Cytopathology Rotation

Residents spend three months on the Cytology Service. Through participation in the daily sign-out conferences, residents are immersed in the art and science of interpreting various cytologic preparations and are instructed in the skills necessary for crafting accurate and effective reports in a timely manner.

Superficial fine needle aspiration skills are developed in the weekly FNA clinic, and valuable experience in adequacy assessment is provided through daily interaction with various clinical services. Working closely with the fellows, residents are highly valued team members integral to ensuring safe, efficient, and productive service.



  • Level I: Two months
  • Level II: One month


Level I – Residents Completing their First Rotation

By the end of the first two-month rotation, residents should be able to demonstrate basic proficiency in interpretation of various cytopathology preparations from all pertinent body sites, including pap smears, body fluids, CSF specimens, washings and brushings, sputum samples, urine samples, and others.

Basic proficiency must also be attained for performance of superficial FNAs, performance of deep FNA adequacy assessments, and report writing.

During their first rotation, residents must document their training in superficial FNA and adequacy assessment before they are allowed to perform these activities entirely on their own. Also during their first rotation, residents will be given a chance to teach their colleagues by presenting a case study during the shared Surgical Pathology/Cytopathology Journal Club.

Residents are also expected to successfully complete the ThinPrep training course during their first rotation.

Level II – Residents Completing their Second Rotation

Upper-level residents are expected to show greater proficiency in microscopic diagnostics, formation of differential diagnoses, and choosing appropriate ancillary tests.

Upper-level residents will be given opportunities for greater independence during the performance of service duties, commensurate with their skill and comfort levels. Upper-level residents are expected to help train residents on their first rotation. 


  • FNA Conference
  • Cytopathology–Surgical Pathology Correlation Conference
  • Cytopathology teleconferences

Basic Reading

  • The Bethesda System for Reporting Cervical Cytology: Definitions, Criteria, and Explanatory Notes
  • Cytology by Cibas, 3rd edition
  • Orientation materials (review objectives, rotations, responsibilities, and basic reading material regarding Gyn and non-Gyn cytology practice guidelines)
  • A diverse collection of cytopathology textbooks is available for reference