Do you ever have a sudden realisation that scares you and stresses you out? For example, the other day I realised that the OSFAs are eight months away, EIGHT months (sorry third years, they are approaching fast). The STP is an intense programme and although a lot of things are stressful and tiring we need to understand where to draw the line to not overdo it. It was Stress Awareness Week when I started writing and as a fellow overthinker, I thought I could share my tips of trying to overcome stress and when/how to ask for help. Workload and time constraints have reduced my free time and motivation to sit down and write though so I do apologise for the recent lack of posts.
The good start I was hoping for on Monday morning didn’t quite come into fruition. But, it wasn’t a total disaster. The job hadn’t failed or been killed, it just hadn’t finished running yet. Which was fine… except I wasn’t sure exactly how long things were allowed to run until they were killed by the job scheduler. I’d heard ~2 and a half days, and as the clock approached almost 3 days of run time I started to get very nervous, especially since the log files were indicating that the jobs were only about 65% complete (turns out it took 5 days but it was allowed to continue running so I’m taking that as a win).
Today the Academy for Healthcare Science emailed my STP certificate of attainment, the only step remaining is registration with the HCPC and I will be able to call myself a clinical scientist.
When I say that coming in on Monday morning to find that all 12 of the jobs I left running over the weekend had executed perfectly brought equal amounts of surprise, joy and relief, you may think “you should have more confidence in your abilities”. But I think most bioinformaticians will know the suspense of checking the log files for a job that has been running for 20+ hours and not wanting to get our hopes up too high- just in case. But of course, there was no time to linger on that success as it was only the first stage of a multistep pipeline.
Throughout your 3 years on the STP you will undoubtedly see and hear about many professional bodies or societies related to your specialism who are eager for you to sign up and can seemingly do little more than take hard-earned money out of your wallet.Continue reading “Should you join a professional society?”
Ischaemic heart disease is the number one global cause of death and has been for over 20 years (World Health Organisation, 2018) with 7.4 million people living with cardiovascular diseases in the UK (British Heart Foundation, 2019). This places a huge demand on the NHS with a financial burden of an estimated 7.4 billion per year spent on cardiovascular disease-related healthcare costs in England alone (Public Health England, 2019). Cardiac Science is a growing field with 541 applicants in 2018 and 35 direct entry posts. As a Cardiac Science STP trainee, I am based in the Cardiac Investigations Department but we work in many different arms of cardiology including the Outpatients Department, the Cardiology Wards, and the Catheter/Pacing Labs.
The Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, Sydney, Australia. This is where I’m lucky enough to be doing my elective placement for 6 weeks as part of the STP. The Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics (KCCG) is part of the Garvan Institute, a prestigious medical research facility, and as the name suggests- specialises in Genomics diagnostics and research.Continue reading “The Elective Perspective | Jes | Part 1”
As many new trainees will have just completed or shortly be starting their first stint at their respective universities, Ang Davies, a senior lecturer on the clinical bioinformatics teaching pathway, takes a look at that pathway and how clinical bioinformatics as a profession has developed over the past 7 years. From the first year of training where the entire profession was practically founded, to the breakthrough that is routine genomic testing across England, who better to reflect on that journey than someone who helped pave the way?
First things first, if you are going to take on the wonderful world of clinical microbiology as an STP, you need to be okay with things that smell. Sometimes they smell nice, certain species of Streptococcus smell like caramel; sometimes not so nice, I dread opening the fridge at work where we store all our C. difficile culture plates. If you can get past the smell, you’ve jumped the first hurdle of microbiology! Well done!
So other than invest in a lot of clothes pegs and Vicks vapour rub, what do I do as a Clinical Microbiology trainee?
When people ask me what I do, I always need to take a little time to think. Partly because STP is a mix of so many varied experiences that every week is different to the previous one, and partly because my own understanding of my specialism keeps evolving as I move through these experiences. When I first applied for this course, I thought I had a reasonable understanding of what cancer genomics was. But now I see how naive I was and that three years is not anywhere near enough time to fully comprehend this very diverse and quickly developing area of science. So summarising it all in a few paragraphs will be a challenge but… let’s give it a go!