Tag Archives: microbiological efficiency

“Discharged, deteriorating or deceased?”

I have always been a big believer in the philosophy that the importance of a microbiological result is inversely proportional to the time taken to produce that result. (check out this post).

On occasion extra work and time does need to go into a sample in order to produce a “complete report”. But how do we decide when such work is necessary? A large part of this decision should depend on the current status of the patient.

There is not much point in doing a viral PCR panel on the CSF of a patient who has recovered from his meningitis and has gone home.

On the other hand it may well be worthwhile working up that Klebsiella spp. in the sputum of a patient who has gone downhill and is heading towards ICU.

…and there probably is not much point sweating over the borderline susceptibility of an E.coli to co-amoxyclav when the patient has unfortunately passed on.

The clinical status of a patient often changes from day to day. The more the scientists know about the current condition of the patient whose sample they are working on, the more appropriate the laboratory work-up will be.

The laboratory/clinical interface needs to be as seamless as possible….


“Microbiological Efficiency is over-rated…”

We all know of colleagues who seem to be able to do twice as much work as the rest of us, in about half the time…..

However efficiency is only a very minor quality in the world of microbiology. There are other qualities that are much more important;

  • The ability to spot the unusual.
  • The ability to know when to ask for help.
  • The ability to recognise and focus on what is important and to ignore what is unimportant.
  • To be able to stop and look up more information on an interesting micro-organism.
  • To be passionate about microbiology and have the ability to inspire this passion in your colleagues.

I have come across many excellent microbiologists over the years. Some are fast workers, some slow.

In summary, everybody works at their own pace.

It is not a race, nor do we work in a factory….


Efficiency is overrated in life as well as work. Click on the article here for an interesting insight into this…