Ok, a quick breakdown.
1. If you want to do Biomedical Science and do it in a hospital, DO AN IBMS ACCREDITED DEGREE - Do not go to Russel Group unis as they are USELESS for this subject! They focus primarily on research whereas non-accredited degrees focus on patient diagnosis.
2. Try hard in your degree, we lost a third of the course in our second year (at UWE) as one module was an absolute monster of an exam (Cellular Biology and Genetics).
3. Once you have a degree, get a job as an MLA or as an AP in a hospital which can offer you your IBMS portfolio. Yes you will have to start at the bottom of the payscale but, tbh, it will provide you with VERY valuable life skills and experience for working in a hospital without the responsibilities as well as watching others do it. The IBMS portfolio can typically take around a year to complete if you go in all guns blazing and if you don't have any commitments (such as a partner and/or kids), it can be done quicker as there are fewer distractions. Personally though I see it as a waste of time but it has to be done legally if you want the title "BMS".
4. During your first job, you will have to deal with some VERY messy and smelly samples. Just yesterday I was clearing the freezer of primary calprotectin samples looking to see any results which weren't released to patients (and throwing away samples which had been released) and came across two which weren't registered on the system. Calprotectin is used primarily in the diagnosis to help distinguish between IBS and IBD (yes, you guessed it, I went through thousands of poo samples, just do it quick before they defrost and you can smell it). Don't get me wrong, most of it doesn't smell where I deal with CSF, blood, urine (tbh, I think this is worse than poo as you get some really bad ones), xanthochromia, faeces and other types of samples.
5. You will also, very importantly need to learn how to deal with different types of waste. Such waste includes domestic (basic waste you sort at home), recycling, confidential waste (patient details), clinical waste (patient samples) and offensive waste (basically reagents and potentially contaminated samples).
6. You have to deal with a VERY critical sample at times and will sometimes, more often than not have half an hour, if not less to receive, process and run a sample. The other month, we received a CSF and a xanthochromia sample from someone who had been involved in a motorbike accident and results had to be released quickly as these types of samples can not be reobtained and need to be released quickly as these are only obtainable during surgery. You will also need to learn what to do should the analysers be down and how to handle these samples properly, for example, ammonia if it can't be analysed due to daily machine maintenance must be frozen to prevent it evaporating but CSF must be kept in the fridge and if you freeze it, you damage the proteins within it you will be looking for. So, please don't mess it up...
7. Is it satisfying for me BUT you have a lot of scenarios where problems occur and we have ED nurses shouting down the phone at us asking where are samples and why haven't they got results yet. Sometimes we don't get results out on time like last Thursday as we had a trust wide issue where the system went down and we had to manually, one by one go through all samples presented to us, typically the system would release results automatically unless they were a bit wonky, meaning they need to be looked at by a BMS for authorisation. So, we had to manually look at the samples and pull out all the ED, ICU and AAU samples to be looked at on the system by the BMS to be looked at one by one and released manually until the system was back up and running. This was because we had to prioritise these types of samples over non-urgent and "other urgent" samples.
8. There is also a lot of machine maintenance on the BMS part as it is their job to ensure reagents are kept up to date and to clean the machines when the APs aren't around to help sort samples. So, not only are you a scientist but also a engineer/mechanic too. =l