What is Neurophysiology?
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.
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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.
Continue reading “A Day In The Life Of A Trainee Critical Care Scientist”
Hi everyone, my name is Alix, or you might me know as @happyhistologist. I am a HCPC registered Biomedical Scientist and second year STP trainee specialising in Histopathology. But what actually is histopathology?! Breaking down the word into two smaller words can help to understand its true meaning. ‘Histo’ means tissue and ‘pathology‘ is the investigation of disease, therefore histopathology is the investigation of disease in tissue.
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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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Ischaemic heart disease is the number one global cause of death and has been for over 20 years (World Health Organisation, 2018) with 7.4 million people living with cardiovascular diseases in the UK (British Heart Foundation, 2019). This places a huge demand on the NHS with a financial burden of an estimated 7.4 billion per year spent on cardiovascular disease-related healthcare costs in England alone (Public Health England, 2019). Cardiac Science is a growing field with 541 applicants in 2018 and 35 direct entry posts. As a Cardiac Science STP trainee, I am based in the Cardiac Investigations Department but we work in many different arms of cardiology including the Outpatients Department, the Cardiology Wards, and the Catheter/Pacing Labs.
First things first, if you are going to take on the wonderful world of clinical microbiology as an STP, you need to be okay with things that smell. Sometimes they smell nice, certain species of Streptococcus smell like caramel; sometimes not so nice, I dread opening the fridge at work where we store all our C. difficile culture plates. If you can get past the smell, you’ve jumped the first hurdle of microbiology! Well done!
So other than invest in a lot of clothes pegs and Vicks vapour rub, what do I do as a Clinical Microbiology trainee?
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When people ask me what I do, I always need to take a little time to think. Partly because STP is a mix of so many varied experiences that every week is different to the previous one, and partly because my own understanding of my specialism keeps evolving as I move through these experiences. When I first applied for this course, I thought I had a reasonable understanding of what cancer genomics was. But now I see how naive I was and that three years is not anywhere near enough time to fully comprehend this very diverse and quickly developing area of science. So summarising it all in a few paragraphs will be a challenge but… let’s give it a go!
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Haematology – something to do with blood.
When I tell people that I am training to become a clinical scientist in haematology and transfusion science, the reply I often get is; ‘Haematology – that’s something to do with blood, right?’
Well, to put it simply; haematology is the medical speciality responsible for the diagnosis and management of a wide range of benign and malignant disorders of the blood and bone marrow (the spongy interior of bone where blood cells are made). So yes, you could say that haematology is something to do with blood…
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What is Health Informatics?
Health Informatics falls within the remit of clinical bioinformatics. This specialism, however, can sometimes seem difficult to differentiate from physical science and bioinformatics. The reality is there is a lot of overlap between these programs. Where Physical Science focuses on the effective acquisition of healthcare data, and Bioinformatics focuses on the use of genomic data to inform on the best treatment options, Health Informatics considers how to capture, communicate and use data to support health care professionals.
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Critical Care Science in the Wider Context
Critical Care Science (CCS) is one of the smaller STP specialisms but deals with one of the most complex patient populations. Critical care patients range from elective cardiac surgery patients to major trauma and acute/chronic medical conditions. Critical care refers to specialised care for patients with life-threatening conditions; typically compromising of one or more organs that are failing. This level of care may be delivered in A+E, Intensive Care, High Dependency or specialist wards, e.g. long term ventilation. While a lot of the STP specialisms focus on a particular organ system or on a particular grouping of investigative techniques, the skills of CCS cover a holistic approach to clinical care, incorporating all areas of medicine and technology.
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