Recognizing the limits imposed by law and ACGME requirements on the degree of autonomy permissible for a trainee, pathology faculty strive to provide as much independence and responsibility as possible, commensurate with the abilities and progress of a given resident.
The pace of this increasing autonomy will vary from resident to resident, depending on individual progress, and to some extent on the comfort level of individual faculty.
However, by completion of training, all residents are expected to have attained the capacity to function entirely independently (although all cases will ultimately be reviewed by a member of the faculty).
Philosophically, from day one, residents are encouraged to take ownership of the case material for which they are responsible, i.e., shepherd cases from accession to completion, ensure that high standards of quality are met at every stage of the process, and think of themselves as integral parts of the health care delivery team.
Residents are encouraged to “act like attendings,” during their training, thus building habits of thought and behavior to enable a smooth transition to post-training practice.
The following is an example of a reasonable sequence of acquisition of progressive autonomy in the context of surgical pathology. Note that the stages are not intended to directly correspond to PGY year.