The West Yorkshire microbiology training program is predominantly based in the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, with rotations to local District General Hospitals. I have therefore had exposure to clinical and laboratory microbiology in a wide range of general and specialist settings, as well as the virology and mycology reference laboratories and associated clinical work. Everywhere I have worked, I have felt well supported by senior medical staff. Within Leeds, we rotate 6 monthly between different consultant supervisors, so gain experience in each consultant's specialist areas in addition to the more general day to day work.
The laboratory staff are also very friendly and helpful, and have taught me a lot. I had 6 weeks full time laboratory training at the beginning of my training, and have had many opportunities since to spend time in the lab, in different areas and to practice skills especially running up to the FRCPath part 2 exam.
Infection control is discussed throughout training, and towards the end of training there are also plenty of opportunities to gain some experience in laboratory management.
I also had an opportunity to spend 3 months working with the infectious diseases team, to experience management of infections from a different perspective.
I applied for a post as a specialist registrar in Medical Microbiology after enjoying my SHO experience in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and having had an interest in this speciality throughout medical school. I am now in my final year as an SpR and rapidly approaching the end of my training.
The 4 years that I have spent training in Microbiology has included an initial bench rotation in the laboratory, 6 months in Virology and 3 months at Sheffield Children’s Hospital with the remaining time performing clinical microbiology work. As a trainee in Sheffield you are exposed to a broad range of specialities from orthopaedics to renal to neonatal intensive care. A large part of our time is spent out on the wards or doing speciality specific ward rounds.
There are plenty of opportunities to perform audits or take part in various projects in the department and we work closely with the infection control nurses gaining a really good understanding of current Infection Control issues and management.
The Sheffield Microbiology Department is a friendly and dynamic place in which to work with an excellent MRCPath pass record and Sheffield itself has much to offer including the Peak District National Park which is great for outdoor pursuits. I would recommend working here!
I am a joint trainee in Infectious Diseases and Virology. My first year entailed 4 months in Microbiology, including a thorough bench rotation, training in authorisation, on calls for Microbiology, ITU ward rounds and CICU ward rounds. There were further opportunities to be involved in the management of the Staph Aureus bacteraemia service and the C.Diff cohort ward.
Following this I moved to Virology. Again I started with a bench rotation to familiarise myself with the laboratory and understand the diagnostics service. The clinical training coincided with the start of the H1N1 outbreak and I therefore gained experience in the design and implementation of a novel PCR. Infection control policies were designed specifically for the outbreak and close liaison was made with our local Public Health Department. This was invaluable outbreak experience which was also translated into experience on the Infectious Diseases Unit. As part of the training in Sheffield we spend a day in the opposite speciality, i.e whilst in Virology I spent a day a week in Infectious Diseases. This training opportunity is an excellent way of maintaining skills and experience in both fields whilst offering patient continuity, from laboratory diagnosis to clinical examination and management planning. Virology training also offers experience in renal transplant patients, haematology patients and virology advice for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
For the last year I have been in Infectious Diseases, with one day a week in Virology. Again this has provided more clinical experience in the management of blood born viruses and I have rotated through HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B clinics. I have been involved in the Haematology transplant patients giving general infection advice, as well a specific virology advice. We have an excellent Infectious Diseases Department in which I have been involved in the set up of a Travel Medicine Clinical service. The training also involves rotation through the acute take wards and the outpatient antibiotic service.
With regard to teaching and training we have designated teaching sessions across both specialities and many opportunities to teach/lecture/perform research and present at conferences. I have also completed a research MD within the Infectious Diseases department. The consultants across both specialities provide great support, training, teaching and opportunities for our career progression, as well as enthusiasm for their field of expertise. Sheffield is an excellent centre for joint training.
Training in Sheffield is mainly at the Teaching Hospitals, providing well-rounded training in general and speciality microbiology. After several months of bench rotations, my introduction to clinical microbiology was consultant/senior registrar led, interspersed with departmental, local and national training sessions, in-keeping with the FRCPath curriculum. There is ample opportunity to take part in the daily ward rounds and patient reviews alongside learning how to authorise the laboratory generate reports whilst fielding clinical calls from the general hospital.
I am now an ST2 trainee and have recently completed an ID three month post which was a great opportunity and enabled me to think about the wider differential diagnoses when taking clinical calls. Next, I will embark on a 6 month virology rotation and thereafter continue my microbiology training. There are lots of opportunities to be involved in audits on a local and national level and engage in medical education, both undergraduate and postgraduate. I have had oral presentations accepted at both national and international meetings and I have been elected to sit on the training advisory committee for the Royal College of Pathology to gain some management experience, with the full support of my department. I meet regularly with my Educational Supervisors and was given useful advice about the year one assessment and FRCPath exams.
Sheffield provides a fulfilling training programme within a friendly and industrious department – I thoroughly recommend it.