The provision of an analytical service for biochemical tests both in the laboratory and at the “point of care”. Advising on the management of patients with metabolic disturbances and, increasingly, taking direct responsibility for such patients in clinics and on wards A Chemical Pathologists’ job is never boring, and duties can be highly variable. Typical duties involve laboratory work and ‘authorising’ results of laboratory tests, to check for accuracy and to add comments to aid in diagnosis and management of biochemical disturbances. It is a highly varied specialty combining laboratory management and, increasingly, providing direct clinical care in one or more of five main clinical areas e.g. lipids, diabetes, inborn errors of metabolism, metabolic bone disease and nutrition.
Key Skills and Personal Attributes
- Preparedness to work behind the scenes
- Good management and interpersonal skills
- Ability to work as part of a team of scientific and analytical staff in the laboratory and other health care professionals on the wards
- Some of your diagnoses will be solely based on your interpretation of laboratory results
- Some Chemical Pathologists manage patients directly in outpatient clinics
Currently it is preferable to have gained Core Medical Training prior to entry, giving the option of entering a Joint Chemical Pathology/Metabolic Medicine Training Programme.
Overview of Training Required
- 5 years (5.5 years with Metabolic Medicine)
- Clinical work in the five areas of metabolic medicine: diabetes, lipidology, bone disease, nutrition, inherited metabolic disease
- Laboratory work eg analytical skills, practical aspects
- Management expertise
- Research project with written dissertation
- MRCPath examination
- Good career prospects at StR and Consultant level
Hints and tips of how to develop a successful career within each specialty
- If you are interested in a career in the specialty, contact your local Biochemistry laboratory and ask if you can spend time with a Chemical Pathologist or Clinical Scientist.
- Find a mentor
- Only enter the specialty if it really appeals to you
- Pick an area early in training and make it “yours”