The role of trainee representatives in the STP

Sarah Green (3rd-year Clinical Engineering STP, Medical Physics/Clinical Engineering Trainee Representative)

As I’m sure past and present trainees will agree that progression through the STP scheme is not without its difficulties. With 20+ specialisms to cater for, it’s challenging for the NSHCS to balance standardisation and flexibility in the STP design; to ensure quality and satisfy the unique requirements of each specialism. Add into the mix different hospitals, universities, plus the unique personal circumstances of every trainee (and training officer) and you have a range of perceptions and expectations of the work required to complete the training scheme.

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STP Reflections | Genomic Counselling Rotation

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!

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STP Reflections | 8 weeks in MR

Medical physicists face a challenge familiar to all healthcare scientists in that, if you took a random member of the public, and asked if they knew what a medical physicist did, the probability of a yes answer is… small!  My first evidence of this came when I tried to explain to my Mum what I would be doing at Addenbrookes for the next 8 weeks!

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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

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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Top tips for applying to the Genomic Counselling STP

Since the first established Master’s Programme in the UK in 1992, there has been a growing demand for Genetic Counsellors and a growing recognition of the role of genetics in health. To address this, in 2016 the NHS developed the Science Training programme (STP) in Genomic Counselling in partnership with the University of Manchester. When I was looking into applying in that first year of the programme, I found a lot of things were a big unknown in terms of what specifically was required to have a good chance of getting an interview. I couldn’t find many people talking about their experience of applying without reading lengths of conversation on the Student Room.

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Can we make science more approachable?

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.

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CSO conference at a glance

Hello and welcome back to the 3rd post in our healthcare science week series! As I’m sure many of you know, it was the Chief Scientific Officer’s 2019 conference last week. Unfortunately, no one at STP perspectives was able to attend. However, we’ve been lucky enough to receive some feedback about the conference from someone who not only attended, but took part in a panel session as well. This piece, written by Ang Davies, a Senior Lecturer and Programme Director at the University of Manchester, gives an overview of some of the themes of the conference as well as some really valuable learning points that she took away- that I think as trainees we should pay particular attention to!

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