Healthcare scientists (also known as clinical scientists) working in haematology are concerned with the study of: blood; blood-forming tissues; blood-related disorders. Their work is usually carried out in specialist departments of hospitals where they interpret test results to diagnose blood-based abnormalities. They look at the size, structure, function and amount of different types of blood cells and produce reports and scientific analyses to show their findings.
Some healthcare scientists specialising in haematology work in laboratories in biomedical roles, while others work in blood transfusion centres or in clinical roles where they have direct contact with patients. They work with other clinical professionals within a multidisciplinary team to consult, and advise patients. Doctors can also specialise in haematology but this is a very different career route, see hospital doctor for more information.
Typical work activities
- Receiving and preparing blood samples for analysis.
- Analysing blood samples using computer-aided and manual techniques.
- Reviewing initial data that reveals, for example, white or red blood cell abnormalities.
- Making decisions on further haematological analysis.
- Liaising with other medical professionals to discuss patient treatment plans.
- Prescribing specific types of treatment for individual patients.
- Cross-matching blood for use in transfusions.
- Investigating the biochemistry of blood clotting.
- Producing quantitative data in the form of reports and providing key information to medical staff about a patient’s condition.
- Assisting colleagues in the interpretation of test results.
- Selecting appropriate techniques for different types of haematological analysis.
- Maintaining accurate and detailed records.
- Teaching or training medical students and other hospital staff, e.g. nursing and portering staff.
- Applying for and managing departmental and/or laboratory finances and resources.
- Taking responsibility for working towards targets.
- Liaising with haematology colleagues on a regional or national basis.
- Strong teamwork skills.
- Good communication skills to pass on findings and give advice on diagnosis to other staff.
- Ability to organise and carry out research.
- Motivation to work towards enabling the well-being of others.
- Ability to use your initiative.
- Meticulous documentation and record-keeping.
- Patient, supportive and emotionally robust approach to working with patients.
- An approach to work that prioritises accuracy, organisation and efficiency.
- Commitment to lifelong learning.
- Effective leadership skills for healthcare scientist and consultant scientist level posts.
- Confidence in using complex technology and systems.
Career progression to professional grade, following successful completion of a training period, frequently involves moving to other hospitals or related agencies. Further study and training is likely to follow, with the expectation that healthcare science staff working in haematology undertake professional qualifications with a relevant professional body or study for a PhD. Advancement within the professional grade is based on merit and can be encouraged through the completion of relevant specialised postgraduate research and publication in peer-reviewed journals. Networking at all levels is important for successful career development. Maintaining a professional profile by presenting research at meetings, undertaking work exchanges abroad and applying for research grants is also recommended. Specialist areas available to those with experience include: immunohaematology; paediatric haematology; transfusion medicine; genetic disorders; haemato-oncology.
It is possible to apply for principal scientist or consultant scientist roles after several years’ experience at a professional grade. The role of a senior scientist position is likely to involve the management of a large department or major departmental section, and advanced budgeting and administration skills are often required. Healthcare science staff in senior roles usually perform additional teaching activities as training officers and may work in university departments in both research and teaching capacities.
Original content at prospects.ac.uk