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 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:

  • English
  • Human Biology
  • Maths

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.

Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships

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:

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 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

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • caring
  • teamworking
  • decision-making
  • leadership
  • problem-solving

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

Working environment

You could work in:

  • laboratory
  • hospital mortuary
  • GP surgery
  • wards

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:

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

Professional bodies

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.