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).
Biochemistry sounds like a complicated subject, but simply studying the chemical components of the body can have a huge impact on the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of diseases a patient may have. I’m Tom, a first year STP student specialising in Clinical Biochemistry. I joined the STP fresh out of my undergraduate degree. Before starting university, I didn’t have a career plan set in mind, I just wanted to do what I enjoyed most through my A-levels which was biology and chemistry. And now I’m very fortunate to be on a programme where I can use my knowledge to improve patients’ lives.
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.
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?
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.
It has been a year since this tweet, a year since my little idea with Jes became a reality and we shared STP Perspectives with the world. And what a year this has been. Looking back on it, starting this blog was definitely the right thing to do and here’s why.
Last year I attended the Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education (MAHSE) research day, where STP trainees and other speakers gave various talks and presentations. It was a very useful day, learning about other trainee’s research projects and receiving lots of useful advice. One of the keynote speakers, Dr Elaine Cloutman-Green, gave a great talk detailing her journey to becoming a clinical scientist and beyond. One point that particularly stuck with me was “Step out of your box” and the idea of saying “YES” to any opportunities that may come your way, no matter how much out of your ‘box’ they are. As a previous genetic technologist and current trainee bioinformatician, I consider myself firmly in the ‘science’ box. It’s nice and comfy, and feels pretty safe…
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.