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:

  • pathology
  • cardiology
  • respiratory
  • audiology

They assist senior staff in the provision of a healthcare science service. Their duties could include the preparation of reagents, labelling biological samples, using computers to record test results and assisting patients.

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To become a healthcare science support worker, you need a good standard of education. Useful subjects include:

  • English
  • Human Biology
  • Maths

Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a good way to start your career in healthcare.

Modern Apprenticeships

A Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) is appropriate for people interested in working in a clinical healthcare support role.

Other relevant Modern Apprenticeships include:

Find out more about apprenticeships at apprenticeships.scot.

Work placement

If you’re at school or thinking of changing career, doing a work placement could help you when applying to college, university or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service. Find out how to apply for work experience with the NHS.

The role

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 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 administration issues. This may include registering patients in the laboratory information system or dealing with reception and telephone queries.

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • caring for people
  • collaborating with people
  • decision-making
  • leadership
  • problem-solving
  • working in a team

Good scientific, technical and practical skills are necessary also.

Who you’ll work with

You could work with:

  • biomedical scientists
  • clinical scientists
  • healthcare science assistant practitioners
  • other healthcare scientists

Working environment

You could work in:

  • laboratory
  • hospital mortuary
  • GP surgery
  • wards

Useful information

To work as a healthcare science support worker in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

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 and will be given training such as:

  • all standard operating procedures
  • quality management policies
  • external quality assessment and internal quality control
  • laboratory and hospital health and safety
  • risk management

In addition, you’ll be required to adhere to local policies and current data protection legislation, such as GDPR.

You may also require or be encouraged to work towards other qualifications:

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.

You will have to complete two parts. Part 1 is open to members and non-members of the IBMS and no previous experience is necessary. In Scotland, candidates for part 2 must be an Associate of the IBMS, have an SCQF Level 6 qualification in biological science and be registered as a science technician with the Science Council.

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 a healthcare science assistant practitioner or a biomedical scientist. They could also provide the opportunity for you to specialise in areas of biomedicine, such as blood sciences, cellular sciences, and infection sciences.