Published on 10 February 2021
When Estefany Davies told her school head of year she wanted to become a biomedical scientist, the response was that she needed to be more realistic.
But 10 years on, and that dream is about to become a reality as she completes the requirements for registration with the Health and Care Professionals Council.
It will be the culmination of a life-long ambition for Estefany, first sparked when she was a young child in Bolivia.
She said: “I remember there was an earthquake and my family and I wanted to help so we went to the town where it happened.
“There were people who had lost their homes, and there were no healthcare facilities.
“It really impacted me and I knew from then I wanted to work in healthcare.”
Estefany and her parents moved to London when she was five, and her family instilled in her the value of a good education.
She admits she wasn’t always the best student, and had to work hard for her grades, but with diligence and determination she won a place in Brighton University to study biomedical science.
After graduating, she moved to Dover and worked on the ferries while applying for jobs and studying for a Masters degree.
Then she won a role as an assistant healthcare scientist, and joined the team in the Biochemistry lab at the William Harvey Hospital.
She said: “I feel so lucky to be working with the team. They are so knowledgeable and experienced, they are always willing to help and share their knowledge. Everyone is so lovely; we all work together as one big family.
“Our work is behind the scenes and although it’s not direct face-to-face patient care it’s still important – we process the samples that can give clinicians a diagnosis so they can start treatment.
“Behind every sample tube is a patient, and we treat them all equally, whether we are testing for diabetes, Covid or cancer, every patient matters."
In her current role, Estefany helps prepare and process samples, and perform maintenance on the analysers to ensure results are available efficiently.
Once she has completed her registration, she will be able to validate the results. She doesn’t intend to stop there – she hopes to one day complete her Specialist in Biochemistry.
She said: “I never pictured myself in an office job. I like to be on my feet, and the lab is super dynamic so I'm always learning and challenging myself.
“There is never a boring day, and it never feels like work, I absolutely love my job. Science is constantly evolving so there is always something new to learn.”
Biomedical scientists are more than just colleagues to Estefany – they also helped to save her father’s life after he suffered chronic heart failure.
Thanks to tests and investigations carried out in laboratories across the country, medics were able to identify the cause; Chagas Disease - a rare condition caused by a bite from a parasite.
Estefany said: “If it wasn’t for biomedical scientists we might never have known what was wrong with him.
“Without scientists processing the samples, the clinicians would be guessing. Every day I go into work, I know I am making a difference, but my dad’s experience really demonstrated the value of the work we do.
“I am so grateful to the Trust and the team for giving me the opportunity to develop myself and to work with such fantastic people.
“I feel really blessed to be living in a country where science is very evolved, and for all the opportunities I've been given here. I am also thankful to my parents for all they did to make sure I could have a better life.
“I think working in this field means I can give back to society through the care of our patients, which makes me feel great.”
Estefany is sharing her story to mark Women in Science day, and hopes to inspire others to follow in her footsteps.
She said: “This is a land of opportunities and with hard work and determination you can achieve anything you want to - just believe in yourself!
“I come from a culture where it's believed women should be in the kitchen, but society has changed so much for the better and I really believe the opportunities are now equal. I must admit though, it is very empowering to be a woman with a career in science.
“If I can achieve this, anyone can – nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’. That’s always been my mantra and it’s what I truly believe.”