Haematologists diagnose and treat patients with blood and bone marrow disorders.
Haematology is an intensive but exciting specialty with both clinical and laboratory practice. It’s a field that is rapidly changing, with great research successes seen in front-line medicine.
Life as a haematologist
You’ll have a dual role as a haematologist and take an active part in every stage of a patient’s care - from their initial clinic visit, to diagnosis through laboratory assessment, and treatment and follow-up. The holistic nature of your role will be a highlight of your work, and you will build relationships with patients of all ages and from diverse backgrounds with a range of haematology presentations and conditions.
Typically, your role will include:
- delivering clinical care, often for life-threatening disease
- formulating chemotherapy protocols and managing their delivery
- managing haematopoietic stem cell transplantation procedures
- providing advice on haematology laboratory results
- sampling the bone marrow through biopsies and interpreting the morphology under a microscope
- performing lumbar punctures and giving intra-thecal chemotherapy
- potential research commitments
Importantly, you’ll be part of a multi-disciplinary team that provides care to patients with haematological conditions. The rest of the team will includes clinical nurse specialists, pharmacists, research nurses, dieticians, and biomedical, and clinical scientists.
You will also provide an advisory and consultancy service to GPs and other hospital specialists, including surgeons and intensive care and emergency doctors. This liaison work, along with assistance in the clinical interpretation of laboratory data, can be very satisfying.
How much can I earn?
How about the benefits?
- make a difference
- flexible and part-time working
- high income early in your career
- work anywhere in the world
- excellent pension scheme
- good holiday entitlement
- NHS discounts in shops and restaurants
- excellent communication skills to manage a wide range of relationships with colleagues, patients, and their families
- emotional resilience, a calm temperament, and the ability to work well under pressure
- teamwork and the capacity to lead multidisciplinary teams
- problem-solving and diagnostic skills
- outstanding organisational ability and effective decision-making skills
- first-class time and resource management for the benefit of patients
Your first step is medical school. Typically, you’ll need excellent GCSEs and three A or A* passes at A level including chemistry for a five-year undergraduate degree in medicine. Many medical schools also ask for biology and others may require maths or physics.
"I love my job. It’s really interesting as it’s a dual role. We not only provide clinical care but are also involved in diagnosis. We’re part of the whole patient journey from admission, diagnosis, treatment and holistic care of the patient."
Read Thinzar's story.
What are my chances of starting a career as a haematologist?
How to become a haematologist
Where a career as a haematologist can take you
You will have the opportunity to develop special interests in a wide variety of clinical and laboratory areas. Most haematologists have competences in one or more sub-specialties within the discipline, including:
- haemato-oncology (acute and chronic leukaemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma)
- haemostasis/thrombosis (congenital and acquired disorders of haemostasis and blood coagulation and management of antithrombotic therapies)
- disorders of blood production and destruction (including bone marrow failure, anaemias, and autoimmune blood diseases)
- transfusion medicine
- paediatric haematology
You’ll also have the chance to teach medical students and trainees and many haematologists also undertake research.
Find a vacancy
These organisations have further information about being a haematologist, particularly as your career progresses. Take a look.
British Society for Haematology
Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board
The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland
And hear from Dr Tim Littlewood who already works as a haematologist.