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Forensic Pathologist

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require post-graduate qualifications. For example, they may require a masters degree, and some require a Ph.D., or M.D.

Related Experience
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialised medical training to be able to do their job.

Job Training
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Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organisational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and most scientists.

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At a Glance... header image

Investigates deaths where there are medico-legal implications, for example, suspected homicides, death in custody and other complex cases.


The Work header image

The day-to-day work of a Forensic Pathologist is performing autopsies, for example in a case of a stabbing, shooting or head injury, which are common methods of homicide.

Autopsies are usually carried out under the authority of the State coroner, with police present.

The work of a Forensic Pathlogist also involves attendance at court cases and the coroner’s court, to explain medical issues to juries as well as relatives.

Forensic pathologists are supported in their work by clinical, biomedical and forensic scientists. Scientists can specialise, for example, in DNA fingerprinting or the identification of plant material and fibres.

This career area also gives you the opportunity of working with non-medical personnel such as police, barristers and lawyers.

Forensic Pathologists also undertake opinion work for lawyers or other organisations. This may be on behalf of a defendant on a murder charge, or acting in civil proceedings.

Forensic Pathology does not fall within the remit of the health service.

 

 


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Examine microscopic samples to identify diseases or other abnormalities.

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Diagnose diseases or study medical conditions using techniques such as gross pathology, histology, cytology, cytopathology, clinical chemistry, immunology, flow cytometry, and molecular biology.

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Write pathology reports summarizing analyses, results, and conclusions.

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Identify the etiology, pathogenesis, morphological change, and clinical significance of diseases.

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Analyze and interpret results from tests such as microbial or parasite tests, urine analyses, hormonal assays, fine needle aspirations (FNAs), and polymerase chain reactions (PCRs).

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Communicate pathologic findings to surgeons or other physicians.

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Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in pathology.

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Consult with physicians about ordering and interpreting tests or providing treatments.

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Plan and supervise the work of the pathology staff, residents or visiting pathologists.

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Review cases by analyzing autopsies, laboratory findings, or case investigation reports.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

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Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

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Analyzing Data or Information:  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

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Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates:  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Documenting/Recording Information:  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

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Training and Teaching Others:  Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Medicine and Dentistry:  Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

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Biology:  Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

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English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Administration and Management:  Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

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Computers and Electronics:  Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

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Instructing:   Teaching others how to do something.

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Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

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Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

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Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

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Science:   Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

Forensic Pathology is a specialist area that requires good communication skills, as well as an ability to work under pressure and a flexible approach to the working day, as much of the work is unpredictable.


Entry Routesheader image

You can only become a Forensic Pathologist after graduating from medical school and completing foundation training.

Specialist Forensic Pathology training is not currently available in Ireland. 

In the UK: Forensic pathology is a specialised branch of histopathology and those intending to pursue a career in forensic pathology should first train in histopathology. The run-through training programme is a minimum of five years postgraduate training. Training in forensic pathology will begin after approximately two to three years of training in histopathology and acquisition of Part 1 of the membership examination of the Royal College of Pathologists (MRCPath) in the UK.

 

 

 

Last Updated: November, 2014


Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Forensic Science Laboratory (Eolaíocht Fhóiréinseach Éireann)
  Address: Garda HQ, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
  Tel: (01) 666 2910
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

 

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