This article contains information on the 10 things you can do with a biomedical degree.
Definitely, subjects needed/duration, skills, work experience/nature of work, Employers, careers
Biomedical Science also referred to as Biomedicine is a field of study that focuses on the areas of biology and chemistry that are relevant to healthcare. It is a very broad discipline with the major areas of specialty including;
- Life Sciences
- Physiological sciences
A standard degree in Biomedical Sciences is three years long though some universities alternatively offer four-year programmes that result in an “honours” degree, BSc (Hons). An undergraduate course in Biomedicine covers a wide range of subjects such as ;
Microbiology, Cell Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Embryology, Bacteriology, Virology, Epidemiology, Immunology, Toxicology, Genetics, Pharmacology,, Phlebotomy, Bioengineering, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology.
Biomedicine is mainly research and laboratory-based, with the aim of improving medical knowledge. Thus, as one with a degree in this field, it is expected of you to have skills in certain areas in order to perform well in careers open to Biomedical scientists. Some of these skills are;
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
- data analysis, evaluation and interpretation
- project management
- oral and written communication
- team work – from laboratory work or activities such as sport, societies or voluntary work.
- organisation and time management
- computing and the use of statistics
- critical thinking skills.
Most of these skills are collectively classified as STEM skills.These are the kinds of skills that students develop in science, technology, engineering and math.
Common employers of biomedical sciences graduates include:
- Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
Academic departments at universities, forensic, charity or government-funded laboratories, veterinary services or private pathology laboratories, food and drink companies, pharmaceutical industries,Publishing companies and the specialist press may also employ biomedical sciences graduates as writers or editors.
THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH A BIOMEDICAL DEGREE
The broadness of this discipline gives graduates with this degree vast opportunities to specialise while still studying and thus offers many career options. It is a ‘real-world’ discipline. However below are things you can do with a degree in Biomedicine:
1. BIOMEDICAL SCIENTIST
Biomedical scientists carry out tests on samples taken by doctors and nurses in order to diagnose a range of illnesses and diseases
As a biomedical scientist, you’ll carry out a range of laboratory and scientific tests on tissue samples and fluids to help clinicians diagnose and treat diseases. Your work is extremely important to many hospital departments, such as operating theatres and A&E, and the functions you carry out are wide ranging.
A Biomedical scientist may specialize in any of the four areas, infection sciences, cell sciences, blood sciences and molecular pathology.
As a biomedical scientist some of your duties include;
- Performing routine and specialist analytical testing on a range of biological samples
- Identifying abnormal or unexpected results and report
- Giving test results to medical staff, who use the information to diagnose and treat the patient’s illness
- Maintaining and running specialist laboratory equipment
- Backing and following up with requesting clinicians
- Answering telephone enquiries about test results and other general lab issues
- Keeping your professional knowledge up to date
- Accurately recording data, writing reports and distributing results.
2. ANALYTICAL CHEMIST
As one with a Biomedicine degree, you can work as an analytical chemist.
An analytical chemist, uses various methods to investigate the chemical composition of substances. The aim is to identify and understand the substance and how it functions in different conditions.
You can work in various areas such as:
- Drug formulation and development
- chemical or forensic analysis
- product validation
- process development
- quality control
As an analytical chemist job roles can vary depending on the setting but typically you’re to:
- Analyse samples from various sources to provide information on compounds or quantities of compounds present.
- Use analytical techniques and instrumentation, such as ion chromatography, spectroscopy, etc
- report scientific results
- At a more advanced level, you’ll be likely involved in documentations for product licence applications and setting specifications for finished products.
3. RESEARCH SCIENTIST
As they name implies, they make new discoveries, develop cures, treatments and diagnostic techniques. Research scientists can work in nearly every industry, not just healthcare.
Do perform well in this field, you’ll need a genuine love for your research as well as patience and good lab skills. As a medical research scientist, you’ll plan and conduct experiments to increase the body of scientific knowledge on topics related to medicine. Molecular level research may be carried out using appropriate cell and animal models, or human volunteers may be used to study the clinical effects of various factors.
The role or duties of a research scientist varies depending on the setting, but much of the work is laboratory-based. Thid, in general you’ll be required to:
- Plan and conduct experiments, analyse and interpret the results.
- Use specialist computer software to analyse data and to produce diagrammatic representation of results
- Teach and supervise students
- keep accurate records of work done
- Write and submit applications and progress reports to funding bodies that support medical research
- Collaborate with industry, hospitals, research institutes and academia.
4. FORENSIC SCIENTIST
Forensic scientists make use of science to identify and analyse evidence from accidents and crime scenes. As a forensic scientist you’ll provide scientific evidence that will be used in courts of law to support the prosecution or defence in criminal and civil investigations.
You are mainly concerned with searching for and examining contact trace material associated with crimes. These materials can include the following:
- Blood and other body fluids
- Tyre marks
Although evidence is usually presented in writing as a formal statement of evidence or report, you may have to attend court to give your evidence in person.
A forensic scientist can be found to work I different areas including:
Biology: Connected to crimes against people, such as murder, rape and assault.
Drugs And Toxicology : Involves testing for restricted drugs, examining specimens for poison detection, and the analysis of blood and urine samples for alcohol, etc.
Chemistry: In connection with crimes against property, such as burglary and arson
Within these areas, the work usually involves:
The examination of substances such as paint or chemicals.
DNA testing and the examination of minute contact traces, such as blood, hair and clothing
- As a forensic scientist, your basic duties includes;
- Attending and examining scenes of crimes
- Analysing samples, such as hair, body fluids, glass, etc, in the laboratory
- Liaising with teams and coordinate with other related agencies, like the police
- Recording findings and collecting trace evidence from crime or accident scenes.
- Presenting the results of work in written form or by giving oral evidence.
- Justifying findings under cross-examination in courts of law.
- Not all forensic scientists get involved with crime scene work or reporting. Some choose to stay in the laboratory.
To scale through the competition of working in the field, you need have experience working in a laboratory in a hospital or a research centre.
If you a person with an enquiring mind, a methodical approach to work, and an adventurous person, eith a degree in Biomedicine, a career as a forensic scientist may just be a good choice.
Virology is the study of viruses and virus-like agents. It is often considered a part of microbiology or pathology. Viruses have traditionally been viewed in a rather negative context as disease causing agents that must be controlled or eliminated. However, viruses also have certain beneficial properties that can be exploited for useful purposes.
However, a virologist studies, identifies and fights the harmful effects of viruses.
Epidemiologists examine the causes of diseases and public health problems.Epidemiologists can help many people at once by finding the source of a disease, identifying how it spreads, and developing data-driven public health measures to control it.
Epidemiologists are scientists and public health experts who study disease, disability, and death across populations. They spend a lot of time gathering medical and health data, researching historical data, and analyzing all of that information to identify trends that can be used to track diseases, develop public health initiatives, and find new ways to treat or prevent diseases.
In other words, epidemiologists spend their days figuring out how and why people get sick and what steps we as a society can take to stop that from happening.
Toxicology involves the identification, monitoring and evaluation of the impact of toxic materials,, potential new medicines, chemicals and radiation on the environment, human and animal health.
As a toxicologist, you’ll plan and carry out laboratory and field studies, taking into account the potential implications of future technology such as the long-term consequences of gene-editing technologies.
The work of a Toxicologist is not a sole one as it involves working with a team of specialists with better results.
You may work in different areas as a toxicologist. Such as;
The duties vary based on work environment and settings but typically, the following are the responsibilities of a Toxicologist;
- Isolate, identify and measure toxic substances that are bound to havel effects on humans, animals, plants or ecosystems
- Plan and carry out a range of experiments in the field or laboratories, looking at the biological systems of plants and animals
- Advise on the safe handling of toxic substances in the event of an accident
- Write reports and scientific papers, present findings and, in the case of forensic work, give evidence in court
- Liaise with regulatory authorities to make sure you’re complying with local, national and international regulations.
If you work in the pharmaceutical industry, one of your most important tasks is to make sure any potential new drugs are safe to test on humans. This is done by carrying out risk assessment through the use of specialised techniques.
Therefore, as a Toxicologist, you work is to Investigate toxins and their effects.
If you have a scientific mind and enjoy carrying out experiments, a career in toxicology may be for you
8. SCIENCE WRITERS
Writing is not a career meant for English graduate. It is an open ended one. Meaning anybody can be a writer. As a Biomedicine degree holder, writing is for you too.
As a science writer you’ll research, write and edit scientific news, articles, for business, professional publications, specialist scientific and technical journals.
Science writers need to understand complex scientific information, theories and practices. You should be able to write in clear, concise and accurate language that can be understood by all.
You may sometimes be known as a scientific journalist., if you report on scientific news for the media and take on a more investigatory, critical role.
Some science writing jobs might have an element of editing or broader communications responsibilities in addition to researching and writing.
The particular activities you’ll undertake depend on the nature of your role and who you’re writing for. Common activities include:
- Writing articles for publication in print and online according to agreed styles.
- Reading and researching specialist media and literature, e.g. scientific papers, company reports, newspapers, magazines and journals, press
- conducting interviews with scientists, doctors and academics and establishing a network of industry experts
- Attending academic and press conferences
- visiting research establishments
- releases and internet resources including social media
- conducting reference searches
- reviewing and amending work in response to editor feedback
9. CLINICAL SCIENTIST
A clinical scientist must be able to test for and identify a wide range of samples, research and develop new techniques for diagnosing illnesses.
As a clinical scientist working in biochemistry you’ll analyse samples taken from patients’ blood, urine or other bodily fluids to help with the diagnosis, management and treatment of diseases.
As a clinical scientist working in biochemistry you’ll need to:
- Plan and organise work in clinical biochemistry laboratories, through automated and computerized means.
- Carry out analyses on specimens of body fluids and tissues
- Identify and resolve any poor analytical performance problems
- Develop new and existing tests, which can involve significant manual expertise
- Devise and conduct basic or applied research
- Write reports and funding bids
- Liaise with clinical and healthcare staff, and have some contact with patients
Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, perform blood transfusions, conduct research and process blood donations. They are often needed to explain to patients the rationale behind the tests being performed and can serve as a source of comfort for concerned patients. They must also be accurate and meticulous in their work, perform well under pressure and communicate effectively with different patients
Typically, phlebotomists are responsible for:
- Drawing blood and bandaging after blood is drawn
- Maintaining patient records
- Measuring and recording blood pressure, temperature, pulse and oxygen levels
- Cleaning, preparing and sterilizing equipment
- Sending blood, urine and fecal samples to the lab for testing
In general, phlebotomists test blood for diagnosis, conduct transfusions, and take donations.
Others possible careers that a person with a Biomedical degree can go for includes:
- Healthcare technician
- Regulatory affairs
- Occupational health and safety
- Pharmaceutical sales
- Health promotion
- Public health
- Veterinary science
- Patent law.
- Genetic counselling
- Dental therapy
- Environmental engineering
- Genetic counsellor
- Medical sales
- Medical science liaison
Remember, that this is just a small sample of the careers you can pursue with a qualification in Biomedical Science. To stand out in the Biomedical field, learn good lab skills.
Learning to be confident and competent at basic laboratory tasks such as titrations,, balancing a centrifuge, preparing microscope slides, micro-pipetting, etc, will make a huge difference to your biomedical career.
Experience and skills in laboratory work are highly desired and transferable across all areas of science.
Your career path is packed with unexpected opportunities when you study biomedical science.
Biomedical scientists regularly make headlines with advances in their fields with first hand results. As a biomedical scientist, you might be growing embryos for IVF or finding a new medicine to fight cancer. Biomedicine is the field where biology, chemistry and the changing world meets. With your degree, you have a handful of Adventurous careers to pick from.