Biomedical Science Day: Insights into the careers of Locum Biomedical Scientists

By Aimee Hughes . 06/06/2024 · 5 Minute read

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What motivated you to pursue a career as an agency Biomedical Scientist?

J: My main reason to start a career as a locum was being able to progress within the Health and Care professions. I was a Band 5 Biomedical Scientist at the time and I was told I needed to complete the specialist portfolio if I wanted to progress to Band 6.

The lab I worked at full time could not provide the means, training, staff, or time to do it. If I continued there, I would have been stuck in my career. I decided to become a Biomedical Scientist locum, and straight away, I started working as a Band 6 but with a higher salary than before.

Working as a locum has given me valuable experience that I wouldn't have gained as a full-time staff member. Learning about different sciences and methods expands your knowledge and helps you better understand how things work.

A: As a registered member of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), working as a locum has significantly contributed to my personal and professional growth, exposing me to a wide range of practices and methodologies across different laboratories.

What advice would you give other Biomedical Scientists working or looking to work through an agency? 

J: If I had to choose just one thing to give some advice to anyone interested in becoming a locum BMS, it would be professionalism. Maintaining a professional demeanour helps navigate through the complexities of locum work. This ensures I stay updated on the latest practices in diagnoses and treatment.

Listen to what everyone you work with has to say and learn from all the experiences you possibly can. 

A: My advice to other Biomedical Scientists looking to work through an agency is to be flexible, respectful, and accepting of new colleagues. Many people have varying opinions of locums, but showing the value of our contributions is essential. Accepting short-term assignments and adapting quickly can lead to more job opportunities. 

Based on your experiences, what are the most significant challenges you face as a Biomedical Scientist today? 

J: The most significant challenges include physical and mental exhaustion due to long hours and frequent night shifts, especially when managing critical services like blood transfusions on my own. Knowing my limits is key, but as a locum, I have as balanced a rota as possible, which helps me manage these demands.

A: There are a myriad of challenges that face a locum Biomedical Scientist such as uncertainty in areas with new equipment or procedures.

Asking questions and learning from other experienced healthcare professionals is crucial when you’re in a new area and necessary to work as part of a successful team. 

How has working with Your World Healthcare enhanced your ability to choose roles or placements? 

J: I believe flexibility is a standout feature of being a locum. There are plenty of positions all over the country, which means you can mostly work wherever you want and for however long you want.

As for opportunities to progress, this flexibility has opened doors to permanent positions at higher bands, highlighting the advantage of varied experiences and higher pay rates. If I had stayed as a permanent BMS where I started, I wouldn't have the same opportunities. However, I still work as a locum as there are more benefits this way, and it fits my needs and expectations. It also suits my personality and way of working. 

A: Agency work has kept me updated with the latest developments in Biomedical Science. I have had a really good experience with Tom Jackson, who has helped me secure placements that enhance my expertise and exposure.

Could you share an example of a project or task you have undertaken through YWHC that significantly impacted your professional growth or the field itself? 

J: I have participated in two different hospitals in the switch from one type of analyser to another, which meant a total change of the lab layout. It is a massive change and requires a huge effort and dedication from all the members of staff from top to bottom to make it possible.

I was very involved from the beginning to the end of this switch, and that has impacted me as a professional. It highlighted the impact of collaborative effort and innovation in healthcare science.

A: I have worked with Your World in the past, and more recently, I have returned to work with them and have been doing so for the last eight months. My placements in remote locations have been particularly formative, requiring me to integrate quickly into smaller teams and adapt my problem-solving skills. These experiences have enhanced my capabilities and underscored the importance of versatility in healthcare settings.

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