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Medical Scientist

Medical scientists conduct medical laboratory tests to provide information for diagnosing, treating and preventing disease.

Duties & Tasks
Medical scientists may perform the following tasks:
  • study blood and its diseases, count blood cells and examine blood slides with a microscope
  • identify blood diseases such as anaemia and leukaemia
  • determine the suitability of blood for transfusion by cross-matching the blood with the patient and checking for the presence of diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS
  • test blood for blood group antibodies that may cause disease in newborn babies and check the compatibility of bone marrow, kidney and other organs for transplantation
  • determine the chemical composition of specimens such as blood and urine, important in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes
  • grow disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi that are taken from a variety of clinical specimens
  • prepare body tissues (taken from the body during surgery or post-mortem examinations) for microscopic examination
  • prepare body fluids for microscopic examination and diagnose abnormalities
  • isolate and examine genetic material (DNA and RNA) for alterations specific to genetic diseases and cancer, to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions
  • supervise the work of other scientists, technical officers and assistants
  • advise medical practitioners on the interpretation of tests.
  • Working conditions
    They work as part of a team with doctors, pathologists, scientists, technicians and laboratory assistants.
    Personal requirements
  • able to make clear and precise observations
  • able to work accurately with attention to detail
  • good verbal and written communication skills
  • able to identify and analyse problems and develop practical solutions
  • able to perform under pressure
  • able to organise and prioritise work.
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