This post is my personal account of having a long term health condition, which was in the process of being diagnosed during my application to the Scientist Training Program (STP). Lots of the information in it will be relevant to many long term health conditions and disabilities, but it is not intended to cover all aspects of either. I do not consider my condition to be a disability, but others who have it do.
It also includes information on what the National School of Healthcare Scientists (NSHCS), your Trust, and you can do to support yourself if you have a long term health condition and are or are considering becoming a trainee on the STP.
I am really keen to empower people to take as much of an active role in their own health care as they can. What I hope is that this post will be reassuring, supportive and informative for those with long term health conditions and to those who want a bit more information. Everyone’s experience is unique.
For this blog post I interviewed Nuthar Jassam who is a Consultant Clinical Biochemist and Clinical Lead for Blood Sciences at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust. She studied on both the old and new Higher specialist Scientists Training (HSST) programme (Doctorate equivalent of the STP). We spoke about her day to day job, the HSST, courses she’s found helpful and what she thinks her most important attributes are.
So Nuthar, what are you working on at the moment?
I’m looking at the longitudinal antibody response to Covid-19 in patients with mild infection. The first phase, which was evaluating one of the techniques used in the longitudinal study has just been published and can be found here.
The National School of Healthcare Scientist (NSHCS) have announced that applications for this year’s STP will be opening on January 25th 2021! Jes wrote a fabulous blog of top tips, so we’ve edited these for 2021. The application process is also different to previous years and you can find a section below about what’s changed.
What’s it like returning to university for the STP?
The STP is a blended program of academic study towards an MSc Clinical Sciences and hands on work, designed to teach you the theory behind your job and how to do it at the same time, as well as developing you into a well rounded clinical scientist.
One of my favourite things about the STP is the huge range of backgrounds people have. With regards to university some STPs will come from undergraduate study, others will come from PhDs and some will come after being away from formal education for a long time. As individuals, some come with families, others with long term health problems, others move cross country to study on the STP, but what everyone brings is their unique experience and knowledge. This creates quite a mix of people with different skills, commitments and fears about undertaking postgraduate study at university.