One of the downsides of bigger and more centralised microbiology laboratories (and the consequent large volumes) is that you may find yourself doing the same task for prolonged periods of time.

Depending on where you work (and more and more of us work in such institutions), this might be anything from aliquotting urines, pipetting micro-titre plates, looking at Gram stains, putting up samples, plate reading, signing out results, etc, etc…

…And if you are doing repetitive tasks for a prolonged period, it can be easy to become bored and disillusioned. There is also the risk of losing concentration and making mistakes.

What is the answer?

Here are a few options:

  • A high degree of bench rotation. (even on a day to day and hour to hour basis)
  • A culture of the “quiet” benches helping the “busy” benches.
  • Frequent breaks
  • Automate what can be automated.

Whatever you do in the field of microbiology or infection, there will always be some degree of tedium in your work, but it should not be the dominant part of your work. High volume laboratories need to be extremely wary of this.

So if you are a bored microbiologist, you need to let your boss know and do something about it!


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