Healthcare science support worker
Healthcare science support workers assist science practitioners and clinical scientists. They work across a range of healthcare science areas that include:
They assist senior staff in the provision of a healthcare science service. Their duties might consist of:
- preparation of reagents,
- labelling biological samples
- using computers to record test results
- assisting patients
Starting your career
Choosing subjects at school
Useful school subjects for healthcare science support workers include:
- Human Biology
Work placements and volunteering
You may find it helpful to get some experience of working in healthcare by doing a work placement. There may also be opportunities to volunteer. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland.
A Modern Apprenticeship could give you the skills, knowledge and work experience you need to begin working as a healthcare science support worker.
Relevant Modern Apprenticeships include:
All Healthcare Support modern apprentices study the three mandatory units of communication, health and safety, and learning development. For healthcare science support worker, you will then choose your remaining units from the clinical pathway options.
You’ll undertake a range of routine and non-routine clinical laboratory support duties. This will be under the guidance of healthcare scientists and practitioners.
What you’ll do
Your main tasks will include:
- collecting and preparing materials and clinical specimens for analysis
- preparing basic chemical solutions
- the safe disposal of clinical waste
- making sure the equipment is clean and sterile
- maintaining and repairing laboratory equipment
You may also be required to deal with administrative tasks, such as:
- registering patients in the laboratory information system
- working at reception
- handling telephone queries
You’ll need these skills:
Good scientific, technical and practical skills are also useful.
Who you’ll work with
You could work with:
- biomedical scientists
- clinical scientists
- healthcare science assistant practitioners
- other healthcare scientists
You could work in:
- hospital mortuary
- GP surgery
Did you know?
Healthcare science support workers can work across all of the healthcare science disciplines.
Learning and development
You will be encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland. You'll receive training about:
- all standard operating procedures
- quality management policies
- external quality assessment and internal quality control
- laboratory and hospital health and safety
- risk management
You'll also be required to adhere to local policies and current data protection legislation, such as GDPR.
You could be encouraged to work towards other qualifications, such as:
- Laboratory Associated Technical Activities at SCQF Level 7
- Laboratory Skills (Life Science) at SCQF Level 7
Institute of Biomedical Science (IMBS) Certificate of Achievement
As a healthcare science support worker in laboratory services you can gain the IBMS Certificate of Achievement. This will allow you to demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and evidence of laboratory training.
Once you have completed the Certificate of Achievement, you will be able to apply to the IBMS for registration as a registered scientist (RSci).
Gaining qualifications will help your career prospects. This could lead to more senior roles, such as:
Qualifications could also provide the opportunity for you to specialise in areas of biomedicine, such as:
- blood sciences
- cellular sciences
- infection sciences
To become a healthcare science support worker for NHSScotland, you'll need to have a membership with Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme.