Biomedical scientists carry out a range of laboratory and scientific tests to support the diagnosis of disease. In a blood sciences department supporting A&E for example, your work would include testing for emergency blood transfusions and grouping, as well as taking tests on patient samples that may have overdosed, had a heart attack or a thrombosis.
Cancer, diabetes, blood disorders, anaemia, meningitis, hepatitis and HIV are just some of the medical conditions that you could be investigating as a biomedical scientist. You would also perform a key role in screening for diseases such as cancer, identifying those caused by bacteria and viruses, and monitoring the effects of medication and other treatments.
You would learn to work with computers, sophisticated automated equipment, microscopes and other hi-tech laboratory equipment and you would employ a wide range of complex modern techniques in your day-to-day work.
To work as a Biomedical Scientist you will need effective communication and team working skills. You will also need to be confident with technology and systems/processes. If you work in a role with responsibility for resources (such as staff, budgets or equipment) you'll need excellent leadership skills.
Entry will usually require an accredited integrated BSc degree in Healthcare Science (life sciences) or an honours degree in biomedical science. Many BMS staff will have completed a full-time Masters degree and those who have not are encouraged to enrol in a part-time MSc course to enable future progression to higher grade BMS posts. Examples of such courses include day release courses (e.g. Westminster University which is one day a week for 30 weeks a year over two years) or distance learning courses (e.g. Greenwich/Ulster Universities). All of these courses require completion of a research project that is funded by the employer.
It is also possible to start work with A levels in life sciences and/or equivalent as a trainee biomedical scientist, whilst studying for a degree on a part-time basis. Trainee BMS staff are required to complete a portfolio to obtain HCPC registration. This entails rotation through appropriate areas of the laboratory with at-the-bench training plus structured assessments and a final viva with an appointed external assessor.
For more information on a career as a Biomedical Scientist go to www.ibms.org.