A glance into the world of Clinical Embryology

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.

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How to: Nail conferences as a trainee

conference

Conferences can be interesting, exciting, informative and even inspiring. But they can also be a little bit daunting and definitely exhausting. I’m feeling very slightly conferenced-out at the moment, having attended 2 back-to-back last week and knowing I’m attending another meeting next week. It’s safe to say there is only so much information my brain can hold so I’m lucky none of my shoes were lace-ups last week.

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How to: Organise Your Elective – Some Personal Experiences

If you had up to 6 weeks away from your day job to broaden your experiences around healthcare and science, how would you spend it? Sounds like a hypothetical, but that’s the very question you’re faced on the Scientist Training Programme.  The scheme has loads of opportunities to tailor it to your interests, but the elective is by far the most flexible component; giving you the exciting opportunity to spend up to 6 weeks gaining experience outside the normal realms of your training.

I’ve recently organised and am soon heading off on my own elective at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation . So I thought now might be a good time to share some tips based on what I did while searching for an elective.

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Is the STP application process fair?

Last week we received a message from a reader:

Hi There,

As an STP applicant and interviewee for the last three years on my chosen programme I have been left with a sour taste in my mouth regarding the credibility of the interview process for STPs. Unfortunately I don’t think I am the only potential applicant who feels this way, yet our voices continue to go unheard with the feedback we provide to the school of healthcare science. It would be great to see current STPs in post displaying a balanced view of the application process, interview process and training programme to potential applicants rather than a rose-tinted view. It is quite unconvincing when we see a page promoting the STP from such a light when we have seen that year upon year, excellent candidates are slipping through the net, becoming increasingly demeaned and disheartened while less experienced candidates who are able to charm at interview get recruited.

Please let me know your opinion on this.

Firstly, we just want to say thank you for getting in touch, we really value the opinions of our readers and hearing from you helps us to know what to write about. We wanted to share what you’ve written so we can fully address what you’ve spoken about in a way that can help everyone.

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The end of a journey…

AnitaBlack

…But the start of a new one!

Hello everyone! Earlier this week was the STP induction day in Birmingham for all the new trainees. So I thought, as so many people are starting their scientist training journey, what better time to share a look back from someone who is coming to the end of theirs. I asked Verity Fryer, a third year clinical bioinformatics trainee (and now also a fully employed Healthcare Scientist!) in my department some questions about her past 3 years and this is what she had to say:

How do you feel coming to the end of the STP?

Relieved, happy and proud of what I’ve achieved. I can’t quite believe I’ve done it and it’s finished (I submitted and had approved my last competency this morning!).

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A day at the clinic

The STP training is recorded by signing things off for your e-portfolio and your university assessments. Work-based training involves competencies, case-based discussions (CBD), direct observation of practical skills (DOPS) or observed clinical events (OCE).  For each rotation or specialist module, you have to do all the competencies involved and a combination of DOPS or OCES, and CBDs.

As part of my Bioinformatics rotation, and because I usually don’t like to do things the easy way, I got to go observe at a Genomic Counselling clinic which is one of the OCEs of this rotation; “Attend a clinic as an observer and explain your role to the patient”. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to see how genomic councelling works and get some more clinical experience. I contacted our genomic counselling team, they were very accommodating and agreed for me to observe at an adult endocrine clinic. The majority of endocrine conditions referred to genomic councelling involved panel testing so we thought it would be easier to explain what a bioinformatician does in that context.

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How to: Nail first year of the STP

Hello! Hopefully there’s a lot of new STP trainees that have found this page since this one is especially for you. Since most new trainees join their trusts at the beginning of September, Adriana and I thought we could put together a little post just before then, to address some of the key skills we think you’ll need, and top tips for smashing your first year of training! So we decided on our top 10 things and made them into a fancy infographic because who doesn’t love a good infographic? But do read on for an explanation on each point!

Adriana can you edit this_

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STP Reflections | Year 1 | Adriana

The moment I got an offer for the STP, I think my heart skipped a few beats. Throughout last summer I was constantly excited, couldn’t wait to move to Cambridge and get started. Not that I was entirely sure what it involved at that time but I knew that bioinformatics in healthcare was something I was passionate about.

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Blue Badgers vs. Pink Unicorns

trainingI know what you’re thinking- “Jes, what are you talking about? This blog is supposed to be about the STP!”

Well, it all started a couple of weeks ago, on a rainy Friday at the pub after work. Dreaming of better days with better weather, someone piped up “Do you know what would be great? When the weather is good we should have a rounders game!”

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What is the STP?

As there’s a chance that some of you are unfamiliar with the programme we are on, here’s a brief introduction.

The Scientist Training Programme or STP as we call it, is a training programme organised by the National School of Healthcare Science and NHS Health Education England with the aim to train the country’s clinical scientist workforce. At the moment, there are 23 specialisms offered by the programme. The training is undertaken in the span of three years and it consists of 80% on-the-job training and a 20% academic component.

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