Meet Zaiba Asif - Specialist Biomedical Scientist

Zaiba in the lab in front of blue blinds Explain what your job entails.

As a biomedical scientist, it is our job to receive samples, process them, and technically validate results whilst also maintaining analysers and running quality controls to ensure the results sent out are the right results. Providing a 24/7 service is also a vital part of our job to ensure results are available when they're needed.

Why did you choose your career?

I chose my career as I enjoyed the technical aspect of the role in terms of deciding whether results looked correct and figuring out why results were abnormal based on clinical details. Also as I did not want a career which was patient-facing, as I thought I'd be too nervous to work in such a stressful environment, I decided working as a biomedical scientist meant I was not patient-facing all the time, but I could still be helping the patients from behind the scenes.

What do you love about your job?

I love the idea of knowing that the results I release will be used to make clinical decisions to help with a patient's treatment, with diagnosing patients as well as figuring out what's going on with them. This often makes it also the most stressful part of the job in terms of knowing when to release results or whether to hold them back as they don't look correct. I also like knowing that when I've called out an abnormal result to a doctor/nurse, I'm hopefully enabling them to act on the results quicker and alert them to it quicker to begin treatment which could potentially make a patient better or save their life.

Let us know something that a lot of people don’t know about your job.

As the majority of analyses occur on analysers, we have to sometimes become problem solvers and borderline towards being engineers to figure out what's wrong with the analysers. 

At the Birmingham Children's Hospital, we provide the out-of-hours service for BCH's site as well as the Women's site. This usually means one person is available on-site to process samples and maintain the analysers overnight. So I think the main thing people don't realise about our job is that overnight when working shifts we are just one person by ourselves for 13 hours in the Chemistry department.