It has been such a long time since I wrote a blog here it feels a bit surreal. Thank you to everyone that has kept STP Perspectives alive and thriving. I was hoping this could be published earlier but work and annual leave have significantly delayed it. I am still including the IACC write up tips in case it would be useful insight for second years. If you are just interested in interview tips please skip further down. 🙂
What is the IACC?
The IACC, another STP acronym for your collection, is the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence. It was introduced in 2020 to replace the OSFAs due to the constraints of the pandemic but it may be here to stay. My STP year was the first cohort to sit the IACC as their sole final assessment and I must say it has definitely improved since then. In my final year we got a flavour of the OSFAs as we had our mocks just before all the lockdowns. I am not sure I enjoyed the OSFAs but I was determined to practice and be ready for the real ones. The school came up with this alternative assessment which didn’t need 12 different stations and everyone gathering in London, which might be a bonus for our environment as whole. Since then after passing the IACC and finishing the STP I was also given the opportunity to assess some IACCs so in this post you will get both a perspective from someone who has written it but also assessed it.
International Women’s Day (IWD) evolved from the universal suffrage movement that originated in New Zealand, and was the catalyst for movements in North America and Europe in the early 20th century. It is recognized throughout the world in a diverse range of ways, however became ‘official’ in 1975 when the United Nations began celebrating it. To commemorate IWD in 2022 we are shining a light on some current and past STP trainees. We asked them a range of questions to find out what inspired them to pursue a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
Hello, my name is Natasha and I am a Clinical Bioinformatician working in London. Before being asked to write this post, I never really paused to think about my journey as a trainee to a training officer. It is something that was offered to me a year after completing my STP. I was asked if I would like to take over duties as a training officer. Honestly speaking, I didn’t fully understand the responsibilities before I said yes, but I knew I enjoyed training and wanted to do more of it. Luckily, I have a very supportive team who are always willing to help me out, hence the transition did not feel as overwhelming.
Firstly, just a quick introduction as I realised Erin and myself haven’t introduced ourselves here before! I am Rachel, one of the blog editors. I am 24, am a second (nearly third!) year clinical bioinformatics trainee, I enjoy watersports, climbing and art in my spare time, and new experiences – one of the reasons I volunteered to work on this blog in my spare time!
Happy New Year everybody! 2020 was an odd and challenging one but if you are reading this you made it through. Pat yourself on the back for it.
I have been meaning to write this for a long time, but I always find myself with a massive list of tasks and it is hard to find time. So, three years of the STP gone, completed. I can brag to have completed it, registered as a Clinical Bioinformatician and hold a permanent Clinical Scientist position at Addenbrookes’s Hospital, but how did I get here and what did I learn?
To say that my first year on the STP hasn’t quite been what I expected is probably an understatement. After two plain-sailing rotations I (along with the rest of the country) was catapulted into a different world where fusilli became worth its weight in gold and where the word ‘unprecedented’ became incredibly triggering. My genomics rotation, which I had just started, was suspended and my final rotation – well, who knows. The HFEA, the government’s regulator for fertility treatments, contacted clinics asking them to not start any new treatments and to complete any ongoing treatments by 15th April 2020. Because of this, I found myself back in my hometown and adjusting to living with my parents again. With no microscopes or pipettes in sight, I had to turn my attention to exam revision and completing whichever competencies I could, usually with the help of a lot of Google searching. The nature of a lockdown means that the luxury of distraction is denied to you, which leaves you lot of time to peruse the thoughts in your own head…
This time last year, I was busy moving house to my new STP training location. Needless to say, I was excited about joining the program and to meet my training department. Not even the extra shots of vaccinations I had to get were going to dampen my spirits. This was to be my first job in the NHS and that itself has always been one of my biggest motivations for applying for the STP. I wanted to develop my scientific knowledge and experience and apply them to benefit patients directly.
My day-dream version of the “perfect 1st year” of the STP is calm, controlled, and organised – just how I like my life to work! *Cue dream sequence music and a way dissolve into my STP fantasy* My OneFile portfolio is at (or even ahead of) the target progression, my Manchester university exams went ahead as normal (and I did amazingly), I’ve finished my first year rotations by the end of the first year and I’ve just returned back to my host department ready to remind everyone who I am and get learning on my specialist rotations.
As many new trainees will have just completed or shortly be starting their first stint at their respective universities, Ang Davies, a senior lecturer on the clinical bioinformatics teaching pathway, takes a look at that pathway and how clinical bioinformatics as a profession has developed over the past 7 years. From the first year of training where the entire profession was practically founded, to the breakthrough that is routine genomic testing across England, who better to reflect on that journey than someone who helped pave the way?