- Help care for critically ill patients in hospitals
- Requires the ability to work accurately and precisely when under pressure, and the ability to empathise with patients
- Progress to lead CCT or move into a specialist field of critical care
The type of equipment you'll work with includes blood analysers to measure biochemical factors, dialysis machines, to filter blood when the kidneys aren't working, ventilators to help patients breathe, defibrillators and monitors to measure vital body functions like heart rate and brain activity and infusion pumps and syringe drivers to deliver drugs to patients.
- Setting up equipment
- Connecting it to patients and monitoring the machinery
- Carrying out maintenance checks and cleaning of intensive care equipment and bedside
- Technical support
- Decontaminating machinery
- Advising and training medical staff on the use of equipment
- Negotiating with medical sales representatives
- Routine administration tasks
- Managing the on-call rotas and work of other staff
- Researching, developing, assessing and introducing new treatments and technologies
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, your working environment may be emotionally demanding and you may need to wear protective clothing.
To be a critical care technologist requires the ability to work accurately and precisely when under pressure, problem-solving and decision-making skills, the ability to empathise with patients, and put them at ease, and team-working skills.
You can apply for a training place on the 3-year NHS Healthcare Scientist Training Programme (STP). This is a combination of university and work-based training. To apply, you'll need an upper second class honours degree or above in a subject related to the specialist area you want to work in. Examples of acceptable subjects are physiology, pure or applied physics, engineering, biology or human biology, or sports science.
You'll be employed by an NHS organisation and paid a salary while you train.
If you have a lower second class honours degree or better in any subject, along with a master's degree that is relevant to the specialism for which you are applying, you can also be considered.
You'll also need to find a trainee healthcare scientist job through the STP.
For all candidates, it will be useful if you have some research experience. It could also help you if you have some experience of working in a relevant environment before applying for a place on a course. Check with the course provider to see what sort of experience is preferred.
Competition for places on the Scientist Training Programme is high, so it helps if you have relevant experience. Try and do some voluntary work in a hospital, and get experience of patient contact, as this role involves communicating with patients.
With experience, you could progress to lead CCT. You could also move into a specialist field of critical care like liver and transplant work, cardiology, neurophysiology, burns, premature baby units and respiratory physiology.