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Nursing vs. Medical Laboratory Scientist

I have a BS in Biology and I’m looking to further my education. I’m currently in nursing school but I also have an interest in a career in laboratory science. What’s some advice for careers in nursing/medical laboratory science, and how do I know which career is for me? #career-counseling #career-paths #career-advice


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Brian’s Answer

Hi Nikeia!
You have asked an awesome question about Nursing vs. Medical Laboratory Scientist as well as the question about Nurse scientists.
Some background on me: I am a chemist and currently work in research and development of pharmaceutical drugs (specifically injectable dosage forms). My wife is a nurse scientist – which is an up-and-coming field that many don’t know about. It’s great that you have taken an interest!

Questions that you should consider:
• What kind of schedule would you prefer? Are you the type of person that would prefer working a traditional 9-5 work week or would you prefer three 12-hour shifts? Day shift or Night shift? The work schedule of some nursing jobs can be a hard adjustment, but many people actually prefer it.
• What kind of impact would you like to make? Do you want to help individual people or make an impact on a larger scale? Both are very important. Knowing your motivation behind your career choice can really help when deciding.
• Would you be interested in pharmaceutical research and development? With a degree in biology it might be beneficial to pursue a master’s degree in microbiology or chemistry. This could also lead to potential careers in other fields, if interested.

There are lots of fields like nursing and laboratory sciences, so I encourage you to explore opportunities related to them (clinical, pharmaceutical, medical devices, etc.)

If you don’t listen to any other advice, listen to this! I highly recommend shadowing people that work in different positions/fields. I did this and it was super helpful when picking my career path. You can learn so much just by watching and talking with someone at their work. Maybe start with a nurse scientist at a local university or hospital?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you a have any questions.

Thank you so much! This information is very helpful! How was your wife's transition from nursing to nurse scientist, and what kind of setting does she work in? Nikeia S.

I'm glad that I was able to help! I spoke with my wife and here is her reply: “The transition from working as a bedside nurse to a nurse scientist was relatively smooth, but I credit most of that to having really understanding advisors. Undergraduate nursing school really focuses their education curriculum on working at the bedside: the anatomy, nursing process, pharmacology and the like. It makes sense though, since undergrad is meant to prepare you to pass the NCLEX. Once I started my PhD work, the schooling was so different than what I was used to. It was all theory-based, analytical work and no tests, which was crazy. Just lots and lots of writing. Brian Thiese

That part of the transition was hard because I was so used to memorizing information and spitting it out on test day, which I am not good at. If you enjoy writing and researching, I would highly recommend looking into a nursing scientist program (usually a PhD program, which is different from a DNP program). Nursing science is such a unique field and there is a lot that you can do with it, since it is so up and coming. Brian Thiese

I know nurses that work on the bench and do genetics or cancer research and I also know nurses who do qualitative, more of community psychology research. If you like statistics, lots and lots of companies love to hire nurses who are trained in statistics, which you get a lot of in a PhD program. Being a nurse is such a unique occupation and I have really enjoyed exploring the scientific side of it.” Brian Thiese

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Eric’s Answer

Excellent question. BS in Biology and in nursing school with an interest in laboratory science.
It seems rather obvious since you have mostly indicated you favor lab sciences.
You're in nursing,
Do you get board easily? Or are you a people person?
1. How long do you have in completing school program?
2.Does nursing feel fulfilling or just a job.
3.Have you thought about nuclear field laboratoy
4.Cancer pathic/ idio pathic laboratory
5. Autoimmune biologic laboratory
Just some of the questions I would ask myself. Another way to find your way get a sheet of paper draw a line separate likes dislikes advantages disadvantages.
Then job search the different fiields of choice on the government listings in your community or where you think you might be living. If you have plans getting married etc... But the key is the projected job outlook of expansion. Like labs do job search as well as hospital nurses the trends and maintaining those who are about to retire. I hope this helps.
With the love of Jesus I bid you a good life.

Thank you so much! Definitely going to look into the careers you mentioned and do the likes/dislikes, advantages/disadvantages! Nikeia S.

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Samuel’s Answer

Greetings and salutations! My name is Samuel Colis Achiles. I am a current graduate from California State University Dominguez Hills, with a degree in kinesiology. Though my major in kinesiology does not relate to your career path, I am still willing to offer you some advice in the field of nursing and laboratory science. First of all, nursing requires several prerequisites, especially in human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and especially chemistry. Therefore, it is possible that you can land a career in any of the aforementioned prerequisites, and you will certainly land a career in nursing, because your resume when applying for nursing would require of you any of the above skills. After all, simultaneously, you should have also have taken lab courses within any of the aforementioned subjects.

Examples of prerequisite careers for nursing/laboratory sciences would include chemical engineer, forensic scientist, medical technologist, research and product development, etc.

That is all my advice to you. May I wish you well in your endeavors.

Thank you! Nikeia S.

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Estelle’s Answer

I would suggest shadowing in both of these fields as they are very different. Nursing involves patient care whereas working as a laboratory scientist typically does not.

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Ivy’s Answer

Hi Nikeia,

These are both very good career paths. One thing to think about is how would you like to help people. Nursing would require being with patients and attending to their needs while medical laboratory science will have limited patient contact You will be able to contribute in helping diagnose their disease or doing research. Hope this helps.

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