• General pathology

General pathology

Summary

General pathology involves all aspects of pathology. It deals with the diagnosis and management of disease by the use of every component of laboratory medicine and every diagnostic technique, including examination of the patient. General pathologists have a very broad understanding of the pathophysiology of disease, the diagnostic value of individual tests, and also of the laboratory and its workings.

General pathologists must be familiar with the theoretical basis of investigation and the scientific principles of anatomical, biochemical and physiological processes of the healthy human body and the mechanisms that fail during disease. They must also have knowledge and experience of the limits of investigative processes, pitfalls in measurements, and in interpretation of diagnostic techniques. They are often responsible for managing laboratories, ensuring the quality of the results and providing a diagnostic service and advice to clinicians. They use their expertise in macroscopic pathology, histopathology (surgical pathology), cytopathology, chemical pathology, haematology, microbiology, immunopathology, molecular pathology and autopsy pathology in the diagnosis and management of patients and in offering expert opinion to clinicians as to the choice of biopsy/specimen, taking into account the clinical setting and its limitations in the interpretation of results.

specialty image
36–40 hours/week
average time worked
$239,000 median/year
average salary
5 years
min full time
GP sub-specialty
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General pathology
The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA)
   
General pathology involves all aspects of pathology. It deals with the diagnosis and management of disease by the use of every component of laboratory medicine and every diagnostic technique, including examination of the patient. General pathologists have a very broad understanding of the pathophysiology of disease, the diagnostic value of individual tests, and also of the laboratory and its workings.

General pathologists must be familiar with the theoretical basis of investigation and the scientific principles of anatomical, biochemical and physiological processes of the healthy human body and the mechanisms that fail during disease. They must also have knowledge and experience of the limits of investigative processes, pitfalls in measurements, and in interpretation of diagnostic techniques. They are often responsible for managing laboratories, ensuring the quality of the results and providing a diagnostic service and advice to clinicians. They use their expertise in macroscopic pathology, histopathology, cytopathology, chemical pathology, haematology, microbiology, immunopathology, molecular pathology and autopsy pathology in the diagnosis and management of patients and in offering expert opinion to clinicians as to the choice of biopsy/specimen, taking into account the clinical setting and its limitations in the interpretation of results.
https://www.rcpa.edu.au/getattachment/36336709-d8f1-4397-b77e-4578b130c1f7/general-pathology-trainee-handbook.aspx
$1,144 per training year plus $110 registration fee
36–40
60/40
N/A
5
Undersubscribed
10
No
N/A
The college accepts applications from registered medical practitioners with a minimum of one year's postgraduate experience who wish to become specialist pathologists. Applicants must be employed in an accredited laboratory before seeking registration with the college. Laboratories are accredited for training in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. The college plays no part in placing applicants in employment.

Pathology training takes a minimum of five years. Before applying for training with the college, the trainee must be employed in a training position in a laboratory accredited by the college. Once employment and supervision has been secured, the trainee can apply at any time during the year for initial registration by completing the Initial Registration form. A supervisor is normally allocated by the head of department in negotiation with the trainee. A trainee may request an alternate supervisor without penalty. 
The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia accredits laboratories for pathology training, approves supervised training undertaken in an accredited laboratory and conducts examinations leading to certification as a qualified pathologist and Fellow of the college (FRCPA).
https://www.rcpa.edu.au/Pathology-Careers/Becoming-A-Pathologist/Detailed-Information-About-Becoming-a-Pathologist/Initial-Registration/
63
$239,000 median
Formal examinations:
- Basic pathological sciences examination (usually taken before or during the first year of training): $670 (or $140 if a current medical student).
- Individual written examinations in anatomical pathology ($1680) and in each of the clinical disciplines, i.e. chemical pathology ($610), haematology ($610) and microbiology ($610). The examination in anatomical pathology is ordinarily taken in the final year of training in anatomical pathology.
- An oral examination in anatomical pathology, which is usually taken in the final year of anatomical pathology training ($1015).
$5,190
To gain FRCPA in general pathology requires the equivalent of five years of full-time accredited pathology laboratory training and satisfactory completion of the assessment program detailed in this handbook: https://www.rcpa.edu.au/getattachment/36336709-d8f1-4397-b77e-4578b130c1f7/general-pathology-trainee-handbook.aspx

A minimum of 8 months must be spent in each of microbiology, haematology and clinical chemistry. Most trainees will spend a year in these disciplines. Relevant immunopathology and genetic pathology are included in these clinical disciplines.

A minimum of two years must be spent in anatomical pathology, which includes cytology and forensic pathology. Some trainees may spend three years. It is advisable to take advantage of available opportunities to gain experience in cytology and small biopsy not only during anatomical pathology training but also during the years of training in the clinical disciplines.

Workplace-based assessments in genetic pathology and immunopathology to be completed during training are based on those in the handbooks for each of these two disciplines, but modified to be more appropriate for a general pathologist.

All disciplines will require an adequate supervisor report, success at formal exams and evidence of having satisfactorily completed a portfolio of workplace-based assessment activities. Training in smaller laboratories is acceptable with access to suitably experienced pathologists and 'linked' establishments with specialised tests. Some training in specialist laboratories is encouraged.
Applications close mid-February.
2 preferred

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