Careers in Healthcare S1 S3 Healthcare science : Biomedical scientist

Claire’s been a qualified biomedical scientist for 16 years. In this episode, she tells us that biomedical science is not just about test tubes, Bunsen burners, and a chance to wear a lab coat! People don’t realise how much biomedical scientists can also get involved in patient care. Claire let us know about her role as a biomedical scientist, and how you can do it too.

Biomedical scientists are part of a team of healthcare scientists who work in laboratories and diagnose diseases and conditions. They’re also involved in evaluating effective treatment plans, to make sure doctors and nurses can offer the correct support and assistance to their patients.

Claire's motivation

When Claire was at school, she loved studying Biology, but she didn’t know anything about having a career in biomedical science. She started university in a different programme, but when she found out she could be a healthcare scientist she quickly switched to that programme instead!

How to become a biomedical scientist

In the episode, Claire explains that there are lots of different routes into becoming a biomedical scientist. She completed an Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) accredited degree, which meant she finished university as a registered biomedical scientist. However, if you do a degree that’s not accredited, you can still work your way towards registration in the workplace through distance learning.

There are no closed doors when it comes to healthcare science. Claire says she has a colleague that started a career in journalism, but decided they wanted to pursue their love of science instead. They got a role as a laboratory assistant and did a part-time accredited HNC, HND and degree programme to become a biomedical scientist. It took 8 years to get there, but they did it!

Once you’re a qualified biomedical scientist, there’s still lots of training and qualifications you can do. Claire decided to become an education and training manager, so she is now a mentor to staff getting all the qualifications that she achieved.

Should you become a biomedical scientist?

If you love science and you want a dynamic and fast-paced role where you’re always learning, Claire says this is the right job for you. It’s also a great job if you want to make a difference to patient outcomes. Claire explains that in her role, you could be working through your nightshift to help a patient who you’ve never met. Despite that, biomedical scientists like Claire are dedicated to their patients, so when she leaves for home and comes back the next day, all she wants to know is how that patient is and if her work has helped.

If you’re interested in becoming a biomedical scientist, Claire suggests you study hard at your science subjects at school, along with English and Maths. You could also decide to do an apprenticeship to get some laboratory experience before studying for your IBMS accredited biomedical science degree. Start by viewing our information on how to become a biomedical scientist.

We hope you enjoyed hearing about Claire’s great work as a biomedical scientist. Make sure to tune in to our other episodes to find out more about different healthcare science roles in NHSScotland. If you’d like to read about NHSScotland careers, including those in healthcare science, explore our careers.