CSci Case Study

“Chartered Scientist status is internationally recognised as a benchmark of professional quality and excellence, and I think it demonstrates to the wider scientific community my level of expertise and knowledge”

IBMS Fellow Nicki Lawrence BSc MSc CSci, discusses how becoming a Chartered Scientist through the IBMS has helped advance her career.

Nicki is currently a Principal Biomedical Scientist and Advanced Practitioner in Morphology, Autologous PBSCT Programme Quality Manager, an IBMS Haematology Specialist Advisory Panel Member and UK NEQAS Morphology Specialist Advisory Group Member. 

Nicki Lawrence BSc MSc CSci FIBMS
 What originally interested you in professional registration?

I wanted to provide evidence that I was practising at an advanced level and that I had developed specialist knowledge in my chosen career. 

At the time of registration, I was working toward an advanced role and thought that being a Chartered Scientist also demonstrated my professionalism and commitment to biomedical science. 


How does it feel to be part of a wider community of scientists in the UK and beyond?

Chartered Scientist status is internationally recognised as a benchmark of professional quality and excellence, and I think it demonstrates to the wider scientific community my level of expertise and knowledge. I really enjoy being part of the scientific community and think the existence of different social media has allowed members to interact and engage with each other more readily. I find Twitter particularly useful as professional colleagues from around the world are happy to share links to current research or meetings such as ASH, BCSH or Congress.


How has professional registration helped your own personal development and goals?

When I decided to apply to be a Chartered Scientist I needed to ensure I met the competences set out by the Science Council; application of knowledge and understanding, personal responsibility, interpersonal skills, professionalism, and professional standards.

As a Chartered Scientist, I am more focused on my CPD and the reflective aspect of it. At the end of each year when I review my annual CPD I also reflect on my performance against the 5 competencies required for CSci registration to ensure I continue to meet them. Being a Chartered Scientist has also helped me secure my current role as Principal Scientist - Advanced Practitioner in Morphology as it was part of the person specifications along with the IBMS Higher Specialist Diploma and Diploma of Expert Practice qualifications.


How has professional registration helped the service users (especially patients) of your profession?

I have now been qualified as a Biomedical Scientist for 21 years and my enthusiasm for haematology hasn’t waned in that time. Being able to complete higher qualifications and become a Chartered Scientist has been part of the reason that I am as engaged in my work as I was 25 years ago when I started working in the lab.

The benefit to the service user, and of course the patient, is that I still believe that each and every patient deserves the very best treatment from the moment we receive the sample until we report the results.  I still have a thirst for knowledge and I think this means that the service users can have faith in the service we provide knowing that the workforce hidden away in the lab have a wealth of knowledge and experience.


My advice

Over the years I have had many roles in the lab from MLA to Advanced Practitioner. I’ve been a Health and Safety Lead, and Training Officer, I’ve been a multidisciplinary Biomedical Scientist in haematology and biochemistry, and I’ve worked on-call back when we were MLSOs and various shifts as a biomedical scientist. Each role has taught me something new and I’m sure I will continue to learn much more before I retire.

 I have had some amazing mentors over the years and have been lucky to have such great colleagues that have inspired me to keep learning. Starting out in the lab can seem a bit overwhelming so I found it really helpful to divide my development plan into short term and long term goals. Once you’re settled in your role and you meet the requirements for CSci registration I would definitely go ahead and apply. Registration as a Chartered Scientist helped me refocus my long term plans and I think it’s also improved my reflective skills for my CPD.