Bsc Biomedical Science to Operational Lead
Name: Bamidele Farinre
Course/ job: Senior Biomedical Scientist (Operations Lead)
A levels/ equivalent : A Levels Chemistry, Biology, AVCE Science
Undergrad and postgrad degrees:
HND Applied Biology,
Favourite science fact: It can rain diamonds on other planets (This is a fantasy that makes me think, if that’s the case we will be veeeery rich scientists!!!)
Journey in 3 Words: Challenging, Rewarding, Satisfying
What motivated you to pursue a career in science:
My fascination with science started from a young age owing to the fact that my mum was an auxiliary nurse and my aunty was a qualified doctor in Nigeria. We have pharmacists in the family too. I have always had an inquisitive mind about how science helps people to live a better life, I remember being taken along to graduation ceremonies by my grandmother, she was not educated but made up her mind that her children and grandchildren will accomplish what she couldn’t. She encouraged that I should aspire to succeed in my academics and that I can be whatever I want to be as long as I put my heart to it. I aspired to be a pharmacist but did not get the grades I required to study pharmacy at my chosen University. I went through clearing to apply to another University for a different course and I was advised to do an access course to give me a boost and prepare me for the main degree hence why I studied HND applied Biology. Whilst waiting for my clearing results I had a call from one of the universities I had applied, to come and study pharmacy, I accepted but only studied for a week and realised that was not a good career option for me due to the maths content, hence my career path as a Biomedical scientist.
Briefly describe your current role: Operational Lead: I’m responsible for smooth operations of the lab.
I manage the work of staff in the lab and support the General Manager in developing a culture in which members of staff are continuously improving the delivery of high-quality services. I achieve this by monitoring the allocation of staffing levels to meet the workload requirements of the sections and maximise staff and equipment resources.
I ensure the development and acceptance of challenging but realistic objectives for staff, and through leadership, motivation and systematic performance management, achieve the required results. I am involved in day-to-day service staffing issues and in planning the departmental service rotas together with the Senior BMS in formulation and implementation of departmental policies affecting service delivery, ensuring Infection Sciences fulfils its obligations to both its internal and external users with respect to turn around times and quality control issues.
Proactively facilitate the review of documents and maintain all laboratory procedures e.g., SOPs and policies in an acceptable form for accreditation. I resolve staffing issues in conjunction with the senior BMS to manage situations which may result in a service delivery failure.
I participate in the clinical authorisation of highly complex results where necessary; working closely with clinical and scientific staff in the interpretation, notification and follow-up of clinically significant results and assume responsibility for the troubleshooting of analyser/assay failures as required.
Participates in the recruitment and selection of appropriate staff in conjunction with the technical and operations Managers; facilitated the induction, education, training and professional development of appropriate staff. I ensured that appropriate standard operating procedures (SOPs) are developed and implemented. I facilitated continual development and compliance of internal and external audits by monitoring all non-compliances.
It was challenging and demanding at the time because I was working full time as a mother, wife and was also pregnant but it was rewarding.
You completed your Msc in 2013, What advice would you give someone wanting to follow a similar path? I would encourage such individuals to follow through.
It was challenging and demanding at the time because I was working full time as a mother, wife and was also pregnant but it was rewarding. I studied Clinical Microbiology which allowed an easy transition for me as a registered early career Biomedical scientist to be able to apply the knowledge gained from my studies to clinical diagnostic practice. At times you may want to give up due to the stress involved but know that at the end of your studies, you are equipping yourself to be the best in your profession, applying knowledge based on clinically proven evidence and striving to provide your patients with the best possible care. Furthermore, it is professionally and personally rewarding.
How do you feel the Science world has evolved throughout your career? ( what are some hard truths you have had to face?) Science has evolved greatly since I embarked on my professional journey as a Biomedical scientist. I missed the days where it was back to basics, for someone from a virology background, I had the privilege to do things the old fashioned way… by this I mean the days of cell culture to diagnose respiratory infections, Electron microscopy in diagnosing enteric infections. For viral disease diagnosis, we now have newer technologies and large automation platforms that provide results for the diagnosis of infectious diseases in minutes to hours; aiding in the effective management of viral diseases. The developments in science will continue in the foreseeable future with new researches, discoveries and inventions which inform evidence based practice.
How do maintain or strive for a “good” Work- Life Balance?
Maintaining a work-life balance prevents burnout. So I ensure I live a healthy work-life balance by taking things in its strides and knowing when to take a step back. I really enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and use music as my therapy, I compose gospel songs and love singing. I have a very positive outlook on life. I believe that every experience, positive or negative, is a learning curve, and no experience is ever a waste.
Volunteering is something you do very often, how has this changed your perspective on things and what advice would you give someone wanting to volunteer more?
It is a known fact that mentorship/volunteering is vitally important to the personal and professional development of an individual. As a woman in a STEM career there were a lot of obstacles and having the advice of someone who has already “been there, done that” can vastly improve the ability of those new to or rising up within their fields to stay the course and see that success is possible. There is a deficit of female black mentors during my undergrad years, and even if there were some available, I wasn’t aware of them. Until 2012 when I was doing my Specialist diploma studies in Virology, I went to a lot of conferences and seminars and was opportune to meet a lot of female mentors who have inspired me till date and so I can say that volunteering/networking is indispensable. I would encourage people to keep believing in their abilities, they should volunteer their time and expertise if the opportunity presents itself. They can achieve whatever they put their mind to do, with the right resources /information, positive attitude and perseverance. Don’t be afraid to ask questions even if they sound stupid to you (you can only acquire knowledge when you seek it). Aim high and don’t allow any outdated norms to navigate you off course.
When considering your career path, how much has your potential salary affected your decision? Salary negotiations are a major part of career decisions and I highly recommend it when the opportunity presents itself. However, I have found that the most important factor in my career decision is my passion for what I do and believe in. This is where the satisfaction and joy is derived, salary comes as a bonus and much deserved luxury (I have been in a high paying job before but without the personal and professional satisfaction I craved).
As a mentor with a lot of outreach experience, what advice would you give your younger self ?
I’ll say to young Bami ‘Be yourself and believe in your abilities, strive for excellence, reach for the stars and you might just reach the moon. This has been my motto so much that when difficult situations arise, I have this playing in my head like music and I just persevere regardless of the outcome. It has taught me to always get back up when life throws itself at me; because my success is in rising up above difficulties when knocked down.
Outside science how would you describe yourself?
Easy going, involved in my community, a mother, wife and gospel artist.
Connect with Bami on socials.
Twitter : @bamiprecious