A guide to the new DEP in Ultrastructural Pathology

What is it, why should I take it and handy hints to pass it.

The UK’s Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) recently launched version 2 of their Diploma of Expert Practice (DEP) in Ultrastructural Pathology. Version 1 having been available from approximately 2008 to 2016. In order to be allowed to embark on this diploma, candidates have to be members of the IBMS at either the level of Member or Fellow – see www.ibms.org/education/higher-and-expert-qualifications/diploma-of-expert-practice and follow links for details.

The DEP in Ultrastructural Pathology is there to help those whose professional work includes photographing biopsies taken for diagnosis on a transmission electron microscope (TEM). The diploma is a two-step process with a portfolio following a syllabus where the candidate provides evidence of understanding of the topics and once that has been passed, an exam. The portfolio and exam is made up of a mandatory component and four tissue optional modules: renal, cilia, muscle and nerve, skin. A minimum of two optional modules has to be taken.

The benefits to taking this qualification are many - but most importantly, the patient whose biopsy has been taken presumes that it will be looked at by an expert, and what better way to become an expert than by following a training syllabus and passing an exam in the subject. Or, if you are already an expert in diagnostic EM what better way of demonstrating your level of competence than by having this qualification.

Laboratory managers may support your application to take the DEP but point out that in your case at this moment in time it won’t automatically lead to an increase in responsibility and therefore grade. However, given the amount of effort involved and the lack of guarantee in passing they and your colleagues won’t fail to be impressed – and who knows, having it may well help when looking at a higher grade when staying in EM.

How best to approach studying whilst also working is make every case a learning opportunity and if there is anything you come across you don’t know, look it up. And finally, make the most of the meetings the professional bodies and societies such as NEQAS, IBMS, ACEM, SUP, Pathsoc, ESP, RMS, SEMT