What does a Clinical Scientist do?

Jacob Queen

Being a clinical scientist involves a lot of different kinds of work, but fundamentally, it can include any kind of scientific work that directly relates to medicine. Some of the most common jobs are very low-level positions that are mostly related to basic laboratory tasks, like analyzing various kinds of medical samples. Further up the chain, there are research jobs where a person may push the edges of scientific advancement. Within all the different fields, there are also hierarchies of clinical scientists. For example, when it comes to clinical research projects, there may only be one scientist in charge, and everyone else may have more menial jobs related to lab analysis.

Clinical scientists often spend significant amounts of time looking through microscopes.
Clinical scientists often spend significant amounts of time looking through microscopes.

Science is generally always pushing the edges of medical understanding, and the clinical scientist often finds himself deeply involved in these advances. Many clinical scientists spend their careers looking for new medicines and treatments. They also do various experiments to test out treatments after they're developed. In these cases, they may be looking for side effects of new medicines and finding ways to avoid them or trying to understand why they happen.

Most clinical scientists conduct basic laboratory tasks, like analyzing samples.
Most clinical scientists conduct basic laboratory tasks, like analyzing samples.

Another thing that clinical scientists may research is the effectiveness of new procedures or new medical equipment. Anything new like this will usually require extensive experimentation to determine its effectiveness, and any kind of experimentation will usually be handled by scientists. For example, if a new surgical procedure is being tested, a clinical research scientist might be put in charge of overseeing the candidates selected for the test and analyzing the results.

During many clinical scientist jobs, the scientist may have to gather data or perform tests on sick individuals. This may involve asking questions about the person's condition or health history. Doing this kind of work can require a gentle hand in terms of relating to people.

In many cases, a clinical scientist may spend most of his day looking through a microscope or analyzing bacterial cultures. Many clinical scientists are employed in hospitals where they help the doctor diagnose various illnesses. These jobs may not always pay as well as some research jobs, but they are sometimes easier to find, and there is always the possibility of rising up in the ranks.

Clinical scientists are rarely alone in their duties. There is generally a focus on interacting with others, whether it be the doctors in the hospital where they're employed or the other scientists on a research team. For this reason, the scientists generally need to be cooperative people who don't mind working in an environment with a lot of delegation and teamwork.

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