Working life (haematology)

This page provides useful information on the working week as well as any on-call and other commitments, along with information on who you will work with. The attractions and challenges of the job are also in this section.

Haematologists divide their time between the ward, outpatient clinic and the laboratory. There has been an increasing emphasis on direct patient care over recent years but this is underpinned by specialist knowledge and experience of laboratory haematology.

Clinical care is delivered in both inpatient and outpatient environments, and the haematologist frequently visits other specialty areas including high dependency and intensive care units, for example.

Haematology is a multi-professional specialty. Regular multidisciplinary clinical meetings are the norm. Because diseases of any of the systems may impact on the blood and bone marrow, haematologists work closely with the full range of specialists and GPs.

In the laboratory environment, haematologists work closely with diagnostic laboratory scientists and biomedical scientists as well as with clinicians in other pathology disciplines.

The number of patients seen each day varies depending on the location. Outpatient clinics typically include new referrals and follow-up patients. A large number of conditions managed by haematologists require long-term follow up in the specialty clinic, for example, those with haematological malignancies, congenital bleeding disorders and haemoglobinopathies (genetic defect in haemoglobin).

Following training, haematologists are expected to regularly work unsocial hours, as many in-patients have critical illness demanding specialist care and laboratory services must be available on a 24 hours, seven days a week basis.

The EU Working Time Directive limits the working week to 48 hours. It is also possible to work part-time once you are consultant, or to train on a less than full-time basis.

  • Who do haematologists work with?

    Haematologists work as part of large multidisciplinary teams.

    They work with:

    • biomedical scientists
    • GPs
    • medical microbiologists and virologists
    • infectious disease specialists
    • intensive care specialists
    • orthopaedic surgeons
    • palliative care specialists
    • renal medicine specialists
    • secretaries and administrative staff
  • A key attraction is the requirement for a holistic approach to diagnosis and management through the development of expertise in both diagnostic laboratory and clinical medicine. The specialty provides an excellent forum for interacting with other professionals both within the hospital and the wider healthcare community. Haematology offers a varied, challenging and stimulating career.

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