A blog that brings together a community of NHS STP trainees and voices their experiences
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.
It has been such a long time since I wrote a blog here it feels a bit surreal. Thank you to everyone that has kept STP Perspectives alive and thriving. I was hoping this could be published earlier but work and annual leave have significantly delayed it. I am still including the IACC write up tips in case it would be useful insight for second years. If you are just interested in interview tips please skip further down. 🙂
What is the IACC?
The IACC, another STP acronym for your collection, is the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence. It was introduced in 2020 to replace the OSFAs due to the constraints of the pandemic but it may be here to stay. My STP year was the first cohort to sit the IACC as their sole final assessment and I must say it has definitely improved since then. In my final year we got a flavour of the OSFAs as we had our mocks just before all the lockdowns. I am not sure I enjoyed the OSFAs but I was determined to practice and be ready for the real ones. The school came up with this alternative assessment which didn’t need 12 different stations and everyone gathering in London, which might be a bonus for our environment as whole. Since then after passing the IACC and finishing the STP I was also given the opportunity to assess some IACCs so in this post you will get both a perspective from someone who has written it but also assessed it.
Happy New Year everybody! 2020 was an odd and challenging one but if you are reading this you made it through. Pat yourself on the back for it.
I have been meaning to write this for a long time, but I always find myself with a massive list of tasks and it is hard to find time. So, three years of the STP gone, completed. I can brag to have completed it, registered as a Clinical Bioinformatician and hold a permanent Clinical Scientist position at Addenbrookes’s Hospital, but how did I get here and what did I learn?
Dear trainees, training officers and fellow clinical scientists,
After three years of competencies and never ending acronyms, we have finished the STP (hopefully successfully but we shall see). Both of us have successfully interviewed and accepted positions as clinical bioinformaticians in our host departments and will soon be calling ourselves Clinical Scientists. The new title has come with increased responsibility and an exponentially growing amount of work.
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.
Have you heard other STPs and training officers mention electives and not sure what they are? The elective rotation or just elective is a fantastic opportunity to leave your department for 4-6 weeks, go learn something new, experience a different environment and broaden your horizons. This can be anywhere in the world ( might depend on department and your finances) or it can even be down the corridor in a different department. The world is your oyster as they say. Last week I started my elective and decided to share my experience with you. Hopefully, I can give you a weekly roundup of what I’ve learned and some cool pictures of all the new places I visit.
This week, I can officially call myself a third year STP. This calls for celebration, excitement and possibly panic that there’s just a year of training left, a year left for the OneFile progress dial to reach 100% and less than a year till the OSFAs. But what it also calls for, is time for reflection.
It has been a year since this tweet, a year since my little idea with Jes became a reality and we shared STP Perspectives with the world. And what a year this has been. Looking back on it, starting this blog was definitely the right thing to do and here’s why.
I am currently sat in a hotel lobby in Basel, Switzerland, after a cancelled flight on the way back from the ISMB/ECCB 2019 (biggest biannual computational biology conference for you non-bioinformaticians out there). As my second international conference and the second time presenting my research in such an event, I thought I should kill my newly acquired free time by sharing my international experience with you.
Hello there lovely STP friends. I imagine you’re all feeling very stressed about your OSFAs right now, as they loom menacingly on the horizon. If you’re fairly chilled out about them, congratulations! I don’t really have anything else I can offer you in this post, so probably best for you to stop reading and go and spend your time a bit more wisely.
So the wait is over. You finally got an offer for the Scientist Training Programme!
All the hard work has paid off and you are a few months away from joining our very exclusive club of Healthcare Scientists. I bet you are excited, and so are we. Excited to welcome you to our Trusts and help you start your healthcare journey.
Editors note: This post was written for the 2019 application process and might not be accurate for future years.