A day in the life of….A Senior Biomedical Scientist in Viapath’s Red Cell Laboratory

Wednesday, 11 October, 2017
Claire Laas

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!

Claire Laas.png

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

Or visit: http://www.viapath.co.uk/departments-and-laboratories/red-cell-centre-mo...