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.
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.