Becoming a Clinical Biochemist in the Republic of Ireland
The minimum qualifications requirement for becoming a Clinical Biochemist (as laid down by the Department of Health and Children) can be found at https://www.hse.ie/eng/staff/jobs/eligibility-criteria/biochemists.html
ACBI members have supported the setting up of an MSc in Clinical and Diagnostic Biochemistry in UCD designed to equip a student for a career in the clinical biochemistry laboratory. This is a pre- entry career MSc takes the student with excellent basic scientific skills and facilitates them to develop a broad knowledge of clinical biochemistry and how it is integral to the patient’s diagnosis, management and outcome. Further information can be found here.
Clinical Biochemist vacancies in public and private hospitals are usually advertised on the website www.irishjobs.ie, local hospital websites, and may also be in national newspapers. A number of new entrants gain experience in temporary locum positions prior to obtaining their first Clinical Biochemist post. Locum positions become available on an ad hoc basis and it is advisable to contact the HR Departments / Head of Clinical Biochemistry Departments in the various hospitals to inquire about their policy on filling locum positions.
After appointment, a Clinical Biochemist will spend time studying for further professional qualifications which may include an MSc, PhD and Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists, UK (FRCPath). The Association of Clinical Biochemists in Ireland (ACBI) runs regular scientific meetings, including a two day Annual Conference each October, together with specific staged tutorials to support Clinical Biochemists preparing for the FRCPath examination. During the course of their studies, Clinical Biochemists also normally attend UK National training courses (currently a rolling series of six courses over three years) in addition to a management focussed course. Attainment of the FRCPath qualification requires at least five years of registered postgraduate study and indicates the individual can practice independently.
During their in-service training, Clinical Biochemists will gain wide-ranging experience in all aspects of the provision of a Clinical Biochemistry service. They must become competent in the practice and understanding of a wide range of analytical techniques and in the practice of quality assurance including external quality assessment. During their training they will also become skilled in the interpretation of test results and actively participate in liaison with clinical colleagues in providing advice on further relevant analysis. In addition, as a Clinical Biochemist progresses their career, there is the opportunity to specialise in one of the many sub specialities and to engage actively in research projects either initiated within the laboratory or in collaboration with clinical colleagues.
Clinical Biochemists are one of twelve professions included in the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 which provides for statutory registration of the named professions. CORU, the Health and Social Care Professionals Council was appointed in 2007. The aim of CORU is to set and enforce the standards of education, practice, performance, conduct and ethics for each of the professions. Up to date information on the registration board for Clinical Biochemists can be found on the CORU website, http://www.coru.ie.
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