John F.

Clinical Scientist (Medical Genomics, Cytogenetics and Molecular Pathology)
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

John F.
Biology
Biochemistry
Undergraduate
Derwent
2012
United Kingdom

My employment

Clinical Scientist (Medical Genomics, Cytogenetics and Molecular Pathology)
National Health Service
United Kingdom
Healthcare
Large business (250+ employees)
2015

More about John

Low Income Household

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A day in the life of a Clinical Scientist (Medical Genomics, Cytogenetics and Molecular Pathology) in the United Kingdom

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated!

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work for the NHS. The area of healthcare I work in is referred to as pathology, and is concerned with the understanding, diagnosis and monitoring of disease. Specifically, I work for the genomics service within the NHS.

What do you do?

A clinical scientist works somewhere between medicine and biomedical science. We translate laboratory investigations into usable clinical interpretations. In addition to this, we are involved in quality management, outreach, research and development and education, amongst other things.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

Using science to improve health, and to secure a job which is interesting.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated!

Describe your most memorable day at work

This is a tough one. Every day brings something new so I’ll list a few:

1. Helping out with an autopsy during my histopathology rotation was incredible and nauseating in equal measure. The human body can tell a deeply rich story, even when deceased.

2. Seeing the intracellular sperm injection process in real time during my IVF rotation was mind blowing, knowing an entire new lineage of people has been created because the clinical scientist chose *that sperm* and not *that one*.

3. During my immunology rotation we would test the white cells ability to fight an infection in a “oxidative burst” test, like putting the white cell through an assault course. It was pretty cool watching this white cell release these oxidative compounds during the experiment and knowing this is happening all the time in our body in the background to fight pathogens.

4. Attending the genomics MDT is always fascinating, genomic diseases are often very complex and the presentations can be highly unusual. It feels a lot like detective work, sifting through the mutations, assesssing their impact on the protein, cells, tissues and organs and looking for potential treatments or considering familial follow up.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

The NHS is heavily budget constrained and is subject to a lot of red tape and bureaucracy which can be frustrating. The workloads can be high and the consequences of any mistakes can be life threatening for your patients, which can be stressful to manage.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

Great! My colleagues are all fantastic, similar mindsets and a great (if not a little morbid or odd) sense of humour. There is a real sense of camaraderie in the NHS.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I actually surrendered a lot of my hobbies to pursue more alcohol based interests at university.

I regret not doing any extra curricular activities at uni, and would advise people to get involved as much as they can while they’re there! Join societies that reflect your interests and engage with their activities as soon as you get the chance.

What would you like to do next with your career?

Train as a consultant scientist and become a disease specialist.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

It can be hard adjusting to life after graduation, I found myself a little down as I lacked the structure I’d always been given during school and uni. If you don’t get onto that amazing graduate scheme you have your eyes on, don’t panic, take time to develop your professional skills in the meantime doing entry level jobs. Don’t compare yourself to others, make your own path that works for you, and always put fun and happiness before glory and money!

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Anything really.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I also worked as a medical device rep, so can answer some questions about that too.

Next steps...

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