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A Day in the Life of a Renal Pathologist

By L. Nich Cossey, MD

Feb 24, 2020

Renal Path, Renal Pathologist, Dr. Joel Murphy, Dr. Nich Cossey

8:30-10:00am: I get to work and have some coffee. For most physicians, this time of day is devoted to research, reading & writing, teaching conferences or even dropping the kids off at school. As the Physician Chief at Arkana, my mornings are usually filled with meetings. My meetings typically are with members of the physician team who have areas of responsibility they oversee or with the content team where we create all the content you see on Arkana’s Twitter/Facebook and Blog. One day a week I try to devote this time to my research projects.

 10:00-11:00am: I attend our daily case conference in which we bring our interesting cases or cases we would like the groups’ opinion(s) on. This is a lively conference that gets me ready for sign out.

11:00-12:00pm: I get my case assignments for the day and go pick up immunofluorescence (IF) slides to review for each case. I also do a lot of triage of my cases during this time because if I can get the order in for IHCs or other special stains before 2:00pm I can get them same day.

12:00-4:00pm: This is my main sign out window and I try to reduce distractions and ‘get in the zone’ here. By 12:00pm all the light microscopy (LM) slides should be out and so I organize my cases based on acuity and time zone and then review each case. Our electron microscopy (EM) comes out during this time as well and so after finishing the LM on each case, I review the EM then integrate the LM, IF, EM and any special/IHC stain findings into a diagnosis. Then I dictate the report and call the nephrologist to discuss the findings on each case (this is my favorite part of renal pathology). On challenging cases, I often ask another pathologist here for a ‘curbside consult’ as we have an open-door policy.

4:00-5:30pm: During my sign out I keep a list of tasks that I need to attend to before signing out each case. So during this time I typically go case by case making sure I’ve completed or reviewed everything I had ordered and answered any outstanding questions I had. Then I log into the LIS and review each case report and finalize it.

5:30-6:00pm: This is when I typically head home. If I did a good job of reducing distractions during my sign out window it’s closer to the 5:30pm mark. However, if I was having a chatty, social day then it might be closer to 6:00pm.

Quick note: This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or health advice. Each person should consult their own doctor with respect to matters referenced. Arkana Laboratories assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.