Reflections from a rainy Manchester University (many of you will grow to love this!)

As many new trainees will have just completed or shortly be starting their first stint at their respective universities, Ang Davies, a senior lecturer on the clinical bioinformatics teaching pathway, takes a look at that pathway and how clinical bioinformatics as a profession has developed over the past 7 years. From the first year of training where the entire profession was practically founded, to the breakthrough that is routine genomic testing across England, who better to reflect on that journey than someone who helped pave the way?

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STP reflections | Public engagement

Over the past 2 years on the STP and past 2 weeks particularly, I’ve done lots of outreach and engagement activities with students/parent/teachers from all sorts of backgrounds. On June 25th I attended the South West Big Bang Fair, July 1st I attended a talk on encouraging young scientists to join the profession at the South West HCS conference and 3rd July I gave a talk at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust work observation week about careers in healthcare science.

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International conference checklist

International conferences are exciting, interesting and educational platforms for sharing the latest scientific developments in your field. The chances are, every specialism of healthcare science will have a European society representing the field and ergo, an annual conference occurring in (hopefully) some far-flung corner of the continent. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the European Society of Human Genetics annual conference this year in Gothenburg, Sweden. As my first international conference, I went in with very few expectations and learnt a lot- both in science and about the logistics and experience of attending a conference abroad. So, for this weeks’ post, I thought I could share some of the things I learned and things I might do differently next time.

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Big bang @ Weston

One of the great things about the STP is the opportunity to take part in public engagement and STEM activities. One of the highlights of the year is when “Big Bang” season comes around. For those of you who don’t know, the Big Bang Fairs happen across the country and are an opportunity for students and the public to find out about all the different careers in STEM industries. They aim to be really interactive and hands-on and are an amazing opportunity to promote healthcare science to young people, parents and teachers. Recently, Exeter-based genomic counselling trainee, Harriet Copeland, organised a South West contingent of trainees to attend the Big Bang Fair in Weston-Super-Mare, and below is her account of what they got up to. If anyone else has any stories from a Big Bang fair they’ve attended please get in touch!

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Thoughts on the OSFAs

The South West healthcare science trainee network (SWHCSTN, for short- rolls off the tongue right?) held a OSFA workshop last month. As the OSFAs are imminently approaching for 3rd years (sorry- not that you need reminding), I thought I would put pen to paper and share some thoughts from the day. I am a second year, I haven’t sat the mock OSFAs and I also do not have a secret source from the school letting me in on any trade secrets, unfortunately. What I’m offering is some reflections from the day and just in general from speaking to people who’ve taken the OSFAs and lived to tell the tale.

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The Topol Review

The Topol review was a piece of work commissioned to Eric Topol by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care at the time, Jeremy Hunt. The intention was for it to be a review of how the changing technology landscape now and in the future is going to shape healthcare and how the NHS needs to respond in order to keep up, and be able to thrive from those advances.

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STP interviews | Preparation

Editors note: This post was valid for the 2019 application process and might not be accurate for future years.

I cannot stress enough how important preparation for these interviews is. Everyone talks about how competitive the STP is, so if you want to be in with a chance of getting one of those coveted places, then preparation is key. The National School has some pretty good resources that cover the format of the STP interviews, but I know what you really want to know is “what the hell are they gonna ask me?!”. And I bet your google searches are coming up blank- I know this because I was there 2 years ago; frantically scanning the internet to find any hint or example of the questions I might face in any of the 4 stations. Well, I’ve heard that the questions asked at the interviews are pretty similar year on year so specifics are kept notoriously hush hush. I’m sorry to tell you that I’m not about to change that. Mostly because 50% of the interview is specialism specific so I wouldn’t even have a clue for anything other than bioinformatics. But – before you stop reading and vow never to visit this blog again – what I will do is give you some tips on what I think are the best ways to prepare for each station that I hope will help.

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