Scientific and technical services
Life sciences can be divided into three areas:
Pathology looks at the causes and progression of illness. Pathologists carry out tests on tissue, blood and other patient samples. Pathology plays a crucial role in helping doctors choose the best treatment and monitor its effectiveness.
Genetics is a branch of biology that helps us understand the genetic components of illnesses. Geneticists study genes, genetic variation and heredity. Genetics overlaps with many other areas of medicine and healthcare.
Reproductive science is a rapidly developing field that creates life and provides solutions to infertility.
Medicines are the most common form of treatment in health and social care. Pharmacies are where medicines are often stored, prepared and dispensed.
Pharmacy staff work at different levels and there are good career progression opportunities:
- pharmacy technician
- pharmacy assistant
Pharmacists are experts in medicines and how they are used. Pharmacists advise clinical staff on choosing and using medicines, including which form of medicine to use, for example tablet, injection, ointment or inhaler.
Pharmacists also ensure medicines are stored and used safely, and that patients are aware of possible side effects.
Pharmacy technicians are supervised by registered pharmacists. They handle prescriptions, order new stock and receive deliveries.
In a hospital, pharmacy technicians may take medicines to wards and departments. They may also make specialist medicines under sterile conditions.
Pharmacy assistants are supervised by registered pharmacists. They handle prescriptions and use IT systems to order supplies, generate stock lists and print labels.
Pharmacy assistants also answer service users’ questions and refer problems or queries to the pharmacist.