Medical Knowledge

Residents demonstrate an investigative and analytical thinking approach to clinical situations. Expectations of their diagnostic ability and precision increase with their experience. First year residents should be able to formulate broad categorizations, second year resident should be more accurate in placing in the correct category, third year residents should be able to correctly categorize and formulate a detailed differential diagnosis and fourth year residents should demonstrate the potential to independently reach the correct diagnosis and differential. Specific examples include:

  • Development of reasonable and complete differential diagnoses for cytopathology cases based on the available clinical information, gross and microscopic features, and current published information.
  • As part of workup of cases, suggest appropriate additional testing (special stains, immunohistochemical studies, and further clinical testing such as serology, etc.) if applicable.
  • Formulation in a comprehensive, cohesive, and coherent fashion for the above differential diagnoses and discussion of cytopathologic findings in the final cytopathology report.

Residents explain and apply the basic and clinically supportive sciences which are appropriate to the specialty of cytopathology including:

  • The epidemiology of various infections and neoplastic diseases, and use of such knowledge to formulate cytopathologic diagnoses.
  • The clinical presentations and manifestations of various diseases, and use of such knowledge to formulate cytopathologic diagnoses.
  • The principle of basic histologic and immunohistologic stains, including biochemical and immunologic principles, methods, and applications.

Residents at all levels demonstrate the medical and technical knowledge they have acquired over the course of each cytology rotation by presenting an Interesting Case Conference at the end of the rotation.

  • Residents select 5-10 cytology cases they have seen over their rotation and present them around the multi-headed scope to the other residents and attendings present.
  • Cases may be representative of a particular diagnosis, including a normal specimen.
  • Residents are expected to explain the cytomorphologic diagnostic features, the utility of ancillary studies, and clinical significance of the diagnoses. If correlative material is available (eg surgical pathology), residents should present that as well.
  • At least one attending is present during this conference.


  • Rotation evaluation
    • Cytopathology score for the in-service examination compared to national means
  • Global evaluation