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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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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The Cancer Genomics pathway represents the evolution of what the STP forbearers might have referred to as Molecular Pathology, and I love it.
You had me at ‘genomics’, tell me more!
Continue reading “Tomorrow’s genome, today.”
What is Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (H&I)?
That’s a question I’m only just getting to grips with, having started my training last September. On the most basic level, it’s easiest to say that it’s matching people for transplants, and although that is the majority of the work that scientists in this specialism do, they also use their skills to support clinicians in other areas of patient care. The STP is one of the main training routes for clinical scientists in this field, so if you’re considering H&I, then the STP is one of the best ways to get into it.
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Audiology is a rapidly developing field and approximately 16% of the UK population has hearing loss, which indicates the importance of Audiology within the NHS. As an Audiology STP trainee, I work in the hospital Ear, Nose and Throat/ Audiology Department in Outpatients as well as occasionally in community settings and I have recently started my second year in the programme.
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It’s tough to know where to start when describing medical physics – it’s a wide-ranging subject that covers everything from health and safety to diagnostic imaging, physiological measurement, and even cancer treatment. The broad scope means that it’s difficult to concisely describe the role of a medical physicist, but I’ll do my best!
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Clinical Engineering is effectively all engineering in healthcare. It is very broad and has 4 sub-specialisms which you can train in as part of the STP.
If you’re interested in managing medical devices in a hospital…
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As an STP trainee, I work in the genetics laboratory, where we carry out tests on patient’s genetic material to try and diagnose genetic disease. This can involve looking down the microscope at peoples’ chromosomes (cytogenetics) or testing DNA for mutations (molecular genetics). Molecular and Cytogenetics are becoming more and more intertwined, so as an STP in genetics/genomics you train in both. This can be quite a challenge as in many departments they are still very much separate, so you’ll have to manage your time well between the two! Clinical scientists in genetics are more like analysts, we don’t see patients face-to-face and hardly spend any time in the lab- our main role is to interpret the results that come out of the lab and write reports to the doctors and genetic counsellors, who then give the result to the patient.
Continue reading “Specialisms | Genomics”