Genetic technologist rotation the birmingham experience
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Genetic Technologist – Rotation The Birmingham Experience. Why instigate a rotation?. Historical practices not working. Ever increasing workload, samples & diseases. Required reduction in turnaround times (WP). New equipment purchased through WP.

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Genetic technologist rotation the birmingham experience

Genetic Technologist – RotationThe Birmingham Experience

Why instigate a rotation
Why instigate a rotation?

  • Historical practices not working.

  • Ever increasing workload, samples & diseases.

  • Required reduction in turnaround times (WP).

  • New equipment purchased through WP.

  • Increase in both scientist and technical staff.

  • Lead to training issues, rotation problems, competence problems and space issues.

  • Address high GT turnover

Historical perspective
Historical perspective

  • Each GT assigned to a disease.

  • Disease workload not even.

  • Length of time on each disease could vary.

  • GT not gaining experience/competence.

  • High GT turnover, diseases left with no technical cover or anyone suitably trained.

  • Sickness/holiday stretched GT resources to the limit.

  • New GTs moved around to “plug gaps”!

Detrimental impact
Detrimental impact

  • Workloads not covered.

  • Increased reporting times.

  • Increased backlogs.

  • Increased stress, decreased morale.

  • High GT turnover.

  • How do we address these problems?

  • GT Rotation

Genetic technologist rotation
Genetic Technologist Rotation

  • Workload cover

  • GT training

  • GT competence

  • CPD

  • Career progression

  • Decrease GT turnover? Hopefully!

Genetic technologist rotation1
Genetic Technologist Rotation

  • First implemented in January 2004.

  • Work by technique rather than disease.

  • Lab divided into 4 areas of similar technique.

    • Extractions

    • Fragment Analysis

    • Molecular Oncology

    • High-Throughput Mutation Screening

  • Each area split into 3 units of specific technique.

  • Each area will have MTO3 in charge of training & workloads.

Gt rotation original plan1
GT Rotation – Original Plan

  • GT will spend 3 months in each unit, thus rotating through the whole section in 3 years.

  • After 3 years rotation will return to beginning.

  • Inevitably more techniques/diseases taken on.

  • Increased automation, scope for new units.

  • Workloads in each unit will evolve over time.

  • Not all competences can be completed in just 3 months.

Unit workloads
Unit workloads

  • Outline workloads for each unit and review associated competencies.

  • Define workloads that GTs are expected to achieve in a day or week.

  • Set achievable minimum levels for required workload.

  • Scope for personal development.

  • Also reviewing competencies to improve training.

  • Ensure all SOPs updated and correct.


  • Poses huge training issues and commitment.

  • Initially, only 2 MTO3s in place.

  • Scientists on each disease will be responsible for training as required.

  • Continually monitor effectiveness.

Rotation benefits
Rotation Benefits

  • For the DNA section:

    • More MTOs trained on more techniques thus able to provide more cover

    • Holiday/sickness cover also provided by MTO3s

    • After 1 year 4 MTOs able to cover a unit

    • If MTO leaves new recruit will slot straight in

  • Turnaround times maintained

  • Cover available for increased workload

Rotation benefits1
Rotation Benefits

  • For the MTOs:

    • More variety

    • More interesting

    • Clear objectives on each unit

    • More competences completed

    • Career progression

    • CPD

    • Happier and more fulfilled!

Gt rotation progress review
GT Rotation – Progress Review

  • Still in use, although undergone several modifications.

  • 3 month rotation, very optimistic.

  • Different GTs, different skills.

  • GTs have picked up more skills and more flexible in covering workload.

  • More variety in workload.

  • More competencies completed.

  • Career Progression – 3 more MTO3s.

Gt rotation progress review1
GT Rotation – Progress Review

  • MTO3s greater responsibility for managing lab workload.

  • MTO3s provide nearly all the technical training to both GTs and CS trainees.

  • Remaining GTs are far more skilled than previous and adept at covering other units at short notice.

  • GTs more competent.


Gt rotation progress review2
GT Rotation – Progress Review

  • Negative – still significantly high GT turnover, tend to have around 2-3/year on CS training scheme.

  • Salary difference, lack of official training/ education.

  • Still perceived as ‘stepping-stone’.

  • Ties in to future regulation and training of technical staff (see later).