I am Sarah Williams, a final year trainee in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on the Scottish Medical Physics training scheme, specialising in Imaging with Ionising Radiation. I am also the current Chair for the Scottish Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering Trainee Network. I often meet prospective trainees and those that have never heard about our training scheme, so in this blog, I wanted to answer our most frequently asked questions about the training schemes and our trainee network!
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!
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.
Intro to vascular science:
Cardiovascular disease is the world’s largest and most impactive health problem, and is thought to contribute to approximately one-third of all deaths worldwide (World Health Organisation 2019), with many more people being affected by a wide range of cardiovascular disorders every day.
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!
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.
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.Continue reading “Specialisms | Audiology”
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!
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…
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.