I ❤️ the NHS, I left the NHS

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. 

I enjoyed the STP, getting good comments on annual reviews & multi-source feedback and having a good relationship with my colleagues. To add to this, I received a local award for my work and a fellowship to present my research at an international conference. A year ago my first choice was working for the NHS (presumably staying on in my training department) but I surprised myself by ending up in a non-clinical role. 

About 6 months before the end of the STP, over ¾ of my cohort had already had a job lined up. I decided to have a chat with my training officer, they told me they wanted to keep me on but that they didn’t control the purse strings. Their advice was that it would be worth looking elsewhere because they hadn’t been able to get the head of my department to commit to creating a post. So I started looking around at jobs that I could apply for without moving away from my partner. After nothing came up clinically I cast my net wider and found a non-clinical job that I was suited to. While applying for it, I was pleasantly surprised by how much growth the role offered and that it tied in well to the skills that I had picked up during the STP. Within 3 weeks of applying, I had been interviewed and had a job offer! With the benefit of hindsight, I would have talked to my department about whether I should take the role, but instead, I just accepted it. 

Upon reflection, I think that my new role will teach me a lot more relevant skills than I would pick up in the NHS. There’s the downside that my new job pays less than a Band 7, and that the NHS has paid something in the region of £100,000 for my training. After a year or two, I will reassess my position and see if I want to apply for a clinical role. 

My takeaways are:

  • Training departments should not be surprised when a trainee finishes their training and should not expect trainees to hang around if they don’t offer them a job. 
  • If you’re not being offered a job by your department, talk to your supervisor but don’t hang around if there’s nothing concrete. 
  • The STP does give you a lot of skills applicable outside of clinical science. 

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