Biomedical and Laboratory Practice is an umbrella term referring to public health professionals in many areas of study. A good way to think of Biomedical and Laboratory Practice healthcare professionals is to consider them Biomedical Engineers or Healthcare professionals that work on biology topics in a laboratory setting. Biomedical Laboratory healthcare professionals use a variety of scientific disciplines to advance the field of medicine and the healthcare industry.
Biomedical Laboratory healthcare professionals also use various fields of knowledge including science, medicine, engineering, chemistry, and biology. Biomedical Laboratory healthcare professionals use their diverse scientific background to come up with new solutions to medical problems. In addition, Biomedical Laboratory medical professionals also interact with a host of other healthcare professionals to improve the drug creation and manufacturing process for pharmaceutical drugs and other products.
Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professionals work hand in hand with other healthcare professionals to advance the industry forward and reduce the rate of illness among the general community through extensive research and science.
They are required to use lab techniques in order to diagnose and treat diseases. Lab techniques are also used to examine specific conditions and variables that affect the status of an individual's, community's, or nation's health.
Public health professions in this category include:
Depending on individual preference for specific fields, one can become a biomedical scientist in practically any aspect of health care or laboratory research. Biomedical and Laboratory professionals also have the opportunity to specialize in certain topics. Some of the specialties that a Biomedical engineer can specialize in include: Biomaterials, Biomechanics, Clinical Engineering, Bioinstrumentation, Rehabilitation Engineering, and Systems Physiology.
Each one of these different specialties allow Biomedical engineers to focus on different aspects of the healthcare industry and provide care in different ways through their research and laboratory practice.
Now that we’ve mentioned the various specialties that Biomedical healthcare professionals can specialize in, we’re going to provide a little bit more detail to give a better understanding of what your career might entail depending on the specialization path you take.
• Biomaterials — Biomaterials is essentially the study and research of laboratory materials that are used in medical devices and medical equipment. In addition, Biomaterials involve the study of materials that might be used for implants. As a Biomedical medical engineer, much of the research is dedicated to studying whether or not the material can be improved or replaced with more efficient material.
• Biomechanics — Biomechanics is essentially the study of how the human body functions individually and as part of the whole. This means that Biomedical Engineers will study how the body moves and interacts with different pieces and functions. One way to think of Biomechanics is like a spin-off of the field of Kinesiology but is slightly more different because it is more research-based.
As a Biomedical engineer working in the field of Biomechanics, your routine will largely consist of finding ways to improve the dynamic human movement, and also find ways to improve the structure and strength of various muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones. If you’re interested in human an animal anatomy, then this is one specialty you should consider looking at.
• Clinical Engineering — Clinical Engineering is a focus in providing healthcare support through the application of the technology that Biomedical engineers research and create. Clinical engineering means actually applying the technology that you’re developing. Whereas other roles in a Biomedical and Laboratory practice involve theory, Clinical engineering involves application.
If you’re passionate about developing technology to improve how the human biology functions and see it implemented in clinical application, then you should consider becoming a Clinical Engineer.
• Bioinstrumentation — Bioinstrumentation is a field of Biomedical engineering that focuses on using equipment and various medical instruments to measure and then evaluate the human biology. Some good examples of Bioinstrumentation are also in your daily routine and lifestyle. For instance, you might already use fitness trackers, or genetic testing services.
Another example of Bioinstrumentation might be when you’re at the hospital and you need to receive anesthesia. The device that anesthesia is delivered in is a result of the Bioinstrumentation. A focus in Bioinstrumentation means that you will research and then help engineers develop the new technology that makes medical application easier for other healthcare professionals who are working directly with patients.
• Rehabilitation Engineering — Rehabilitation Engineering is a Biomedical engineering field focused on developing solutions to help disabled individuals who are either temporarily disabled or permanently disabled improve their lifestyle. For example, a disabled individual might be struggling to accomplish some tasks that the general public takes for granted.
As a Rehabilitation Engineer, your focus is to speed up the healing process and improve the lifestyle by creating devices or technologies that help eliminate further injury and improve comfort levels associated with various disabilities.
There are several great examples of what a daily routine looks like for a Rehabilitation Engineer. Some of them might include developing and researching potential robotics implementation, virtual rehabilitation, prosthetics, kinetics, and organ function.
• Robotics — Robotics are increasingly playing a large part in how fast a patient might proceed through their rehabilitation, and Biomedical Engineers who are focused in Rehabilitation will help develop new robotics that ease the problems that disabled individuals are suffering from. In addition, robotics help remove the barriers that they might be facing like impaired movement.
• Virtual Rehabilitation — Virtual Reality is becoming an important tool in the healthcare industry. Part of VR is related to educating the upcoming workforce and providing rehabilitation to those patients who are struggling mentally. As a Rehabilitation Engineer, your focus will be in creating simulation exercises that help patients recover from a cognitive and eventual physical standpoint.
• Prosthetics — Rehabilitation biomedical engineers also play a key role in developing and improving upon existing prosthetics. One key example of the previous work of Biomedical Engineers in the field of prosthetics has to do with the comfort level. Not too long ago, Prosthetics were very uncomfortable and were rarely used. Over the years, Biomedical engineers helped to improve the function and comfort level of prosthetics until they were widely accepted and later adopted.
• Kinetics — Rehabilitation engineers focus on improving the overall movement of disabled patients.
• Organ Function — Organs might not always function properly over time. Biomedical engineers come up with innovative solutions as Rehabilitation engineers and craft medical devices and medical instruments to return those organs to their normal function or replace them entirely.
• Systems Physiology — Systems Physiology is another fancy term for Biomedical engineers and Laboratory healthcare professionals who specialize in understanding how the environment or various systems interact with humans and animals. For instance, how do bacteria or other living organisms interact with humans? Systems Physiologists examine ways to improve the natural systems within the human body.
Biomedical and laboratory healthcare professionals might also work in a variety of other types of jobs through their scientific endeavors. Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare scientists might focus on infections, cellular, genetics, molecular, and blood.
• Infections — Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professionals who study and research infections will focus on various viruses, diseases, organisms, micro-organisms, and antibiotics.
• Cellular — Biomedical scientists who research cellular aspects will focus on tissue samples, cellular structure makeup, and cellular analysis.
• Genetics — Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professionals who focus on genetics identify and research various genes, hereditary history, and genetic pathology to understand how certain genetic conditions can be responsible various healthcare afflictions.
• Molecular — Molecular study from Biomedical Engineers is the study of how diseases might develop and spread through tissue and fluids on a molecular level. Understanding how diseases start, grow, and develop over time is a critical way to understand ways to combat them and improve the well-being of the general public.
In this field, Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professionals are tasked with protecting the public from harmful diseases or addictive substances by studying and applying research centered around biomedical research.
Biomedical scientists are also responsible for studying bacterium and how they affect the human body, using lab techniques for diagnosing and treating illnesses, preventing and controlling viruses and diseases, and monitor microorganisms.
Biomedical healthcare professionals are also in charge of designing biomedical equipment to help impact a patient’s lifestyle and improve their overall function and lifestyle. For instance, Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professionals are tasked with designing equipment that can restore function to otherwise failing components, like internal organ failure or a loss of a limb.
With technology increasingly becoming an important piece to the modern healthcare environment, Biomedical Engineers are needed to diagnose and assist patients in every aspect of their life. Biomedical Engineers and Laboratory Practice healthcare professionals are tasked with designing healthcare equipment that will make diagnosing diseases and ailments quicker and more reliable.
Biomedical healthcare professionals are also tasked with evaluating the safety of biomedical equipment. Part of the role as a Biomedical engineer involves creating the equipment and then ensuring that the equipment is safe to use among the general public. In addition to ensuring that the technology is safe for the general public, part of the responsibility as a Biomedical and Laboratory Practitioner is to ensure that the equipment is also effective and efficient.
There is no sense in using outdated equipment if Biomedical engineers can create new technology to help patients heal faster and at a more effective rate.
Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professionals are also tasked with providing support in a variety of forms to Biomedical equipment that a patient or group of patients might be using. From time to time, equipment will need to be installed, adjusted, repaired, maintained, or taught to new patients who are unfamiliar with the equipment.
In addition, part of the training with those who are unfamiliar with the equipment relates to other healthcare professionals who might be tasked with using it. Other clinicians and healthcare professionals might have a host of questions about how to use the equipment and the benefits of using the equipment with their patients.
As a Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professional, your expertise will come in handy when it comes to informing them about all they need to know.
Another core responsibility of Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professionals is to conduct extensive research. Part of the research will be inside a lab, and the rest will be conducted elsewhere like a clinical setting. As a Biomedical engineer, you will often be tasked with preparing research proposals, preparing research procedures, writing technical reports, and then getting ready to present your research findings.
Part of presenting your research findings involves going back through your research to ensure that you’ve followed the proper scientific methods to conduct effective research and conclude accurate findings. The next step involves publishing the research in peer-reviewed journals, articles, and additional industry sources. From there, Biomedical engineers are tasked with recommending new treatment procedures and equipment based on their findings through their research and be willing to defend it against potential criticism that might arise.
Another core responsibility of Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professionals is to be prepared to present the findings in a variety of non-traditional and traditional settings. This includes presenting your research findings to clinicians, hospital management, executives, public officials, private officials, other healthcare professionals, and the general public.
Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professionals are also responsible for accurately recording data, writing reports about that data, and then sharing that data with the appropriate healthcare professionals who can then use that data to treat patients and assist them with getting over their ailment.
Part of the responsibility of preparing those reports is also being responsible for identifying errors or abnormal numbers in the report and then updating the healthcare professionals who are using that report.
Biomedical healthcare scientists are also in charge of answering any questions that patients or other healthcare professionals might have related to various care aspects or questions associated with the biomedical report. These questions will come in the form of phone calls, emails, messages,personal discussions, and more. As a Biomedical scientist, you must be prepared to answer questions as they arise and respond in the appropriate manner.
Arguably the most important responsibility of Biomedical scientists is to supervise the quality and tracking of quality control for all testing and research procedures.
Another responsibility for Biomedical and Laboratory scientists is to help standardize information related to prescription drugs and the human anatomy. Biomedical healthcare professionals help provide clarity on the proper doses, potency, and methods to be used.
Biomedical Engineers are also responsible for studying the human and animal anatomy to find ways to improve the health and well-being of the general public.
As a Biomedical healthcare professional, there are plenty of common activities that you can expect to do in your daily routine. Knowing what these daily routines and common activities are will help you to determine and evaluate whether or not you’re going to truly enjoy the job as a Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professional.
• Identify Areas of Research Opportunity
As a Biomedical Engineer, part of your job is going to be evaluating and identifying various areas of research opportunity. Are there potential questions that you have regarding human and animal biology that hasn’t been explored or researched before? Are there current areas of research that could be developed further?
These are critical questions that you have to ask as a Biomedical Engineer and Laboratory healthcare professional, because coming up with research can be a difficult task. Oftentimes, how you phrase questions and use your creative skills will most often dictate and determine how well you come up with research topics and identify areas of research opportunity.
• Conduct Biomedical Research
Once you’ve selected the research topic that you’d like to pursue or have been assigned to, the next thing you will most often do on the job as a Biomedical healthcare professional is to actually conduct the research on the topic. This will most often involve performing various tests, analyzing various the results of those tests, and processing various samples.
In addition, part of the biomedical research that you will be conducting is to oversee and manage the healthcare subordinates under your guidance to ensure that their research is following the proper procedures and actively contributing to the research assignment. This will also involve evaluating the research to determine what to include and what to exclude.
• Summarize Research
After conducting the research, part of your role as a Biomedical and Laboratory healthcare professional is to then summarize the research. Part of this will involve ensuring that everything you have researched is confined to answering the same research topic that you started with. Even though your research might have expanded to additional topics throughout the natural research process, it is sometimes better to exclude that research and present it at a later date. The research you want to summarize should be narrow in scope, so as to not confuse the individuals or groups of individuals that you are presenting it to.
• Present Research
Once the research has concluded and you have summarized the research appropriately and gotten it peer-reviewed, the next common activity on the job that you will be exposed to as a Biomedical Engineer is to present your research findings to the relevant individuals. This means that you publish and share it in the relevant journals based on the research topic. Part of presenting the research will also involve defending it.
Defending the research will entail showcasing elements of your research and research process that you eliminated all possible doubts in your research findings and that the findings themselves stand on solid ground.
• Peer-Review Other Research
As a Biomedical Engineer, your expertise will often be requested to evaluate and review some of the research that other healthcare professionals and laboratory scientists have conducted. This means that you will spend time ensuring that the research they have conducted is both scientifically sound and reasonable. You will want to help as a peer-reviewer because they will often be willing to peer-review the research you have conducted.
The more individuals you peer review, the more individuals who you could potentially call upon in the future. One of the best benefits associated with reviewing other research is that it allows you to evaluate how they approach certain research topics or conducted various research steps. Knowing what someone else is doing to come up with effective research summaries will help you in your own research.
• Stay Up To Date On Continuing Education Requirements
Another common activity on the job for Biomedical Engineers is to stay up to date on their continuing education requirements. Every single hospital or healthcare organization will frequently request that you continue your education and stay up to date on modern practices and research methods. In addition, any certifications you obtain will also make it a requirement.
It’s best to do these over time, so you don’t have to catch up at the last minute and become overwhelmed. While you’re completing the continuing education credits, you will want to keep track of them to properly report and record them later.
• Examine Biomedical Equipment
The next common activity that you will want to do is to examine the biomedical equipment that you use on a daily basis. Examining the biomedical equipment is critical to ensuring that it is functioning properly and aiding you in your laboratory practice and research.
In addition, examining the equipment will help you evaluate whether or not you should design or develop additional biomedical equipment to aid in future research endeavors, or improve the efficiency of laboratory testing procedures.
• Design Biomedical Equipment
Part of your job as a Biomedical Engineer and Laboratory healthcare professional is to come up with innovative designs of biomedical equipment. Part of this process involves evaluating the current technology that is being used with the equipment, and deciding whether or not the equipment can be upgraded. Part of designing the biomedical equipment involves ensuring ease of production, easy adoption rate from healthcare professionals, and more.
• Develop Biomedical Equipment
Once you have designed a new piece of biomedical equipment, the next thing to do is to develop the equipment itself. Depending upon what your research grant is dedicated to, you could have research funds that are dedicated to developing equipment. Developing the equipment is focused solely upon coming up with a new piece of equipment that will improve efficiency, be used with more ease, and also reduce costs for hospitals and healthcare facilities.
• Test Biomedical Equipment
Once you have developed the biomedical equipment, the next step is to begin testing it to make sure that it does improve upon the existing technology that currently exists in the marketplace. This also involves ensuring that the new equipment is both reliable in a medical environment, and also produces reliable test results and laboratory practices.
• Assist With Diagnosing of Diseases and Ailments
Arguably the most common activity on the job that you will be exposed to in a Biomedical and Laboratory Practice setting is to help assist with the diagnosing of diseases and ailments that patients will succumb to. Patients will be a part of the routine clinical rotation, in addition to consultation with other healthcare professionals who are unfamiliar with various diseases and afflictions that fall outside of their own expertise.
• Assist With Treatment of Diseases and Ailments
Once you have diagnosed the diseases or ailments patients are suffering from or consulted with other healthcare professionals regarding their patients, the next task you will be charged with is to assist them with the treatment of each patient. This will involve educating the patients about the proper medication to use, lifestyle changes, and more.
In addition, this will involve monitoring the patient to ensure that they implement the lifestyle changes and frequently follow-up with them to ensure they are improving and there are no negative side effects.
• Educate, Use, and Maintain Medical Equipment
Another common activity on the job for Biomedical healthcare professionals is to help educate other healthcare professionals on how to use and maintain the medical equipment in a laboratory setting. In addition, the education will involve closely monitoring the equipment and those who use it to ensure they are using the equipment properly and maintaining it sufficiently for long-term use.
Improper equipment use and maintenance will lead to equipment degrading faster, which will ultimately cost the laboratory research department more than necessary. As a supervisor of the research lab, any improper use of the equipment will partially fall on you — so you want to stay up to date on proper maintenance and education practices.
• Communicate With Patients and Other Healthcare Professionals
One of the most critical activities on the job will be related to effective communication with both patients and other healthcare professionals in the hospital or healthcare setting. Proper communication ensures that there are no misunderstandings as it relates to diagnoses, treatment options, treatment plans, equipment use, equipment maintenance plan, and more.
Other healthcare professionals will frequently come to you to seek feedback on treatment options, additional insight into potential ailments that their patients are suffering from, and more.
• Accurately Record and Maintain Data
Another important activity for Biomedical Engineers and Laboratory healthcare professionals is to accurately record and maintain data. Without accurate records or maintained data, then things can go awry quickly. Accurate records ensure that proper healthcare plans are set in the future, the patients get the right treatment, other healthcare professionals can access that data, and more. When data isn’t maintained properly, then healthcare professionals cannot access previous care plans and recommend future treatment options.
• Track and Manage Team Research Goals and Results
Another important daily activity you will be exposed to as a Biomedical Engineer is to track and manage the team research goals and results. Part of this will revolve around overseeing multiple research projects at once and evaluating what additional resources or time is needed to complete the research.
From there, you will also be tasked with evaluating the results of the research that you and your team are conducting to ensure it is on schedule. If necessary, you will also be tasked with informing other relevant professionals and superiors about the status of the research — so it’s always a good idea to stay attuned to the current status of each research effort.
• Track, Supervise, and Evaluate Research Procedures and Quality Standards
The next most common activity on the job that you will be exposed to as a Medical Engineer and Laboratory healthcare professional is to track, supervise, and evaluate the research procedure and quality standards. As a healthcare professional who consistently works within the scientific method to identify gaps in healthcare wellness and procedures associated with the human and animal anatomy, you can potentially come up with some way to improve research methodology and quality standards.
Improving research methodology and quality standards will help speed up the rate of research and also increase the chances of reducing extra or unnecessary steps that are repeated throughout the research process.
Public health is a highly diverse field and practically any skill can be said to be beneficial. However, most notably, after mastery of a chosen specialization, is the ability to coordinate and work as part of a team or community of professionals.
Additionally, highly developed communication skills will benefit anyone pursuing biomedical and laboratory science looking to develop public campaigns, along with intuitive problem-solving and time management skills.
Developing these skills earlier can lead to overall better performance well before entering the field as well.
As a Biomedical Engineer, one of the most critical skills you need to possess is strong mathematics. Every day you will have to use math to solve problems and equations that will directly affect the research you’re conducting.
• Solid Communication
Communication is one of the most important skills for all healthcare professionals to possess. Communication is required for interacting with patients, team members, research assistants, other healthcare professionals, and more.
• Data Analysis
Conducting research is important, but what might be even more important is the analysis of the data associated with that research. As a Biomedical Engineer, you need to evaluate the data that you’re collecting and be able to identify the important stats related to the data. In addition, you need to understand how you can use that data in your research, while also being able to convey the relevant information from that data to less-informed healthcare professionals.
• Problem Solving
As a Biomedical Engineer and Laboratory scientist and healthcare professional, most of your job will be relating to identifying problems and coming up with innovative solutions to those challenges.
Another skill that Biomedical and Laboratory Practice healthcare professionals need is creativity. Creativity is essential in every aspect of a Biomedical Engineer’s day because you have to come up with research topics, potential solutions to challenges, and designs for medical technology.
These public health professionals work primarily in laboratories, in both the public and private sectors, in a collaborative effort to find solutions to some of the largest problems facing human health.
Biomedical scientists may also work with patients from time to time, but much less so than other medical professionals as they are often restricted from congregating with the public whatsoever.
Hours can be long with this position, depending on the project or task at hand. Some overnight shifts are possible, but rarely the norm.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, biomedical scientists were employed by the following industries:
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state||21%|
|General medical and surgical hospitals; private||10%|
|Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing||8%|
|Offices of physicians||4%|
|Estimated Annual Salary||Average Hourly Wage||Positions Nationwide|