Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Microscopes for first year histology?

Apparently, there is quite a raging debate in our curriculum committee about whether to stop requiring students to have microscopes for our first year histology class. We already use a lot of computer based slides in addition to the traditional slides. There is also a great Histology program on the library computers, any number of internet sites and of course books like Wheaters.

So far, opinion on this matter seems to be split. I do have to admit that I rarely use my microscope, partly because I do most of my studying at home, and because I don't get a lot out of going to the lab times (I need to study alone to get anything done.) Would I like to save the $250 or so that I spent to rent the microscope? Sure. For that money, I could buy review books for every course to help out with my exams, and then step 1. But, I also realize that I need to know how to use the microscope. There wont be time to learn during my clinical rotations where its required. Though I had used a microscope before coming to med school, I admit that I really didn't know how to use them, and it certainly took some time before my eyes were trained enough to use it well.

My solution would be to share microscopes between our tables of 4. We already share laptops, and slides as well. There is a liability issue here. The school does not have money appropriated to buy enough microscopes, so for next year, we would probably still need to rent them. Who pays the bills if one of them gets broken?

The curriculum committee is simply voting on microscopes or no microscopes for next year. I'd imagine that they will decide to keep the microscopes in the curriculum for now. There will be grumbling from the students--renting microscopes is an expensive hassle. I think the hassle is worth the intellectual reward.