I’m really interested in Science, but within Science there’s such a huge variety of careers that you can choose to pursue. My particular interest in healthcare and my desire to work with people are some of the many reasons I have chosen to strive to study Medicine. Medicine is still a Science and therefore it will adhere to scientific procedures and require competency within a laboratory setting. There are also many specialities within Medicine which are solely based in this setting. This is why I decided to carry out some work experience in a lab. Each day my activities were quite similar so I decided to create one blog post rather than many repetitive ones.
The company I went to go and work for was one that carries out various tests for companies, such as seeing if the claims made by cosmetic brands are true. They also test for microbes and bacteria which may have contaminated any of the products. I’m sure you can already tell that aspectic techniques and strict procedures were very important within this setting. I remember reading up about the work of the company before my first day and if I’m honest I was a little nervous as I didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping I’d be able to go into the lab and see how things worked in there and see the more scientific side.
And…it was great because once I started that’s exactly what I was going during my time there! I was even able to carry out some of the practical testing procedures with the help of the staff there and I later managed to be able to prepare a whole match of media by myself.
Lab work is definitely tiring, which is something that I didn’t expect for some reason. Spending a full day from 9am-4pm where you dispense 700 test tubes, cap them all, take the lids of 300 bottles, empty the contents of these of the bottles, stick labels on to 500 Petri dishes and then write the relevant references on them all doesn’t sound to strenuous, but it definitely was tiring. Lab work also requires an eye for detail to some extent, being able to recognise the different colonies of bacteria and spot when a test resulted in being clear and when one wasn’t. It’s very meticulous indeed.
I was amazed at how efficiently work in a lab is carried out and there really was masses and masses of testing that was completed each and every day. I was able to implement basic aspectic techniques and during my time there I recognised the importance of something as simple as not touching the inside of the test tubes or bottles with your hand. At first the procedures were a little overwhelming as it was much more precise and strict compared to how we carry out practicals in school. But I soon became used to it. In the laboratory, checks are carried out every single day in which the scales and balances are tested for accuracy – the leeway for the inaccuracy is incredibly small. Later when I became involved in preparing the media for the laboratory, I could see why this was necessary as the different substances had to be weighed to a very specific measurement.
After I prepared the media I had to measure the pH of one sample from each batch and record it as if bacteria were to be later found in this sample, an unusual pH sample could indicate that this was an anomaly rather than a form of contamination.
Overall, I did enjoy my work experience especially being given the responsibility to independently complete certain tasks. However, one thing that I have learnt or more so noticed from completing this experience was just how much I missed being able to interact with people. By working in a lab I was in a solely scientific environment and compared to my work experience at the GP, there wasn’t any interaction with the public and not much variety either. I have a strong desire to be able to directly speak with others and meet new people each and every day. Completing this work experience has further reinforced my desire to work within the field of Medicine at a societal level.