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Medical microbiology is a specialty in medicine that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention and management of infectious diseases. This article will discuss the training these specialists receive and what their daily schedules look like.

Medical or clinical microbiologists work in laboratories where they work with instruments such as test tubes, Petri dishes, culture media and reagents. They also work with equipment such as centrifuges, the mentioned optical and electron microscopes and gas chromatography machines. It's important to make a note that these specialists risk exposure to illnesses and diseases, high-pressure laboratory systems, noxious fumes and radiation. These specialists also need to have a thorough knowledge of how to use this lab equipment as well as conduct lab tests for the sake of safety. Another important job requirement is to have an understanding of laws and regulations that are related to the medical industry.

Medical microbiologists consult with other physicians so that the latter can get an opinion on a specific infectious disease and how to further manage the problem. This usually occurs when a hospital acquired or resistant strain of microbe is cultured in a patient. Medical microbiologists are also required to participate in rotating night and weekend on call shifts in case a physician needs an opinion on a laboratory result after hours, and so that they can investigate and analyze samples sent in over this time.


This day is usually an administrative day that is used to attend hospital and staff meetings in order to sort out clinical and non-clinical issues. The work day consists of investigating and analyzing tissue and blood samples in order to detect specific microbes.

The medical microbiologist will be responsible for assessing the samples and reporting on the findings that were made. They will then read through the report, confirm their findings and sign off on the document. The reports are then made available to the referring doctors by sending them hard copies of the results or making them available to be accessed electronically.

Tuesday to Thursday

Medical microbiologists usually work in groups at laboratories and they will be divided up to attend to specific microorganism laboratories. These are usually divided into bacteriology, virology, Parasitology and mycology (fungi). There will also be a specialist assigned to work in the immunology lab and this will be discussed in another article.

The microbiologist will be performing procedures and using techniques that may be different in each laboratory. For instance, when examining tissue and fluid samples, a specialist working in the bacteriology lab will be initially looking at these samples through a normal optical microscope whereas the specialist working in the virology lab will be using an electron microscope. Performing cultures of these two very different microorganisms will also be done differently and by using different media.  


This day will follow the same process as with the receding week. Any unfinished administrative tasks are handles and the work week can end. Doctors that are on call for the hospital will be available to take calls from referring physicians.

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