I Want to Work in ...... Hospital Science
There are a range of jobs here which all involve working in hospital laboratories. These include Clinical Biochemist, Clinical Microbiologist, Clinical Cytogeneticist, Immunological Scientist and others.
These organise tests on patient samples to assist with investigation, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Advise clinicians and GPs on use of tests and interpretation of results. Carry out research as well as evaluation and quality assessment of diagnostic tests. Typically you work in a hospital paid on the Grade A Clinical Scientists pay scale while completing a relevant Masters degree on a part-time basis (this is fully paid for).
Holding an MSc or Phd did not make much difference to an application. Those recruited were primarily those who had demonstrated their commitment via obtaining work experience and all round commitment to extra-curricular activities.
Typical work activities include:
- Planning and organising work in clinical chemistry laboratories.
- Carrying out complex analyses on specimens of body fluids and tissues.
- Auditing the use and diagnosis performance of tests.
- Developing new and existing tests, mostly automated and computer assisted.
- Submitting funding bids and conducting research with clinicians.
- Liaising with clinical and technical staff.
- Some patient contact.
Scientists Training Programme for healthcare scientists
NHS trusts, working in partnership with strategic health authorities and higher education Institutions, offer about 200 training posts in life sciences, physics and engineering and physiological sciences each year tol join a three-year, fixed term, integrated training programme of workplace-based learning and a master’s degree in their chosen specialism. Successful candidates join a three-year, fixed term, integrated training programme of workplace-based learning and a Master's degree in their chosen specialism.
There is a single national timetable for recruitment, national guidelines for the conduct of selection interviews, and assessment centres to ensure all candidates are treated fairly. Science graduates apply through the NHS Jobs website, with shortlisting and selection processes organised and conducted by local NHS trusts.
Details of training places are on the NHS Jobs site www.jobs.nhs.uk and includes a Job Description and Person Specification and a list of all the posts is on the NHS Careers website www.nhscareers.nhs.uk. Applicants apply on line to the trusts offering training programmes in their preferred specialist area e.g. Clinical Biochemistry. You can make up to a maximum of 4 applications for 4 separate posts/trusts. You must fully research the programme and read details of the job descriptions and person specification for the posts available before you submit yuor application and pay close attention to the requirements in the person specification including the degree eligibility requirements for entry to the Masters programme.
The closing date for STP applications for 2013 entry is late February 2013. Assessment Centres take place in April.
The NHS STP recruitment cycle for 2013 will commence in January. The National School of Healthcare Science has produced an indicative timescale of the STP 2013 recruitment process. This indicates when the various stages of the process are planned to take place (of course this is indicate, and so could change a little). Details are on its website: http://bit.ly/SrWkDc
There will be open days at some of the trusts in England that will have STP vacancies.Details of these open days will appear on the Facebook page of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, which is also where potential applicants will be able to read occasional postings about the 2013 STP.
The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/NHSGraduateScheme/events. We recommend potential applicants to check the page regularly. There are already a couple of open days listed.
Twitter follow @NHSGradScheme, @NHS_Careers and @Alan_Simmons and/or search for the hashtag #NHSSTP
Potential applicants should familiarise themselves with the information about STP on our main website at: www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/hcstp This currently includes information about the requirements (including a person spec and FAQs) for the 2012 entry, but this information will be updated in due course. Anyone interested in applying for the 2013 STP recruitment cycle will need to have read the information on our site before applying. Details of where to go to apply will be published on our site (on the page above) as soon as we receive the details.
Short listers will not be able to see the choices the candidates have made so if candidates choose two different specialisms their application will go to both short listing panels who will not know if the applicant has that specialism as first or second choice. They also will not see candidate names.
You can find more details of the scheme here and www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/hcsci_training_programme.shtml
Questions on the application form include:
- Your motivation and commitment to the Training Programme. In no more than 300 words, please state why you have applied for the NHS Healthcare Scientist Training Programme outlining your motivation for the programme and what you plan to gain in terms of career development.
- Your passion for science and/or technology. In no more than 300 words, please demonstrate your passion for science and/or technology and provide evidence about how you seek to implement constant improvement and innovation in your work/studies
- Patients. In no more than 300 words, please explain how you would hope to apply your skills and knowledge for the benefit of patients and the public
- Team working and leadership. In no more than 300 words demonstrate how you have worked as part of a team and outline the skills you used to influence the outputs of that team. Please summarise your achievements in order to demonstrate you are a high achieving individual. This asks for an example of working in a team with detail on how the individual influenced the output of the team. Then it asks for a summary of achievements which demonstrate they are a high achieving individual. This seems like a strange combination (teamwork and high achieving individual in the same question). It is unclear whether applicants should answer the teamwork element and then go on to summarise all of their achievements from the past couple of years OR to only list the achievements which relate to their teamwork example (which would be few as the example is about a team effort).
There have been postings on the Facebook page which advise along these lines: 'The second part of the question should read in the context of the first, with candidates summarising their achievements IN THE EXAMPLE THEY USED to demonstrate they are a high achieving individual when it comes to working in teams and leadership.'
The STP FAQ says that successful candidates might have a variety of relevant qualifications and experience. Candidates should have at least an upper second or first class BSc Honours Degree or equivalent in a pure or applied science. The most commonly accepted degrees will be:
- Life Sciences: life sciences, biology, microbiology, genetics or biochemistry
- Physical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering: pure or applied physics, engineering, applied mathematics
- Physiological Sciences: physiology, pure or applied physics, engineering, biology or human biology.
- Science degrees related to medicine and those such as biomedical science, medical electronics or biotechnology may also be considered suitable if relevant to the specialty or theme for which you are applying.
A Masters degree, PhD or research experience related to healthcare science are also desirable.
STP vacancies are available in:
- Life sciences (e.g. biochemistry, clinical immunology, microbiology, histopathology etc). Healthcare staff working in the life sciences are mainly lab. based (e.g. working in pathology, genetics etc), with limited direct patient contact, although this could change as more NHS staff become community based in the future.
- Physiological sciences (e.g. cardiac sciences, respiratory and sleep sciences, vascular science, audiology, neurophysiology etc). By the nature of their role, these work directly with patients, as they are measuring the functionality of a particular organ or body system (brain activity, gastro-intestinal tract, hearing, cardio-vascular system etc).
- Physical sciences (e.g. rehabilitation engineering, radiation safety, imaging with non-ionising radiation, device risk management and governance etc). Some of those staff working in the physical sciences will have little direct patient contact (e.g. device risk management and governance), whereas those working in other areas of the physical sciences (such as rehabilitation engineering) will work directly with patients to design equipment that will help to improve their mobility (for example).
You must decide which area they wish to apply for and then demonstrate how your first degree is relevant. Details of the learning outcomes, indicative content and work based trainee learning guides for each STP specialty can be found on the NHS Networks website More information about the different areas is available on the NHS Careers site.
There is a lot of competition for places on the STP. Knowledge of the NHS and of changes affecting the provision of healthcare would be expected. Any activity which shows a commitment to the NHS and previous work experience in a lab or as a healthcare assistant would help. If you wish to work in the physiological sciences, then experience of working with people in a caring role, or customer service role will help.
Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh Applications
- Welsh vacancies for 2013 are at: www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/documents/829/Piece%20for%20website%20re%20advertising.pdf
- Scottish vacancies for 2013 are at:
- Northern Ireland is not planning to recruit clinical scientists in 2013.
- Clinical Biochemistry www.acb.org.uk
- Clinical Microbiology www.socgenmicrobiol.org.uk and Health Protection Agency www.hpa.org.uk
- Clinical Cytogenetics www.cytogenetics.org.uk
- Immunological Scientists www.immunology.org
- File 154 in the Careers Service
These work in hospitals and related laboratories; providing a range of sophisticated analytical and advisory services to clinicians and other professionals, and/or being directly involved in research projects. Although salary is not high, you can earn an extra £5,000 per annum for a limited amount of night shifts.
Try to get some unpaid work experience in a hospital laboratory as a starting point. Graduates join as Trainee Biomedical Scientists. Training lasts about two years, leading to increasing responsibility for research and management and may include secondment on a part-time MSc at, for example, Westminster University.
Similar opportunities are available in the Blood Transfusion Service and veterinary laboratories.
BMS students should also sign up for email alerts to be notified of any trainee BMS vacancies on the NHS Jobs website www.jobs.nhs.uk
If you have an accredited biomedical science degree and the required one year's experience in a hospital laboratory via a sandwich placement, you may be able to apply for Health Professions Council registration www.hpc-uk.org which would allow you to apply for BMS grade 1 posts rather than to trainee posts. The requirements for registration are an honours degree and the IBMS Certificate of Competence. The practical training for the certificate may be undertaken following graduation, but it is also incorporated into sandwich programmes. HPC registration takes 6 to 8 weeks, so it's important to move quickly on this once you have your degree. Most trainee posts for accredited graduates seem to be about Band 4.
For trainee posts of course, you don't have to be registered - just fill in a log book over 1 year, but starting salaries for trainees are lower.
This is what the IBMS says:
"Biomedical scientist is a legally protected title so you must be registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC), the profession’s regulator.
Registration requires completion of an academic programme plus a period of training in an Institute approved laboratory to develop your practical skills and ensure your competence for patient safety. This may occur as part of an integrated degree or may be completed post-graduation. The trainee's progress and competence is recorded in a registration portfolio, which is assessed on completion of training. Trainees whose portfolios meet the HPC's standards are issued with a certificate of competence by the Institute for presenting to the HPC for registration.
Students undertaking Institute accredited integrated BSc (Hons) degrees (also called coterminus degrees) will have this period of training built into the degree and will be eligible for immediate registration at the same time as graduation."
Organisations in Kent Employing Biomedical Scientists
- East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust
- Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust
- Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
- Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
- Medway NHS Trust
- Nuffield Hospital (Tunbridge Wells)
- Chelsfield Park BMI Hospital
- Pfizer Ltd
- BMI Healthcare (Orpington)
- Launch Diagnostics
- Example science CV www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/cvexamples.htm
- Interviews for science jobs www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/ivscience.htm
- Institute of Biomedical Sciences www.ibms.org have a vacancy website www.careerscene.com which normally carries lots of job adverts for trainee biomedical scientists.
IBMS Careers Information Sheet https://www.kent.ac.uk/bio/local/teaching/information/careers.pdf
- Careers in Biomedical Science/Research www.academicmedicine.ac.uk portal to information and useful links for anyone considering or pursuing a career in any area of biomedical science.
- NHS Jobs www.jobs.nhs.uk England-wide job vacancy website. More than 500 Trusts currently place vacancies on the site. Type LABORATORY into the search box and it will come up with lots of hospital science vacancies many of which are suitable for new graduates.
- There is a list of recruitment agencies which specialise in recruiting biomedical scientists at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sitephar.htm#agencies
- Health Protection Agency www.hpa.org.uk formerly the Public Health Laboratory Service. Diagnostic service for hospitals.
- www.medrecuk.com online recruitment page that specializes in Doctors, Nurses and Allied Health Professionals.
- NHS Graduate Management Scheme www.nhsgraduates.co.uk recruitment into HR, finance, informatics and general NHS management roles
- Hospital and Other Health Service Addresses www.nhs.uk/servicedirectories/Pages/ServiceSearch.aspx
- See File V2 in the Careers Service.
Last fully updated 2012