Starting the STP | Tops Tips

The Scientist Training Programme is an incredibly competitive programme that will challenge you and provide you with a vast amount of knowledge and incredible experiences – you have worked very hard to get here and you should be very proud!

Take a minute just to think about what you’ve achieved already!

You’re about to embark on your new career as a trainee clinical scientist, maybe you’ve never had a full time job before, perhaps you’re new to the NHS, or maybe you’ve just moved roles in the NHS. I’m sure everyone is facing some level of uncertainty with what’s to come and what it looks like to be a trainee on the STP. I have compiled a list of my top tips for how to approach the next few months to help you out!

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A warm goodbye and an exciting hello

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.

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STP Reflections | Coronavirus & STP

My day-dream version of the “perfect 1st year” of the STP is calm, controlled, and organised – just how I like my life to work! *Cue dream sequence music and a way dissolve into my STP fantasy* My OneFile portfolio is at (or even ahead of) the target progression, my Manchester university exams went ahead as normal (and I did amazingly), I’ve finished my first year rotations by the end of the first year and I’ve just returned back to my host department ready to remind everyone who I am and get learning on my specialist rotations. 

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Impostor Syndrome | What is it?

Have you ever been in a situation before where you have doubted your abilities or felt inadequate despite evidence that indicates you are more than capable? 

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Open letter to NSHCS

To sign the letter please visit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mNf2XD9Gctu362M11d-BL6abMamIJQUACAMNDP8tBeo/edit 

Dear Professor Berne Ferry and Professor Dame Sue Hill,

The recent tragic events in the United States and the strength of the Black Lives Matter movement globally and in the UK, have sparked a shared momentum of reflection within ourselves and our society. As many individuals look introspectively during this time, doing the difficult work of acknowledging and unlearning their personal biases and prejudices, we must also take a critical look at the institutional systems we operate within.

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Returning to University | Top Tips

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. 

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Critical reflection | Top tips

The ‘independent assessment of clinical competence’ is a critical reflection of our training experience and how it has prepared us to practice as clinical scientists. Since earlier this week I shared my thought piece on the IACC, I thought it might be more useful to share some tips I’ve gathered from various resources on critical reflection. I am going to tailor this post to applying critical reflection to the IACC, but please note: I don’t have any more information about it than what has been shared by NSHCS! So, when I offer my opinion on what the examiner might be looking for, please don’t take this as gospel; it is just my opinion.

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STP Completion | A trainee reflection

Acronyms. The STP is full of ’em: DOPS, OCES, CBD, NSHCS, OSFA.

IACC.

If you haven’t heard of the IACC by now, have you been living under a rock?! (I wouldn’t blame you to be fair- it’s probably better than everything going on in the world right now). But for those of you who haven’t, the IACC is the ‘independent assessment of clinical competence’ and the official replacement of the 2020 OSFAs. Yes, an essay- but not just an essay- a critical reflection. If you’d have told me 6 months ago that I would be writing an essay instead of facing the OSFAs in July 2020, I would’ve laughed in your face and said something like ‘Yeah, I wish’. But now that I’m really not sitting the OSFAs next month I feel a bit like I’ve had something taken away from me. I’ve got a lot of thoughts about the cancellation, our replacement assessment and the altered STP completion requirements, so bear with me while I apparently work my way through them on a public blog post.

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Dealing with stress and mental health during a global pandemic  

Whether you’re in the final year of the STP trying to complete competencies, the IACC all while applying for clinical scientist jobs after training, or even if you’re just about to go through the STP interview process, mental health is something that can affect everyone. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that mental health affects one in four people worldwide. If trying to battle through a demanding training programme wasn’t enough, we now have to deal with a global pandemic, which is not only affecting how we work but also everyday aspects of our professional and personal lives. Although lockdown restrictions are starting to lift, we’ve been told to adjust to the “new normal” whatever that is supposed to mean. So, considering we need to adjust the way we work in the future, such as working from home more or working a different shift pattern. We all need to take a bit of time to prepare ourselves for this change and make sure we’re looking after our mental wellbeing.

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Organ Donation | Science & Law

On the 20th of May, a big change in the law regarding organ donation in England was implemented. You might not be aware of this change as the majority of the media coverage at the moment is either about the COVID-19 pandemic, protests or politics. As of the 20th of May 2020, all adults within the UK are presumed to be organ donors unless they have opted out under ‘Max and Kiera’s Law’. This ‘opt-out’ system was firstly introduced successfully by Wales in 2015 and they have seen an 18% increase in deceased organ donation.

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