HSL Online: Would you mind telling us a little about how you started your career in biomedical science?
BJ: After finishing my A-levels I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do career-wise. It was my friend who stumbled across a job advert in the local newspaper, looking for school leavers interested in biology and chemistry. I’ve always enjoyed science so thought I’d apply. The application was for a trainee MLSO post (medical laboratory scientific officer – now known as a biomedical scientist), and was based at my local hospital in Romford, Essex. I went along for an interview not really knowing what to expect, and 27 years later here I am! I started my first training post in September 1990, and qualified as a fully-registered biomedical scientist in 1994.
HSL Online: What do you enjoy most about being a biomedical scientist?
BJ: You definitely can’t say that being a biomedical scientist is boring. I love that it’s a puzzle – you have to put together various pieces of information to get the overall picture of the patient. We work closely with clinicians to support diagnosis by interpreting the information available and helping to decide if any extra tests are needed. I find that the biggest and best part of the job.
HSL Online: What attributes do you think make an exceptional biomedical scientist?
BJ: To me, an exceptional biomedical scientist is someone who is keen, enthusiastic and good at solving puzzles. They also have to be technically-minded with great IT skills. Although in haematology analysers do much of the work, we still have to perform blood films by hand. This is a subjective technique which requires a high level of knowledge and skill. Most importantly, biomedical scientists need to be analytically-minded: machines can churn out raw data, but we help interpret it into something meaningful. This is where the real skill lies.
HSL Online: How do you feel about HSL sponsoring the Biomedical Scientist of the Year award?
BJ: I think it’s great that HSL is sponsoring this award. So many biomedical scientists are engaged in really innovative and exciting projects right now, and I’m glad that HSL is helping to highlight that. Not many people know what we do, so it’s an amazing opportunity to raise the profile of our profession and our role in patient care.
The Biomedical Scientist of the Year award is sponsored by HSL and will celebrate an exceptional biomedical scientist who has used his or her skills and expertise to advance practice in an innovative and impactful way, making a real difference to patients’ lives and inspiring those around them. You may nominate yourself, a colleague, or suggest he or she nominates him or herself.
The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 19 January 2018.