When I began writing this blog post I was thinking back to July 2018, I had accepted my place on the STP in Genomics at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Then I received an email from my training officer asking me what rotations I would like to choose for my first year. My first thought was ‘Wow this is really real, I’m actually going to be on the STP?!’, before panicking about how I was supposed to decide on the departments I would like to spend my rotations in this early on!
Think of the following scenario. You are in the pub, having a drink and meet some new people. The first thing they ask is, “So, what do you do?”. What do you reply to this? How do you put words together that would make sense to the person in front of you? I usually have a mild panic trying to assess the level of biological understanding of the person in front of me and lead with “I am training to be a clinical scientist, at the genetics laboratory in our hospital”. I then wait to see if they ask follow-up questions or are just satisfied with moving on to pub talk.
Let’s start at the beginning; what is infertility?
Infertility means not being able to conceive a child. Many people face problems with conception, this can be attributed to a number of contributing factors, but not all can be diagnosed. In 25-30% of cases a cause cannot be identified even after the most thorough investigations. This is due to the fact that some of the factors cannot be assessed. Common causes of infertility include problems with ovulation (whereby the body does not release eggs naturally), issues with the tubes, or for male partners this would include problems with the quality or ability of the sperm. For these issues there is a range of treatments that are offered through the assisted reproductive pathway.
So you want to apply for the STP 2019 intake? Read on to hear our top tips for making that application stand out. These tips are tailored purely for the written application and we will do another post later on to tackle the interview process.
Editors note: These tips were valid for the 2019 application process and might not be accurate for future years.
If you’re not sure about the process for the application there are basically 2 parts:
– Aptitude tests: Mathematical and logical reasoning.
– Personal Information and short written answers to 4 questions.
On the 21st-22nd September, at a swanky venue in the centre of London’s financial district, AI and deep learning experts gathered to network and share their research and developments in the field. My colleague, Adriana, and I were lucky enough to win tickets from One HealthTech to attend this event.
Last year I attended the Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education (MAHSE) research day, where STP trainees and other speakers gave various talks and presentations. It was a very useful day, learning about other trainee’s research projects and receiving lots of useful advice. One of the keynote speakers, Dr Elaine Cloutman-Green, gave a great talk detailing her journey to becoming a clinical scientist and beyond. One point that particularly stuck with me was “Step out of your box” and the idea of saying “YES” to any opportunities that may come your way, no matter how much out of your ‘box’ they are. As a previous genetic technologist and current trainee bioinformatician, I consider myself firmly in the ‘science’ box. It’s nice and comfy, and feels pretty safe…
Every year TEDxNHS is over-subscribed. You fill out a form on their website with a statement of intent and you send it off expecting never to hear back. A few weeks ago, this TED super-fan was lucky enough to attend TEDxNHS 2018 ‘Shaping our legacy’. If morale is ever low or you question why we do what we do, I would prescribe these talks. Special mention to Dr. Charlotte Kemp for being the first Healthcare Scientist to grace this TEDx stage. NHS staff will soon be able to access the videos at https://www.tedxnhs.com/ but in the meantime, here are 5 of my take-home messages from the event:
1. “Stigma kills”
The beliefs we hold as a society can unfairly disgrace and devalue those within it. We all know stigma has no place in healthcare and the following talks showed the steps we can all take towards a zero-stigma NHS.