In NHSScotland, Healthcare Science Assistant Practitioners normally work in laboratories as part of a team, with other healthcare science staff. They are trained to maintain and operate complex equipment to carry out quality assured tests and technical procedures on biological samples, such as blood and urine.
They provide scientific information to doctors and other healthcare professionals, to help in the assessment and diagnosis of a patient’s medical condition or disease.
I'm Rachel Neil. I am a Healthcare Science Assistant and I work in Laboratory Genetics at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
When I was at school, I always enjoyed science and I did a science degree. I worked really hard and I even went back to uni to do more modules. I've worked in a lot of different laboratories around Scotland, in Ayrshire and Tayside.
When I come in, I could be working in different areas of the [department], like reception, booking in and [processing] send aways. That's where we actually receive samples in, we book them in and we also send samples to other areas [and] labs all around the world.
There are seven of us that work in this wee area [and] we all get a turn of doing each individual thing and we're always there for each other. We communicate with each other and learn new things and by doing this, you keep your skills up.
[One of the most important things is] definitely communication, because there are seven of us working in this one area, we have to communicate. You can't do your own thing, you have to work as a team. [Another important aspect of the job is having good] general lab skills. Working here, you use the pipettes to send DNA to other labs.
I would say, obviously, with the degree it helps. I came in as a Healthcare Support Worker and it was a college degree that you needed. But, I think if you are interested in doing science, get your degree at university [which will let you enter the laboratory service at entry level, so you can] work your way through the lab. I think while doing that, you actually learn more because you start at the bottom and learn how the whole lab works, rather coming in at the top and not understanding what samples we get and how things are booked in and everything like that.
The support you get within the lab [is good]. They want to help you progress. If you are showing you want to progress, that you are learning how the whole lab works, they are supportive to help you get to the next level. If you show within an interview and just learning in general, that you are very interested in progressing, they will help you as much as they can.