Tips for a New Supervisor in Clinical Microbiology

Aug. 15, 2022

Supervisors of clinical microbiology laboratories juggle many responsibilities including, but not limited to, personnel, financial and operations management. As a new supervisor with limited experience, managing these responsibilities, while boosting team morale, can be overwhelming. In this episode of Career Conversations for the Medical and Public Health Laboratory, Perceus Mody, MLS(ASCP)CM,SM, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and guests Haleigh Gregory, MLS(ASCP)CM, Microbiology Supervisor, Sumner Regional Medical Center and Tyler Sanville, MLS(ASCP)CM, Microbiology and Molecular Pathology Supervisor, University of Vermont Medical Center discuss tips for a new supervisor in a clinical microbiology laboratory.

Key Takeaways From the Episode:

  • Before pursuing a clinical microbiology supervisor position, refer to respective state guidelines for more information. Some states may not require a supervisor license.
  • Conducting a mock CAP inspection, or becoming a CAP inspector, can better prepare you for your first CAP inspection.
  • Ask for guidance when you have operational or technical questions from your peers or medical director. If you have questions about personnel, consult your in-house human resources team.
  • Do not hire just to fill a position—make sure the candidate is a good fit for the overall work culture. Have a diverse group of personnel from your laboratory interview them.
  • Do not try to change too many things at once. Have a long-term plan!
  • Involve your bench team or technical lead in key decisions regarding workflow issues or while considering expanding the test menu of your laboratory.
  • Respect all individuals working in the laboratory.

Resources Mentioned in the Episode:

  • ASM Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook.
    The Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook provides step-by-step protocols and descriptions that allow clinical microbiologists and laboratory staff personnel to perform all analyses confidently and accurately, including appropriate quality control recommendations, from the receipt of the specimen through processing, testing, interpretation, presentation of the final report and subsequent consultation.
    CUMITECHS were documents covering the optimal procedures for a variety of clinical microbiology techniques and are now being systemically updated as Practical Guidance for Clinical Microbiology.
  • CAP Microbiology Laboratory Inspection Checklist.
    Prepare for a laboratory inspection by learning what areas of the laboratory will be reviewed during the inspection.
  • Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) Microbiology Standards.
    CLSI is a globally trusted organization known for its development of Microbiology and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) standards and guidelines on test methods and quality control procedures. Review their AST breakpoints to meet global public health challenges related to antimicrobial resistance.
  • Guidelines for the Detection and Identification of Group B Streptococcus.
    Streptococcus agalactiae or Group B Streptococcus (GBS) has long been a leading cause of neonatal infection. ASM is responsible for maintaining and updating guidelines for standard laboratory practices related to detection and identification of GBS.

Additional Resources for Personal Development:

  • Women in Microbiology.
    Women in Microbiology is a collection of inspirational stories about microbiologists who have expanded our knowledge of the natural world, while also making it easier for the next generation of scientists to work collaboratively, and in an atmosphere where people are judged by their intellect, imagination and skill, regardless of gender or race.
  • Germ Theory: Medical Pioneers in Infectious Diseases.
    From Hippocrates to Lillian Wald—the stories of scientists whose work changed the way we think about and treat infection.
  • Planning a Method Verification Study in Clinical Microbiology Labs.
    Method verification studies are standard practices in any clinical laboratory. These studies are required by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) (42 CFR 493.1253) for non-waived systems before reporting patient results. However, the process can be confusing, and verifications for microbiological methods don’t always fit the parameters for analytical assays. How does one begin to confirm that a new test panel is ready to use?
  • How to Discuss New Technologies in the Clinical Microbiology Lab.
    When to implement new technologies in the quest to deliver quick and accurate test results to patients must be carefully considered. The microbiology laboratory staff must discuss all aspects of implementation (not limited to cost) to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks. What elements must be considered before bringing rapid diagnostic technology to the micro lab?
  • ASM’s Microbiology Careers Salary Survey.
    Compare your compensation against peers in your field with ASM’s Microbiology Careers Salary Survey. Through specific and detailed reports, you will gain valuable insights that can help you negotiate your pay and plan your next career move. Not only does it help advance your career, but it can also help break down pay equity barriers across broader microbial sciences community and various industries.
  • Division C Listserv.
    The goal of the DivCNet is to improve communication among clinical microbiology laboratories, and ultimately, improve patient care. This forum may be used to discuss any topic related to clinical microbiology, ASM, ASM Division C, or other topics of interest to the membership. Subscribers must be approved by a DivCNet moderator.
  • ASM Connect.
    Instantly access a community of 30,000 of your peers online with ASM Connect. With networks centered on scientific topics, this platform makes it easy for you to find peers in your field and build your professional connections. This private community allows you to pose questions, share your research, participate in online events and group discussions and much more. ASM Connect is an ASM member-exclusive benefit; join or renew today to unlock access.
  • Resume Tips for a Laboratory Scientist.
    Career Conversations for the Medical and Public Health Laboratory Scientist discusses what should and should not be included in resumes.

Career Conversations for the Medical and Public Health Laboratory Scientist is a twice-quarterly discussion on career advancement in clinical and public health laboratories. Members of ASM’s Clinical Microbiology Mentoring Subcommittee (CMMS) will invite guests from clinical and public health microbiology laboratories to discuss topics specific to the laboratory. The CMMS’ goal is to help others learn more about the profession and advance their careers in the clinical or public health microbiology laboratory.

The CMMS provides career advancement activities for those new to the field of clinical or public health microbiology. Its roster of mentors is available to answer any career advancement questions you have.

Author: ASM Clinical Microbiology Mentoring Subcommittee

ASM Clinical Microbiology Mentoring Subcommittee
ASM's Clinical Microbiology Mentoring Subcommittee (CMMS) provides career and networking advice to those looking to advance in clinical and public health microbiology.

Author: Perceus Mody, MLS(ASCP)CM SMCM

Perceus Mody, MLS(ASCP)CM SMCM
Perceus Mody, MLS(ASCP)CM SMCM, is passionate about furthering fellow clinical microbiologists’ careers, finding the right fit for them and raising awareness about the field.