Specialist training in medical microbiology across Europe in 2021 – An update on the actual training situation based on a survey

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2021 Jun 28:S1198-743X(21)00354-2. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2021.06.027. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The importance of defining and establishing professional standards for Clinical Microbiology (CM) in Europe has long been highlighted, starting with the development of a European curriculum. The first European Curriculum in Medical Microbiology (MM) was adopted by Union European of Medical Specialists (UEMS) council in 2017.

OBJECTIVES: This paper assesses how training programmes in CM in Europe align to the European curriculum, just under five years after its introduction, and review what methods of assessment are in use to assess the CM trainees' progress during training programmes.

SOURCES: Using an internet-based platform, a questionnaire was circulated to the full, associate and observer members of the UEMS section MM. Information collected related to the structure, content, and delivery of CM training in the participating countries, as well as methods of assessment used to evaluate training progress.

CONTENT: Twenty-one countries responded, from a total of thirty countries invited to participate. All had a structured CM training programme, with a curriculum, dedicated trainers, and a record of training activities. Fifteen countries require trainees to pass an exit exam, while over 60% of countries participate in continuous workplace-based assessment. 57% of participating countries meet the European Training Requirements recommendation that duration of specialist training is 60 months. Regarding core competencies, all trainees gain experience in laboratory skills and infection prevention and control, while the emphasis on clinical management and antimicrobial stewardship is more varied across countries.

IMPLICATIONS: The UEMS MM curriculum has been largely adopted by 21 countries within less than 5 years of ratification which speaks optimistically to a future of standardised quality training across Europe. The introduction of a pilot European Examination in Clinical Microbiology in 2021 is the start of a pan-European assessment of the success of the implementation of this curriculum and the first step in quality assurance for CM training in Europe.

PMID:34197933 | DOI:10.1016/j.cmi.2021.06.027