Fabulous questions everyone - keep it up!
I live at home in Ramsgate with my mum and my cat. I’m a Biomedical Scientist by day, and I run a Brownie pack in the evenings. I’m a massive Harry Potter and musical theatre nut, and I sometimes make silver jewellery when I have chance. Oh, and I love to crochet, take photos, and have crazy coloured hair!
My pronouns are:
I work in the hospital laboratories and help doctors and nurses understand why people are ill, and how to make them feel better.
I work mainly in haematology and blood transfusion as part of the blood sciences laboratories. That means that my work mainly involves looking at the cellular part of your blood; red cells, white cells, and platelets. The biochemists are interested in the part of your blood called plasma which contains and transports nutrients and waste around your body. I get to help the doctors work out (diagnose) what is wrong with a patient when they aren’t feeling well by having a look at their blood. I can tell if you’re bleeding, if you’ve got an infection or “a bug”, or if you’ve got a form of cancer which affects your blood, called leukaemia. Biomedical Scientists can tell a lot from your blood, and I like to think that we are like detectives – we piece together all the clues and give them back to the doctors and nurses.
Another big part of my job is giving people blood from the blood bank. If anyone donates blood, this is where it goes! I mainly give people blood if they’ve been in a nasty road traffic accident, or if they might need it during surgery, and I even supply blood for the air ambulance crews! Occasionally we get people coming into our emergency department who need a lot of blood and this sets off our Major Haemorrhage or “code red” alarm. It just means that someone is in need of a lot of blood very quickly, and gets everyone working together across the hospital. I know when that alarm goes off that I’m helping to save someone’s life. It’s quite a buzz!
My Typical Day:
I wake up, eat breakfast, drive to work, help save some lives, and then go home.
I don’t really have such a thing as a “typical day” – it really depends on what is going on elsewhere in the hospital.
As a Biomedical Scientist, I work both day shifts which could be an early shift (8am-4:30pm), a core shift (9:15am-5:45pm), or a late shift (12:30pm-8pm), or a long day if it’s a weekend (7:45am-8:15pm), or I could be working a night shift (7:45pm-8:15am). The hospital never closes, so the labs are open all the time, day or night, and you never really know who or what is going to walk through the doors!
What I'd do with the prize money:
I would set up an activity day where students can become Biomedical Scientist superheroes and help to treat some poorly patients!
My curriculum links
I went to school at Clarendon House Grammar School where I did my GCSEs and A Levels, then university at the University of Brighton to study Biological Sciences, and back to university again to Ulster University in Northern Ireland for a Grad Cert in Biomedical Science (but that was all done online!)
12 GCSEs (2009)- Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English Literature, English Language, Maths, Statistics, Music, History, Spanish, Religious Studies, ICT
4 A levels (Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Music) (2011)
BSc Hons Biological Sciences (2:1) (2014)
Grad Cert Biomedical Sciences (Distinction) (2020)
2009 – Tesco – checkout and online shopping as a Saturday job
2011 – Tesco – online shopping Christmas temp staff
2014 – Assembly Technician at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, putting together cartridges for a new analyser
2015 – Research and Development Scientist at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, developing tests and assays for the new analyser system and running a clinical trial to see if it worked on ‘real patients’. I was also involved in the initial feasibility testing on a number of different tests to see if they would work and be worth developing on the platform.
2018 – Tesco – online shopping Christmas temp staff.
2019 – Assistant Healthcare Scientist at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT), sorting samples in the pathology sample reception office.
2019 – Senior Assistant Healthcare Scientist at EKHUFT, double-checking samples and loading them onto the analysers. Essentially just keeping the lab running.
2020 – Trainee Biomedical Scientist at EKHUFT, completing my registration training portfolio for the Health and Care Professions Council.
2021 – Biomedical Scientist at EKHUFT, working mainly in haematology and blood transfusion, providing test results and blood products for patients in the hospital and local community.
2023 – Specialist Biomedical Scientist at EKHUFT, still working in haematology and blood transfusion but in a more specialist role, and completing my specialist training portfolio of work.
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
slightly bonkers biologist
What did you want to be after you left school?
A vet - I love animals!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I may have blown up some things in the science labs - whoops!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would be doing something to do with musical theatre - probably in the orchestra/pit band.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Idina Menzel - I could happily sing along to the "Wicked" soundtrack all day.
What's your favourite food?
Anything with pasta.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. to get a PhD one day and be able to call myself "Doctor Hannah". 2.to be able to play my flute in the Royal Albert Hall. 3.to invent something really, really awesome.
Tell us a joke.
What does a biologist tell you when you have to give blood? B positive!