"Graduating from Abertay as a fully registered Biomedical Scientist with an industry-accredited degree unquestionably helped me compete for jobs."Steven Swanson | NHS Lothian | Team Manager, Specialist Biomedical Scientist
Graduating from Abertay as a fully registered Biomedical Scientist with an industry-accredited degree unquestionably helped me compete for jobs. Studying with a placement allowed me to see what the role involved. I could also get answers to any questions I had. Knowing this was what I wanted to do motivated me to do my best and make the most of my time at Abertay.
Before I went to Abertay, I actually wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career. I originally enrolled at a different university studying Biology. I struggled to motivate myself not knowing why I was studying it or what I would do with the degree. I moved to Abertay after speaking to a friend who was in their second year of Biomedical Science. It was definitely the right move. I knew right away that it was the course for me. I had many misconceptions about working in a laboratory… but Abertay helped bust those. We regularly went out to Ninewells Hospital, had lectures from scientists who worked in the laboratory, and studied topics relevant to the role. In third year, I got a placement with NHS Fife. I enjoyed it so much I actually worked as a support worker during the holidays. I was fortunate enough to get a job there as a qualified Biomedical Scientist shortly after graduating.
I work as a Biomedical Scientist Team Manager in an NHS laboratory in Edinburgh. The lab processes core biochemistry tests for the hospital and surrounding GPs. It has several specialist sections that provide a national service. I manage one of the specialist sections: Protein Investigations. There is definitely a great sense of achievement knowing that the work in the lab, together with that of other hospital departments, is benefitting patients and saving lives.
As it’s specialised work, each day is different. That’s really important to me. Whether it be working on your feet all day or sitting at a computer looking at paperwork and reviewing technical data. Working alone, or as part of a team. Spending one-hour testing 100 samples, or an entire day testing a single sample. I can go from screening for and monitoring blood cancers one day to helping clinicians identify whether an unknown fluid is leaking from a patient’s brain the next. I’m also Health and Safety Officer for the laboratories at my hospital, so I get to work with different Biomedical Science disciplines and represent them at committee meetings.
I recently completed a project where I investigated ways to speed up a test that can confirm if a patient is having an acute porphyria attack - a life threatening condition if not treated promptly. I also help our lab promote Biomedical Science by attending career days, doing presentations and visiting schools. Last year we won an international award for our ‘behind the scenes’ video.