Biomedical Science represents an opportunity to put scientific knowledge into practical use and perform a key role in the medical laboratory. The skills and qualification can be transferred all over Europe and recognised worldwide. Should graduates not wish to pursue the ‘in-service’ placement, other career options include: Research, Biopharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries, Public Health and Sales, and Marketing of Medical Products.
In 2007, I graduated from UCC with a BSc Honours in Biomedical Science. After graduating, I completed nine months clinical placement in a hospital, in order to gain accreditation from the Academy of Medical Laboratory Science in Ireland. This involved shadowing and working with Medical Scientists within the Biochemistry, Histology, Microbiology, Haematology and Blood Bank laboratories of the hospital. Classes were also given on aspects such as quality control, laboratory safety and record maintenance. During this placement, I carried out both research and literature review based projects. As part of this training period, I spent two weeks rotating amongst the different departments of the Munster Regional Transfusion Centre. Following continuous assessment and an oral examination, I obtained accreditation from the Academy of Medical Laboratory Science, and was therefore, qualified to work in a hospital pathology laboratory.
In 2008, I applied for a place on the PhD Scholars Programme in Cancer Biology at UCC. In the first year of this structured PhD programme, I was involved in carrying out three twelve-week projects in different areas of cancer research. In September 2009, I began my second year as a PhD student, where I am investigating the process of cell motility and cancer metastasis. The BSc in Biomedical Science provided me with the necessary skills to pursue a career as a medical or a research scientist.
In 2006, I graduated from UCC with a BSc Honours in Biomedical Science. Subsequently, I completed a nine month in-service training year in Waterford Regional Hospital (WRH). Having had the opportunity to work in all the disciplines, I decided that Haematology was the area I wished to specialise in. I have continued to work as a Medical Scientist in this area, in the Haematology Department in WRH and love it. Although, I am not directly involved with patients, most of their treatment is based on information I supply to the nurses and doctors. The quicker we can diagnose a patient the quicker they get treated, which is something I find very satisfying. I also find it fascinating to look down the microscope at diseases such as; leukaemia, malaria and anaemia. Also, as many laboratories share on-call work, I have been given the opportunity to train in Blood Transfusion and gain significant experience, which may be beneficial for future job opportunities.
One of the things that appealed to me when choosing my degree options was the ability to travel with my chosen career. Medical Scientists are in high demand in industry and health services, both in Ireland and abroad, and for those wishing to volunteer for organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières. I have been able to build on my knowledge by pursuing further professional education courses, run by the Academy of Medical Science. I am currently entering the second year of a two-year part-time Masters in Biomedical Science in UCC/CIT, specialising in advanced Haematology/Transfusion Science subjects. These optional qualifications will help me to develop advanced specialist skills or adopt senior roles and responsibilities. Also within my workplace all scientists are required to play their part in health and safety training of new medical scientists, quality control and quality assurance schemes as part of our quality management system. These experiences have equipped me with transferable skills, which can be applied to many other professions. As well as being a rewarding profession, it is also a flexible one. A BSc in Biomedical science can offer a great gateway to other interests in management and research, which may evolve as you get older and your career progresses.