What is the STP?

As there’s a chance that some of you are unfamiliar with the programme we are on, here’s a brief introduction.

The Scientist Training Programme or STP as we call it, is a training programme organised by the National School of Healthcare Science and NHS Health Education England with the aim to train the country’s clinical scientist workforce. At the moment, there are 23 specialisms offered by the programme. The training is undertaken in the span of three years and it consists of 80% on-the-job training and a 20% academic component.

What does that mean for the trainees?

When you get an offer for the STP, it will be specific to one of the hospitals offering training for your chosen specialism. That will be your base hospital where you will spend the majority of your time. In addition to that, you are enrolled in a part-time masters in Clinical Science at one of the participating universities. For example, a lot of specialisms – including ours – attend their course at the University of Manchester. Every year, you spend a couple of weeks at university, followed by a few assignments or exams per module.

The rest of the time, you are based at your host hospital and you train following the School’s curriculum. The first year consists of four rotational components which usually includes the trainee visiting different departments to gain an overall understanding of specialisms closely related to theirs. Years two and three are more specific to your specialism, with your specialist modules. Every module consists of a number of competencies that you need to meet and record in your e-portfolio. Your training will be slightly different from other trainees, as it depends on the available projects and supervisors you have at your host trust. At the end of your training, your e-portfolio is the proof of all the work you have done throughout the whole training programme.

What specialisms are offered?


What happens when you are finished?

You are a fully fledged and registered clinical scientist. You get registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and you can start being an invaluable member of your hospital.

If you want more training and when you are ready, the School offers the Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) Programme, where you will train towards being a Consultant Clinical Scientist. This involves an academic component at a doctorate level and helps you develop your clinical science skills in addition to leadership and professional practice.

In the future, through our blog, we will attempt to give you an insight in the everyday life of an STP trainee, give you descriptions of different specialisms and what the trainees are doing on a daily basis.

If you want to learn more about the programme or thinking of applying, visit the NSHCS website: http://www.nshcs.hee.nhs.uk/

Author: Adriana

I am a Clinical Bioinformatician based at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and a Regional Training Lead for Health Education England. I am all for increasing genomics awareness in and out of healthcare and interested in bioinformatics and genomics and general healthcare science.

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