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How to be a good colleague in a biomedical science job

OK, so you make coffee and bring in cakes on your birthday. But there's more to being a good co-worker than that. Here are our top tips for biomedical scientists.

Biomedical science jobs are vital to the effective running of any hospital. While many of the key responsibilities of a biomedical scientist might seem self-contained, it's important to be able to engage positively and productively with colleagues, both in your own and other hospital departments. Here are a few suggestions to ensure you're a successful team player...

See the bigger picture

In a biomedical science position, you may specialise in one of four areas: infection sciences, blood sciences, cellular sciences or genetics and molecular pathology. Whatever your specialisation, it's important to understand your role in the wider scheme of things. Who are the key healthcare professionals you'll be interacting with? What do they need from you and why? How do your activities impact on patient care?

Listen and learn

Biomedical science is constantly evolving. Therefore, sharing ideas and experiences with colleagues is an important part of your continuing professional development.

Know yourself

As a biomedical scientist, you'll naturally have well-developed analytical skills. But have you turned the microscope on yourself lately? If you're aware of your own strengths, weaknesses and motivations, you'll see how others see you. It's the first step to improving your interpersonal skills.

Get connected

Biomedical science jobs require a great deal of focus and there's a danger of becoming solitary and introverted. That's why it's so important to foster good co-worker relationships and build team spirit. Maybe suggest getting together to socialise outside work or organise a communal event, such as a charity challenge?

Live and let live

You may not always agree with your colleagues' views or like some of the things they say or do. However, it's important to keep personal feelings and attitudes out of the workplace, and you should never spread negativity or gossip. You'll probably also feel a particular affinity with one or more of your colleagues, but you shouldn't be partisan or cliquey. Favouritism can make others feel undervalued and encourage rivalries.

Don't be a 'yes' person

It's good to be accommodating, but you won't win the respect of colleagues if you just agree to everything that's asked of you. If you don't think it's appropriate for you to do something, don't be afraid to politely decline.

Be tactful

It's good to be positive and upbeat. But remember, everyone has bad days from time to time and some of your colleagues may not always feel in the mood for jokes or light-hearted banter. Try to be sensitive to the feelings of others and behave accordingly.

Finally, don't try too hard to impress or be liked. Just be yourself. Most people respect sincerity and openness.

Oh, and you should definitely keep making the coffee and bringing in the cakes.
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