Healthcare Science Week 2019

It’s healthcare science week 2019! A celebration of all the amazing work healthcare scientists do throughout the year to improve patient care and outcomes. For healthcare science week this year, I was appointed by our lead healthcare scientist to coordinate the activities of the trust to celebrate the week. This appointment came through being the trainee representative in the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust healthcare science network. The network was created with the aim of establishing a corporate profile for healthcare science, to represent the workforce with one voice and facilitate celebration, innovation, collaboration and communication across specialisms.

At first, the challenge to coordinate activities across such a diverse range of departments was just another thing on my to-do list that I honestly could’ve done without. However, looking back, I’m very pleased I did it – as it gave me a fantastic opportunity to communicate and collaborate with colleagues at many levels across the hospital, to put something together to really engage with patients and the public about healthcare science- which as you hopefully know by now, is something I’m very passionate about!

I had several ideas for what we could do for HCS week 2019, mainly focused around a social media campaign, a visit to the local college and a stand with some posters in the main entrance of the hospital:

But, the pièce de résistance would be a video.

  • The concept: short clips, pieced together, of scientists at the RD&E from a myriad of specialisms giving a brief overview of their job and what that means for patients.
  • The goal: to showcase the important work that healthcare scientists do that so many people don’t realise.
  • The problem: who are these scientists and how do I get hold of them? Once I’ve got hold of them, how do I convince them to agree to be a part of my project?

The first step I took was recruitment; I wouldn’t be able to do this alone. I reached out to a fellow Exeter trainee, Harriet Copeland, to help me; I knew her enthusiasm and events planning experience would be invaluable in coordinating something like this (and I was absolutely right). Fortunately, being a part of the HCS network I had access to a distribution list for the head of HCS departments across the hospital. Between Harriet and me, we contacted them individually either by email, phone or in person, and asked if they or a member of their team would be willing to be a part of our video.

It was slow going at first- after all, giving up your time when there’s no perceived benefit to you isn’t particularly appealing. However, what we found was that when we explained the concept, and why we were doing this, people really did get on board and were more than happy to help us out.

We ended up visiting 8 different departments to do some filming and it quickly became apparent that all the scientists we were lucky enough to speak to were incredibly passionate about the care they provided to patients and extremely knowledgeable about their fields. We actually learnt a lot about each healthcare science department that we visited and so our mantra kind of became “If we don’t know what other healthcare scientists do, how on earth can we expect the public to?”. This was a massive driving force for us to put 100% into creating the best video we could, and do everyone we filmed justice.

After filming was done, we were very lucky to have contact with a phenomenally talented audio technologist at the University West of England, Lukas Greiwe, who was absolutely instrumental in putting the footage together, cleaning up the audio and even composed an original piece specifically for the video. I am so pleased with how the video turned out, and I hope you enjoy it too! So without further ado:

What do Healthcare Scientists do for you?

I just want to say a huge thank you to all the scientists who agreed to be filmed, the healthcare science network who supported this project and of course to Harriet and Lukas, whom without, this absolutely would not have been possible.

Author: Jes

I am a trainee clinical bioinformatician working at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. I am passionate about increasing awareness and discussion about healthcare science and particularly the routes into the field.

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