Of pathology and pathologists – a brief guide for medical students

Medical students Research and study of study has been of quite an importance to medical professionals around the world, as well as of the media alike. Even for diseases that are not like pandemics, it is important to understand how to find and diagnose them as fast as possible in order to give patients the best chance of both recovery and rehabilitation.

In order to help explain what pathology is and what do pathologists do, let’s read on to learn more about this field, this career path and what pre medical courses for students can expect once they have decided to become a pathologist after graduation from medical school.

Pathology – what is it?

Pathology is the study of disease. This field of medicine is the key to caring for patients and keeping them healthy. The sooner a doctor can find and diagnose a disease, the sooner they can work on getting the patient on track of recovery.

Pathology involves not only the diagnoses but also a deep understanding of the causes and effects of various diseases around.

What do pathologists do?

Doctors who study diseases are known as pathologists, and they can work in a variety of different capacities to further the understanding of different kinds of diseases. While pathologists seldom work directly with patients like general practitioners do, they often perform laboratory tests to help diagnose patient they never meet.

This collaborative effort with general physicians and doctors is vital to getting patients diagnosed quickly. This can minimize the negative effects a disease can have on the patient’s body. In addition to collaborative diagnosis, pathologists often conduct extensive research from improving understanding about certain diseases to finding new ways to find a disease quickly.

Pathologists can research specific kinds of disease or specific diagnostic tools for finding diseases. Some researchers specialize in studying the human genome to look for disease that have genetic links to the human body too.

In addition to testing and research, some pathologists work in more analytical and consultant like role. Pathologists can work as medical examiners, as forensic consultants or work in other service-based positions helping police and other investigators determine the cause of a patient’s death.

Since patients can often be suffering from multiple diseases or underlying complications leading to bad health, the job of these investigative pathologists is to get to the root cause and determine the ultimate cause of the patient’s death.

Education and training of pathologists

For students to become a pathologist, a medical student must complete around 4 years of undergraduate work followed by 4 years of medical school (especially Windsor University). After graduation from medical school, the medical grad must complete a residency which lasts from 3 to 7 years (depending on the specialty selected).

While some pathologists’ complete fellowships or consider continuing education, such additional training is less common in pathology in comparison to other medical specializations. It is primarily recommended for them in specific specialty areas, like dermatopathology or pediatric pathology.

Specializations of pathology

While pathologists often focus on diagnosing a disease, there are many kinds of diseases and a lot of ways to diagnose them. There are also many ways to aid in this diagnosis. Pathologists can choose to work on using a more hands on approach by evaluating test results and look for pathogens. They can also be more research focused and test various ways in identifying diseases.

After completing a basic pathology residency, a lot of aspiring pathologists can choose to narrow down and complete a longer term residency and fellowship for more experience in many of the officially recognized sub-specialties which are as under:

  • Blood banking.
  • Transfusion medicine.
  • Clinical informatics.
  • Cytopathology.
  • Dermatopathology.
  • Hematopathology.
  • Neuropathology.
  • Chemical pathology.
  • Forensic pathology.
  • Medical microbiology-based pathology.
  • Molecular genetic pathology.
  • Pediatric Pathology.


Pathology as a discipline and field of medicine cannot be taken for granted. Often working in laboratory settings, their role has always been important and always will be important. They have been researching diseases and looking for their respective cures.

Other than that, they have often coordinated with physicians for the best cure patients can get. When the cure is found, and patients are cured; they are lauded for their never giving up the role.

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