Discover more about BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Physiological Sciences)
"This degree program is not only intellectually stimulating but it allows opportunities of real life clinical exposure and provides a lot of patient interaction. This allows me to combine my social skills with my love of science."
Ali Wong, BSc Healthcare Science student

The Modernising Scientific careers agenda underpins the initiation of the Practitioner Training Programme providing highly skilled and qualified professionals for modern and future clinical diagnostics in biomedicine. You will undergo training as part of the National Academy of Healthcare Sciences. Upon graduation from this accredited programme you'll  be eligible to apply for entry onto the highly sought after Scientific Training Programme (masters level) or NHS employment as Healthcare Science Practitioners in Cardiac Physiology or Respiratory and Sleep Physiology. 

Physiological scientists 

Physiological scientists investigate the functioning of body systems to diagnose abnormalities, providing key scientific and technological roles in the prevention, diagnosis and monitoring of disease. Using specialist equipment, advanced technologies and a range of different procedures in the course of their work, physiological scientists provide therapeutic intervention and long-term patient management and care. 

Clinical physiologists

Clinical physiologists work closely with patients, to monitor heart and lung function in patients with chronic diseases. We focus on understanding the medicine underpinning human health, and the development of processes that result in different disease states. There is a key emphasis on the clinical pathology and diagnosis of human disease, and available treatment strategies. Clinical physiologists are key members of multi-disciplinary NHS clinical teams, working to inform and support cardiologists, doctors, nurses, cardiac surgeons, clinical perfusionists, anaesthetists, and operating theatre practitioners, to deliver diagnoses, treatment and patient centred care.

As a clinical physiologist working in cardiac sciences, you will undertake crucial diagnostic, monitoring and analytical procedures in patients ranging from babies to the elderly that have known or suspected cardiac disease. Cardiac physiologists have a lot of direct patient contact, and will often work as part of a large team providing care to patients. 

You will be responsible for carrying out a range of tests to assess cardiac function: 

  • electrocardiography (ECG)
  • exercise Stress testing
  • pacemaker implantation, management and follow-up
  • cardiac catheterisation procedures
  • echocardiography
  • electrophysiological studies.   

Respiratory physiologists 

Respiratory physiologists work with patients that have lung, chest wall, airway or blood oxygenation problems, such as asthma, emphysema, respiratory muscle disease and pulmonary vascular disorders. Their role is to identify the type of and severity of the disorder and to monitor response of the patient to treatment. They work with patients, performing a variety of tests that require considerable encouragement, technical accuracy and skills, as well as a dedicated and caring approach. 

The range of tests that you would perform include:

  • spirometry
  • full cardio-pulmonary exercise testing
  • sleep studies
  • bronchial challenge testing
  • measurements of dynamic and static lung volumes
  • full body plethysmography . 

You may also be involved in performing respiratory gas exchange studies, muscle function studies, blood gas analysis, and monitoring responses to treatment, allergy testing and physiological response to exercise.  As a cardiac or respiratory physiologist you will be responsible for ensuring that safe, accurate, reliable and repeatable results are produced, which is vital for ensuring the quality of life for your patients.

Our integrated healthcare science (HCS) degrees 

Our integrated healthcare science (HCS) degrees are the principal education and training route for Healthcare Science Practitioners (HCSP) in England and are delivered through a collaborative partnership between Plymouth University and NHS laboratories, which will provide work placement training in each of the three years of the course. 

Our degrees focus on the pathobiology of normal and disease processes and you'll gain expertise from specialist tutors and NHS workplace educators to allow merit in professional competencies required within modern and future healthcare practice. 

What you will get

First year introduces foundation knowledge and integrates rotational placement within core disciplines. You will specialise within year two, gaining knowledge in applied, complex and advanced investigations and apply your learning to a research project in year three. You will benefit from continual professional clinical training placements in the NHS throughout the three years of the programme and have an opportunity to complete professional certificates in ECG or spirometry at year two.

You'll gain:

  • professionalism
  • specialist skills
  • knowledge of the ‘patient pathway’ 
  • and impact to patients and carers associated with your chosen discipline.

For work in clinical physiology we offer the following degrees accredited by the NHS and National School of Healthcare Science:

BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Individual awards subject to availability of NHS training places)

  • Cardiac Physiology – To work in clinical cardiac physiology
  • Respiratory and Sleep Physiology – To work in clinical respiratory and sleep physiology

Additional information