Managing outbreak

Managing an outbreak is in the curriculum.

Any microbiologist practising in the NHS needs to know how to manage an outbreak. Influenza and norovirus outbreaks are frequent in winter months. We also get to see outbreaks of C difficile, multiresistant Pseudomonas, Legionella (rare, of course!), Campylobacter, pertussis – to name a few. read more

How much time should you give yourself to prepare?

It is difficult to say how long you need as it very much depends upon you –
your method and speed of study,
whether you are working while preparing for the examination (Non-UK trainees; UK trainees – tough, you will be always working while preparing),
whether you are trained in the UK or familiar with the UK system etc.

For UK trainees – I would suggest you discuss with your educational supervisor. He is the best person to advise you if you are ready. I would consider giving myself at least six months. read more

FRCPath Microbiology part 2: Essay type questions for practice

New question: Provide a plan for your trust board how to effectively manage the winter pressure for the next year. Your role is mainly to draft a policy outlining the management of the anticipated norovirus and flu outbreak, but you have to take a more holistic view of other trust services as well.

There is a plan for consolidation of pathology services in your region. Your hospital might lose its laboratory in the consolidation process. Please write a report to the trust board explaining its impact on the service you are providing to your users. read more

Resources for FRCPath part 2 by Dr Katherine Watson, StR, Microbiology

Here are some of the resources that I used in preparation for FRCPath part 2, April 2016 Bristol. One of the most useful things to do is speak to anyone you know who has already sat the exam and ask for all their past questions and tips.

Mycology – A Canadian microbiologist’s blog, has some really great photos of fungi, very useful for familiarising yourself with organisms for spotters and the practical. I printed quite a few out and stuck them around the house, after seeing them every day I felt confident at quickly recognising organisms. read more

Preparing for FRCPath part 1 (Microbiology) by Dr Joanna Lumb, StR, Microbiology

RCPath Microbiology Part 1: Hints and Tips
(This was written in 2015, but there are some tips which are still very useful)

Preparing for a professional exam is a long-haul process, taking several months.  As such, normal life needs to continue in the meantime – paid employment, on calls, shopping, cooking, exercise, childcare – and you need to figure out how to stay sane whilst trying to accomplish it all without feeling guilty about not spending every minute of the day revising. read more

If you are preparing for FRCPath Microbiology

I get asked frequently what resources do we have to prepare for the examination. Here I have listed some useful information and links that you may want to explore. This list is not a complete list and there are many wonderful resources out there which can help you prepare for the examination. If you find this list useful – please leave a comment. If you know of any other resource that has helped you or you find useful please let me know.

For non-UK trainees/ International graduates (IG), my advise is that please remember this is a UK examination. Hence, you need to know what a UK trainee expected to know and what are the issues we face in the NHS. Your microbiology knowledge is adequate if you have already done post-graduation, but you need to adapt revise those issues more which are common in the UK. For example, you do not need a lot of parasitology, but need to know about infection control. read more