Movember Means Our First Male Scrub Superstar
In honor of Movember which is not only a month to grow a mustache, it is also a movement to bring awareness to men’s health, we are thrilled to feature our first Male Scrub Superstar – Ziky Smith!
What is your current position?
I am histologist, and I work for a company called P4 Diagnostix.
Why did you choose this particular career?
Well, this is a second career for me. I was in marketing and advertising for 20 years. I have my first degree in Marketing, and then I went back to school to become a histologist.
I was doing marketing and then I got diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 1999. I fought until 2005. Then it progressed, and basically I had to get surgery and remove a portion of my colon.
Around the time I was thinking about making my career change, my mother-in-law passed away because of ovarian cancer. She was battling for many years. When we found out she was terminally ill, I was making my career change and getting into the science and medical field.
Histology deals with detection of abnormalities in tissue. We look at tissues to see if the abnormalities are cancerous or not. My mother-in-law wasn’t necessarily the reason I got into histology, but she really helped me discover this field of science.
What do you love about your career?
When someone has to get a biopsy done, they don’t know it is sent somewhere. What I do is pivotal if a patient is waiting for a diagnosis. Whether it is waiting by the phone or are going to your doctor to find out your condition my job lets me be a part of the diagnosis process.
I don’t deal directly with the patient. Who may be a grandma, mother, father, brother, sister but I know that special care has to go into taking care of that biopsy.
What I love about it is that I am making a difference. Someone who has to have a biopsy may get good news or may get not so good news. But I get to be a part of the process. I like being a part of the process, even if it is not so good news, I detect the abnormalities as early as possible so these people can fight.
What is one of your favorite on-the-job memories?
There are a number of things that could be my favorite.
I get a kick when people ask me what I do: “Histology… does it deal with history?” My own kids after years of explaining to them finally get it.
It’s a very rewarding position, and I enjoy what I do. Coming from Marketing and coming from the corporate world, which is all about generating revenue and developing markets (which has an important place). But what I do now has such a significant difference. Dealing with life instead of board members and CEOs.
What do you to keep energized during a long shift?
Typically, I work 8 hour days. But they can be different shifts. I was first among my graduating class to get a job thanks to my marketing skills.
I used to live in Florida, but my family and I knew we wanted to move to Maryland. So I went and looked for a hospital I wanted to do my clinical rotation at. I then got offered the job at Holy Cross Hospital and worked the 2 A.M. – 10:30 A.M. shift for two years.
Now, I work for a diagnostics place and have normal hours, 7:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. Going to work is therapeutic for me. When I am working with a patient’s tissue, I get lost in the process of working with it.
But what really keeps me energized is being a workout warrior, I love to go to the gym. It helps me maintain my energy throughout the course of the day. I like to be mobile, stay healthy, be in shape, and eat well. At least I try to eat as healthy as I can.
Tell us what you do outside of work?
I go to the gym. I have been married for 20 years, and we have three children. My oldest daughter is in college and wants to be a preschool teacher, and then I have twins, a boy and girl who are sophomores in high school. My younger daughter plays soccer. And my boy plays football. So other than working I am a soccer and football dad. I used to play soccer, but now I let my daughter score the goals for me.
Finally, what feature is the most important to you while choosing your scrubs?
Definitely comfort. You have to have a lot of room. You have to feel comfortable especially when you are working with delicate human tissue. I don’t like anything itchy, and I like to feel comfortable and at ease. A big plus for me is having big pockets and pocket space.