You would work within a range of NHS hospital or community settings under the guidance of a variety of healthcare professionals. The nature of the role will vary depending upon the area of work. You could be working alongside nurses in hospitals or midwives in maternity services or in mental health, community or General Practice (GP) surgeries, for example.
Types of duties may include:
You would study the effects of drugs and other chemical substances on cells, animals, humans and the environment.
You will work in a research team, and might specialise in:
Your day-to-day duties might include:
Some of your duties may involve animal research.
You will also contribute to meetings and conferences, and publish reports.
You may also supervise support staff and manage projects.
You would develop, test, and examine biological samples, such as vaccines and pharmaceutical products. You would also perform experiments and analyse how pharmaceuticals react with biological tissues. Bioanalytical scientists often work in biotechnical or pharmaceutical fields.
You will be primarily involved in planning and conducting experiments and analysing results - either with a definite end use, such as to develop new products, processes or commercial applications, or to broaden scientific understanding in general.
You can find employment in commercial or government laboratories, hospitals and higher education institutions.
You would research the chemistry of living cells to learn more about diseases or develop new drugs, medicines and crops.
Using scientific equipment and techniques you’d do tasks like examining samples under a microscope.
You could work in several different areas.
In a hospital, public health laboratory or research institute, you would:
If you worked in the pharmaceutical, food or brewing industries, you would:
In agriculture and the environment, you could work with water authorities, seed companies or local and central government.
You might also teach and do research in universities, colleges and schools, or medical, veterinary or dental schools.
You would study living things like plants and animals and the world around them to increase our knowledge and understanding of them, the environment and genetics.
You could work in variety of areas.
You might help to develop new methods to diagnose, monitor and treat illness or disease.
You could help to tackle environmental problems, such as finding ways to clean up polluted rivers so that fish can thrive and to conserve plants and animals in their natural environment.
In agriculture and industry, for example, you might work on ways to
You could also specialise in related fields such as:
You would often work in a team with other scientists and technicians, and you may supervise support staff and carry out administration work.
To help your research it woudl be useful to have an understanding of statistics and relevant computer packages. You would also need to keep up to date with advances in your field.
If you were based at a university or teaching hospital, you would teach and mentor students.
You would use your biology knowledge to come up with products and processes that improve our health, our food and our world.
Your work would depend on your specific field.
In medical biotechnology and biotherapeutics you might:
In environmental biotechnology you might:
In industrial biotechnology, you might:
In all three areas, you would:
You would inspire and motivate young people to learn about life and how organisms survive, thrive and change.
As a biology teacher you would teach the pupils about cells, genes and evolution and the scientific principles and concepts used to understand the living world.
You would teach young people from 11 to 18 years old, in state and independent schools. You might also work in a college or learning centre.
You would help your pupils develop skills in the accurate use of scientific language, formulae and equations and how to use practical techniques for scientific inquiry and investigation.
They would learn how scientific discoveries make an impact on people’s lives, society and the enviroment. You would teach them the capacity to be scientifically literate citizens and prepare the foundations for some pupils to go on to a career in science and technologies.
You would teach students of different ages and abilities and prepare young people to take the National Qualifications and Highers in this subject.
There is national guidance for Curriculum for Excellence Sciences and National Qualifications, which you would use when planning your teaching.
You would encourage the students to take pride in their achievements inside and outside school. You would support them to build good relationships with other students and teachers and play a positive part in the life of the school and the local community.
You would help them get the knowledge, skills and attributes they will need for a successful and positive life when they leave school.
Sometimes you will need to deal with challenging behaviour. It may be difficult to get some teenagers to study so you would need to be imaginative and enthusiastic to keep them interested.
You would need to attend meetings and training courses. You would work closely with colleagues to plan the school’s timetables, and work with other professionals, such as education psychologists and social workers.
Clinical laboratory technician
You would do tests, research and investigations and support scientists and their research. You could work in different areas such as forensic science, scientific analysis, the health service, and in education.
You might work to diagnose diseases, measure levels of pollution or help to develop new products. You might work with specialised techniques such as ways of treating infertility.
If you worked in education, you would also set up equipment and demonstrate experiments.
You would need to have a good awareness of health and safety regulations to work safely.
Your team would include scientists and other technicians. With experience you may also supervise lab support workers or junior technicians.
You would help people keep their teeth and gums healthy and strong. You would explain to patients how to care for their teeth and gums. You would check their mouths and treat any problems.
You would carry out delicate procedures using medical instruments. You would need to deal with anxious patients and people who may be upset because they are in pain.
Many dentists work as general dental practitioners (GDPs) in the community, looking after private and NHS patients. As a GDP you’d be self-employed and run your own practice. You would mange the business and lead your team to provide a good dental service to your patients.
You would carry out dental treatments such as:
As part of treatments you would also take X-rays and give local anaesthetics.
You would refer patients to a dental hygienist or dental therapist for certain treatments. You would also need to keep dental records for each patient.
There are other places you could work, such as:
In all these areas, you would use a range of dental and surgical techniques and instruments. In a hospital you would carry out some procedures in an operating theatre.
You could also work in dental public health. This is a relatively new and expanding field. You would assess the dental health needs of the regional population rather than treat individuals, and make sure that dental services meet those needs. You would work with other dentists, NHS professionals, government departments and related agencies.
You would help people get the right medicines and drugs and use them safely to treat illnesses and disease.
You would check prescriptions, dispense medicines and make sure that the laws to control medicines are met.
You could work as a community pharmacist, for example in a high street shop, or in a hospital pharmacy either in the NHS or in a private hospital.
As a community pharmacist you would:
You would also run or help to run the business, including supervising and training staff.
In a hospital, you would:
Another option is to work as a pharmacist within a local NHS service.
You could also work in education or in industry, carrying out research into new medicines and running clinical trials.
You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Pharmacist page on the NHS Scotland Careers website.
You will be a qualified doctor specialising in the investigation and diagnosis of a range of clinical conditions and diseases, using a variety of imaging techniques such as:
As a clinical radiologist, you'll be responsible for reporting most imaging procedures and will also perform many of the interventional procedures. You'll work closely as part of a multidisciplinary team that includes radiographers, other doctors and medical staff from a range of specialities and will provide expert guidance and advice.
As a clinical radiologist, you'll need to:
You would carry out operations on patients who need them. They may be injured, have a worsening health condition, or wish to have plastic surgery.
Patients would be referred to you by other hospital doctors and GPs, or would come to you from an accident and emergency department. They may be anxious and upset, and you would need to calm them down.
This job comes with a lot of responsibility, as your patients would be putting complete trust in you. Your work could help change their lives. Sometimes, you could be helping to save a life.
You would specialise in one surgical area, such as working with children or trauma patients.
You might sometimes carry out research and publish papers.
You would respond rapidly to emergency calls and give immediate medical care to injured people in potentially life-threatening situations.
You would deal with anything from minor wounds to serious injuries caused by a major accident. You would treat shocked and traumatised people who will rely on you to help them and ease their pain. You would often transfer critically ill patients from one hospital to another.
You would check the patient's condition and quickly decide what action to take. You would make calm and reasoned decisions about the right treatment and care for them.
If you take a patient to hospital you would tell the staff about the person's condition as quickly and accurately.
You would also keep accurate records of your cases and regularly check the ambulance equipment. You would need to respect patient confidentiality.
You could work on a traditional ambulance as part of a team or alone using a car, motorbike or bicycle. You may choose to work on a helicopter as part of the Air Ambulance Team or to join specialist teams working across a wider range of emergency situations. You would also liaise with police and fire service crews.
You would motivate and support people to overcome physical difficulties caused by physical or mental illness, an accident or ageing. You would help people lead full and independent lives and, where possible, prevent disability.
Working with your patients on a one-to-one basis, you would create a treatment and activity programme to suit each person.
For example, you could:
You would keep notes about their progress. You would advise and support patients, and their families and carers.
The people who need your help may be angry, disappointed or frustrated because of their circumstances. You would need to be able to motivate and encourage them. You would need to understand people’s priorities and lifestyles and devise treatment programmes to suit each person's needs and lifestyle.
Some patients may have conditions such as motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis, which means that they gradually become less mobile and more disabled. You would try to encourage a positive attitude, which can help people stay active for as long as possible.
With experience, you could specialise in an area such as:
You could work with patients for several months or just for a few sessions. You would often work as part of a team of professionals, including physiotherapists, nurses and social workers.
You would diagnose and treat sick animals. You would probably work in general practice, with pets, farm and zoo animals.You may work with all of these types of animals, or specialise in just one.
Many of the owners you talk to may be upset or anxious about their pets, so it would be important to have a kind and reassuring manner. You would also have to be very gentle with the animals you work with, as many of them will be fragile.
As a vet in general practice you would:
You might also be involved in inspecting hygiene and care standards in zoos, kennels, catteries, riding stables, pet shops and cattle markets.
You could also work in the public sector. You would then help prevent and control animal and human diseases, such as foot and mouth disease, and assess the safety of food processing plants and abattoirs.
Another option would be working in industry, supervising the production of drugs, chemicals and biological products.
You will translate scientific information about nutrition into practical advice to help people make health-conscious decisions about food. You will assess, diagnose and treat diet-related problems and aim to raise awareness of the link between food and health to prevent future problems.
Although many dietitians work for the National Health Service (NHS) in a hospital or community setting, you can also work in:
Working in a hospital, you will educate people who need special diets as part of their treatment. You may focus on specialist areas, such as children's health, diabetes, kidney disease, food allergies or eating disorders. In the community you may be involved in a range of health promotion activities.
Community dietitians and those working in public health may see a much wider range of patients in a variety of settings.
When working in a hospital or community setting, you may need to:
If you are working with athletes and sportspeople, you will need to:
You would prepare and supply prescription medicine to treat people’s illnesses and health conditions.
You could be based in a community or hospital pharmacy. You would work under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist.
If you work in a hospital pharmacy you might be responsible for making up medicines for patients who are having cancer treatment. These need to be made in special sterile conditions to avoid contamination. It is especially important in these cases to be as accurate and methodical as possible.
You would also be responsible for making sure that each department in the hospital has the right amount of medicine in stock. With experience, you could specialise in a particular area such as quality control, clinical trials or medicines information services.
If you work in a community pharmacy, you would talk with customers to:
You would need to be able to explain things clearly. People may be embarrassed about their health conditions so you would need to have tact and discretion.
You would refer them to a pharmacist or healthcare professional when necessary.
You would care for people who are sick, injured or disabled and support them and their families when they are anxious and upset.
You would work with doctors to give the patients practical medical care. You would respond sensitively to the person's needs so they feel safe and looked after.
You could work in a hospital or in the community at a GP's surgery, health centre or clinic. Most jobs are in the National Health Service (NHS) though you could also work at private hospitals or nursing homes, schools, colleges or for the prison service, the Armed Forces or in industry.
You could specialise in an area such as accident and emergency, cardiac rehabilitation, outpatients, neonatal nursing, and operating theatre work.
You need to be able to help any person without judgement and respect patient confidentiality.
sterile services technician
You would make sure that medical equipment is kept clean and safe for use with patients. You might look after items used in hospital wards, clinics or operating theatres.
You would use specialised equipment to clean large items.
It would be important to follow health and safety rules at all times.