the body.
The field of pathology will always be important to the field of medicine, and the career prospects in this field will be lucrative with steady jobs and good growth. Pathologists also become educationists and course instructors in medical colleges.