A clinical scientist is a type of researcher, usually in medicine, who conducts research in a clinical setting with live patients. Medical research, for instance, tends to involve many years of work in a laboratory before a potentially effective drug or method is developed. Many clinical scientist jobs involve testing and refining drugs developed in a laboratory setting to assess their clinical value. Many clinical scientist jobs exist for diagnosis of illnesses and are primarily based in hospitals. Such jobs tend to involve laboratory tests on blood and body tissues to identify characteristic signs of illness so doctors and other health professionals can administer proper treatment.
Many clinical scientists also are doctors or other health professionals who have clinical training. Clinical scientist jobs held by such people tend to involve research conducted in a clinical setting. New drugs, for instance, must go through a series of phases of testing before they can be widely used. A clinical scientist involved in such testing is responsible for assessing the safety and clinical efficacy of the drugs. He also may need to determine the optimal dosage, identify potential side effects and look out for possible allergic responses so it can be used safely in the vast majority of cases once it is widely released.
Other clinical scientist jobs do not involve any new research but are instead an integral part of day-to-day hospital functioning. Doctors often need to run tests on blood or tissue samples for diagnostic purposes. They generally send those samples to clinical scientists working at the hospital. Working in such clinical scientist jobs tends to involve examining and testing samples for signs of pathogens, often using chemical, technological or computational methods to do so. Managerial clinical scientist jobs tend to involve making sure that such diagnostic and testing laboratories work efficiently and are able to confront even complex, unusual laboratory tasks.
Clinical scientist jobs make use of a variety of different scientific skills and bodies of knowledge. Many clinical scientists make use of techniques based in chemistry, biology and even computer science. Many, particularly those who conduct research in clinical settings, are fully trained doctors who also must be skilled at interacting with patients. Almost all facets of biomedical science are constantly improving, so a clinical scientist may be expected to learn new skills and techniques and to teach them to others during the course of his career.