Life in the Lab – Microbiology Technician

Part of my Life in the Lab Series.

Here I summarise what each of my scientific roles have entailed.

As a Microbiology Technician, what does the day entail?

13:00hrs -Start shift

  • Check daily roster
  • Check all validation tags on incubators, thermometers, water baths, laminar flow hoods, air samplers and anything else requiring periodic re-certification
  • Check temperature charts for Water For Injection (WFI), pre-stills and anything else that has a chart
  • Read previous days’ environmental monitoring media (contact plates, air strips, swabs, print plates, bioburden samples, WFI samples) – record results and bring any out of limit results to the attention of supervisor
  • Prepare media (contact plates, air strips, swabs) for mixing and washing room environmental monitoring
  • Prepare Schott bottles for WFI / pre-still sampling

14:30hrs – 15 minute break

  • Sample WFI from mixing rooms, washing rooms, packing rooms while checking and recording temperature of water
  • Return to lab and place sample bottles in fridge
  • Process any room monitoring swabs returned from production after wiping down laminar flow hood with sterile wipe ad 70% IPA (monitor cleanrooms while in production if assigned task – here ensure room airlock differentials are within limits and visually inspect everything for integrity)
  • Prepare and filter WFI samples
  • Prepare and filter bioburden samples (in process samples taken from production, both pre and post filter)

16:00hrs – 45 minute lunch

  • Monitor mixing and washing rooms that I’ve decided to do today (I have a week to capture all rooms on a rotational grid basis – again ensure room airlock differentials are within limits and visually inspect everything for integrity)
  • More swab processing
  • Prepare and filer WFI samples
  • Sample production operator’s gown and prints as part of validation and on going certification
  • Start autoclave run
  • More swab processing
  • Determine filling schedule for tomorrow – prepare sampling forms and environmental monitoring media for the next day.  Label everything

19:00hrs – 15 minute break

  • Place processed samples from today into the appropriate incubator at the appropriate temperature
  • Place prepared media for tomorrow into fridge
  • Finish off swab processing
  • Close laminar flow hoods, wipe down surfaces with 70% IPA, turn off airflow and turn on UV light
  • Check autoclave chart to determine if last run suitable.  If so, transfer sterilised equipment to storage bay, begin new run if more equipment needs sterilisation
  • Dispose of unused melted swab agar
  • Ensure waste bins not filled past line
  • Check assigned task roster to determine if any tasks remain
  • Check fridge to determine if any unprocessed swabs remain (i.e. someone forgot to do their job) – process any remaining samples
  • Double check everything done for the day
  • Leave handover information for 7am shift

21:30 – Depart for home

Roles Held

Microbiology Technician – Microbiology Analyst – Senior Microbiologist aka “Microbiology Officer”Quality Assurance Microbiologist – Non Sterile Microbiology Team Leader