A day in the life of….A Senior Biomedical Scientist in Viapath’s Red Cell Laboratory
The title of Senior Biomedical Scientist sounds quite lofty and intelligent to non-scientists, yet many people in the position will tell you it is just a job. Whilst at times it may feel this way, the role does require knowledge and experience, an ability to work and communicate effectively with colleagues, and a willingness to move with the changes in technology. In the Red Cell Laboratory, we bring all of this together working as a team to get results out in a timely manner whilst keeping up with the quality standards that we must adhere to in order to produce reliable results.
So here is a brief example of my day, how does it compare to yours?
· Get in early, to get a head start on what I know will be a busy day
· Start performing some laboratory tests such as assays for red cell enzyme deficiencies, EMA for hereditary spherocytosis, HPLC analysis of haemoglobinopathies and sickle screening in newborns
· Answer the phone
· Have a brief staff meeting
· Check some results (answer a query from another staff member in between)
· Start authorising some results (answer a phone query in between)
· Quickly do a quality check that a staff member needs doing before they can continue with their work
· Finish authorising that set of results
· Type up a letter to be sent to counsellors regarding follow-up testing of a patient, and try to get it signed by a manager who is in meetings all day
· Help another staff member with an assay problem and learn that I am surprisingly handy with a screwdriver
· Finish off a PowerPoint presentation for an educational meeting with other laboratories, your clinical lead and some trainees
· Go to lunch
· Return from my brief respite only to find an unexpected sample has arrived which requires processing that afternoon and collaboration with another department (who are also short-staffed)
· Take a phone call querying a result from a doctor/midwife/counsellor/another laboratory
· Check some more results in between doing that urgent test
· Realise I still haven’t checked my emails for the day, or started that weekly results list my colleague (who is on annual leave) usually does
· Get the list done and start planning the next day!
Some of the Red Cell Laboratory samples are urgent, as Viapath serves a large community of sickle cell and thalassaemia patients who sometimes require urgent pain treatment and transfusions, and special measures during operations, as well as providing a selection of other specialist red cell tests.
My brief description above shows how busy and demanding our laboratory can be, yet at the same time it provides a challenge, which is what keeps the work interesting. I have been in this role for over four years, yet I still learned two new things, in passing ,today from my colleagues.
There are always new issues to confront, and a variety of people to interact with. And a love of science is a must!
For further information about the Red Cell Laboratory, please contact:
Claire Laas, Senior Biomedical Scientist:
claire [dot] laas [at] nhs [dot] net
Chris Lambert, Service Delivery Manager: chris [dot] lambert [at] nhs [dot] net