Before starting the STP, I was warned of the challenges that I would face: balancing university deadlines with workplace competencies and learning new clinical skills alongside settling into a new team of colleagues. But nothing could have prepared me for the challenges that I have been through, seemingly for having an introverted personality.
The NSHCS has a duty to better support their students and address the additional challenges often faced by those from diverse backgrounds
This post is the experience of the author
I remember when I received the email saying I’d been accepted onto the STP – I nearly screamed right there in the middle of the train carriage. I thought I’d flopped the whole application after those dreaded arithmetic and logic tests…but I got through to interview stage…and I couldn’t believe I’d actually been offered only one of five positions for direct entry Neurophysiology in the country!
It was around 10 years ago now that I joined the STP in medical physics. It was a very interesting time: for me as it was my first full-time job and in a field I’d wanted to work in since I’d heard about it; and also for the healthcare science community. The STP was brand new; this was the first year it had run in most specialisms.
Neurophysiology is a branch of neuroscience and physiology that is interested in studying the function of the nervous system through the use of electrophysiological recordings. Within the NHS, Neurophysiological Scientists perform a range of diagnostic tests to assess the functioning and integrity of the brain and nervous system. The most commonly performed tests are Electroencephalography (EEG), Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS), Evoked-Potentials (EPs) and Electromyography (EMG). These tests are performed on patients of all ages and are performed in a range of clinical settings including outpatient, intensive care, wards, and during surgical interventions.
Problems occur in every area of life and workplaces are no exception. In my career, I’ve had to deal with several different problems at work: from unrealistic expectations and demands from management; bullying; lack of (or poor!) project management; lack of delegation or being set unclear goals. Knowing how to deal with work-related problems effectively and professionally is an essential skill, which will improve job satisfaction, increase personal happiness and ultimately help you to become a more productive and effective employee.
I have developed a strategy for dealing with problems at work; these steps have been applicable to most of the problems I’ve faced at work and will hopefully help the reader to deal with their own problems effectively. I will start by breaking down the steps to take when facing a generic problem and close with an example describing how to deal with training plan issues.
When I was applying for the scientist training programme, I knew that I wanted to work in healthcare and the areas of clinical science that interested me but other than that, it’s safe to say that I was pretty lost. So when I stumbled upon critical care science, I was very intrigued. I did as much research as I could into the specialism and luckily it seemed like something that would really interest me, so I applied for the STP, and here we are now!
When doing my research, I did however notice that there was a clear lack of information available on critical care scientists and their role in the clinical setting. So, with the experience that I now have, this is something that I would like to try and change to encourage more people into the critical care scientist role.
Elation. That was the prevailing emotion that overwhelmed me on 22nd May 2018 at 09:23. The email read: “We are pleased to offer you the following programme: Scientist Training Programme, Cardiac Science”.
Truthfully, I never thought I’d get onto the Scientist Training Programme.
It was for people who had PhDs, Masters, or loads of experience in the specialism. It was the stuff of legend, where only the most knowledgeable and pioneering young scientists of our generation would be granted a place. The competition ratios were terrifyingly high. The Student Room threads were filled with individuals applying for the third, fourth, fifth time.
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.