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Biomedical Scientist Profile

 

Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Biomedical Scientist. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Biomedical Scientist
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Biomedical Scientist Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Biomedical scientists do laboratory tests to assist doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. NHS biomedical scientists work in:

• Chemical pathology: analysing blood and other biological materials to diagnose disease.
• Transfusion science: identifying and testing blood groups of donor and recipient blood.
• Haematology: studying the structures and functions of the different types of blood cells.
• Cellular pathology: preparing and investigating tissue samples.
• Medical microbiology: isolating and identifying micro-organisms.
• Virology: identifying infections such as hepatitis, AIDS and rubella.
• Cytology: preparing and studying samples of cellular material collected from patients.
• Immunology: investigating a patient's immune system.

Outside the NHS biomedical scientists do routine tests on food, water, animal or forensic samples. Biomedical scientists may also do research work.

Biochemical scientists work a 37 hour week. Some jobs include shift work, evenings, weekends and on-call work. Clean, and sometimes sterile, working conditions are a requirement, and they use specialist equipment and computers.

A biomedical scientist needs to be:

• able to contribute to patient care and treatment
• responsible, with a mature approach
• interested in the sciences
• interested in the well-being of others.

Most biomedical scientists work in the NHS. Other employers include private hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, independent laboratories, university and research institutes, and government agencies such as the Health Protection Agency.

Most new entrants are graduates. Some enter with A levels/H grades and study for a degree part time. There are no age limits for entry to biomedical scientist posts, but people still need a degree. Progression depends on experience, responsibilities, and qualifications.

What does the role encounter?

Scientists and technologists (referred to in the NHS as healthcare scientists) are essential members of today's healthcare team. Whether it's preparing an operating room for transplant surgery, analysing tissue samples or researching how results from the human genome project can be translated into new treatments, these jobs are done by people whose expertise helps to save lives and improve care for millions of NHS users.

One group of healthcare scientists are biomedical scientists (or medical laboratory scientific officers - MLSOs as they are known in the NHS). MLSOs carry out a range of laboratory tests to assist doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The work is highly varied, and both practical and analytical. In hospitals, biomedical scientists work in the following areas:

• Chemical pathology: analysing blood and other biological materials to diagnose diseases such as diabetes, testing liver and kidney function, detecting poisons or drug misuse, and monitoring the progress of treatment. This work is highly automated.
• Transfusion science: identifying blood groups and testing for compatibility of donor and recipient blood, as well as preparing blood transfusions and plasma fractions for administration to patients.
• Haematology: studying the structures and functions of the different types of blood cells, counting blood cells, identifying abnormalities and estimating haemoglobin levels. These tests help in the diagnosis of anaemia and leukaemia.
• Cellular pathology: preparing and investigating tissue samples, using microscopes to establish the cause of illness.
• Medical microbiology: isolating and identifying micro-organisms and testing their susceptibility to antibiotics. Diseases diagnosed can include meningitis, food poisoning and urinary tract infections, tuberculosis and septicaemia.
• Virology: infections such as hepatitis, AIDS and rubella are identified. Selected screening of those at risk is also carried out.
• Cytology: preparing and studying samples of cellular material collected from patients. After staining the cells, cancerous or cancer cells can be identified using a microscope.
• Immunology: investigating a patient's immune system to diagnose and treat conditions and diseases such as allergies, tumours and AIDS. This work includes tissue typing for tissue grafts and organ transplants.

The work of biomedical scientists in laboratories outside the NHS can include carrying out routine tests on food, water, animal or forensic samples, depending on the type of laboratory.
Biomedical scientists in all these different areas of work may have the opportunity to become involved in research.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Biomedical scientists in the NHS usually work a basic 37-hour week. This may involve shift work, as well as on-call evening or weekend work.

Clean, and sometimes sterile, working conditions are a requirement, and they use specialist equipment and computers. Protective clothing, including overalls, coats, gloves, masks and safety glasses are worn when needed.

The work can involve sitting or standing at a bench, or piece of specialist equipment, for long periods.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

Biomedical scientists working in the NHS are paid the following:
• Trainees generally receive between £11,584 and £12,978.
• Experienced and well-qualified staff receive between £19,978 and £28,438.
• The most experienced biomedical scientists can earn up to £37,421.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• to be good at biology and chemistry
• a desire to contribute to patient care and treatment
• a responsible and mature approach to their work
• to be good at practical work
• accuracy, with good attention to detail
• ability to follow instructions and set procedures
• ability to work as part of a team
• ability to supervise the work of more junior staff in the laboratory.

What type of training will I receive?

To work in the NHS it is necessary to be state registered. For registration, applicants need an honours degree approved by the Health Professions Council, and a minimum of one year's in-service training in an approved laboratory. A list of approved degree courses can be obtained from the Institute of Biomedical Science.

Graduates with other relevant degrees may become registered by submitting a transcript of their degree and completing longer training, or by following an approved postgraduate course of study.

Career Progression:

In the NHS there are four grades of qualified biomedical scientist. Progression depends on experience, complexity of the work and management responsibilities, as well as on gaining higher qualifications, such as an MSc and Fellowship of the Institute of Biomedical Science.

Are there similar types of job or related industries?

Yes, this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:

Biochemist
Chemist
Clinical Scientist
Food Scientist
Forensic Scientist
Medical Laboratory Assistant
Medical Technical Officer
Microbiologist
Pharmacologist
Pharmacy Technician
Scientist

Where can I find further information?

Institute of Biomedical Science, 12 Coldbath Square, London EC1R 5HL. 020 7713 0214. Website: www.ibms.org and www.ibmsscience.org

The Health Professions Council, Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BU. 020 7582 0866. Website: www.hpc-uk.org

NHS Careers, PO Box 376, Bristol BS99 3EY. 0845 60 60 655. Website: www.nhscareers.nhs.uk

What trade magazines are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

Leaflets from the Institute of Biomedical Science
Leaflets from NHS Careers

Is There Another Name For This Role?

Yes. Sometimes job roles attract similar titles. Another term or title for this job might be:

Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer


Other Useful Biomedical Scientist Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Biomedical Scientist job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Biomedical Scientist Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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