Hi, my name is George and I’m a second year Andrology trainee at the Shropshire and Mid Wales Fertility Centre. Andrology is a relatively new specialism so there aren’t currently many trainees or fully qualified Andrologists, and it may not be as well-known as other specialities, so hopefully I can give a bit of an insight into what the role involves!
What is Andrology?
Andrology is the branch of science relating to male reproductive health, so the clinical scientist role covers working with male patients struggling with infertility, preserving male fertility for those who may become infertile in the future, and dealing with sperm donation, which is a vital resource for those who cannot produce or use their own sperm. It is a varied role, so tasks may be different from day-to-day and different clinics may place difference emphasis on each of the areas within the field depending on their clinical workload.
Fertility treatment has been an established medical specialism for over four decades, yet many people are unaware of what it entails, and the role clinical and non-clinical staff play. An IVF clinic combines the skill sets of consultants, specialist nurses, and scientists to assist couples trying to conceive. The latter is where I come in. Hi! My name is Laurie-Anne, and I am a second-year Embryology trainee (Reproductive Science) at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. I’m going to show you what a day in the life of an Embryologist is like and how we contribute to fertility treatment.
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.
This week (9-15th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s focus is on loneliness. According to recent figures from the Mental Health Foundation, ‘One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time’.
Unfortunately this is something that has become a much bigger issue over the past couple of years due to Covid, and we have likely all experienced loneliness to some extent during the pandemic.
My name is Holly and I’m a first year Medical Physics trainee specialising in Radiotherapy, across Suffolk and Essex. I first heard about the STP in a careers lecture during year 1 of my undergraduate degree and began preparing to apply virtually as I left the hall. Hopefully this post will give a little insight (and hope) for entrance to the STP and what to expect once you reach the flip side
Before too much waffle I just wanted to say when I began my application to the STP, I felt like I may as well have been applying to be an Olympic sprinter (I reckon I’ve ran successfully about a 2km total in my entire life). I applied with an undergraduate physics degree from a smaller university, and my work experience was serving chips, so it goes without saying if I can do it, you certainly can.
Application and Interview
For anyone who is a skim reader, here are my main tips beyond your long-listing:
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).
Hi, my name is Linda and I’m a third year STP trainee in Ophthalmic and Vision Science (OVS) at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust. While we may not be one of the larger specialisms out there, we have a vital role to play in patient care. After all, vision is one of the most fundamental ways we experience the world, and the eye is a window into the brain and body! For those considering starting their journey with clinical science, hopefully I can provide an eye-opening insight (see what I did there?) into the ‘What’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of OVS.
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.
With STP applications coming up, I’m sure there’s people here looking for some information on how to join the programme. As someone who’s recently come out the other side of the STP as a fully-fledged Clinical Scientist, here’s what I’d tell myself if I could go back to when I was applying to the scheme.
This post includes the opinions & experiences of the author, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Like a lot of the people posting to this blog, I never thought I’d get onto the STP either. When I applied, I almost balked at the competition ratios. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there, and doubly so after how I’d felt the interview went. But I did get in – to the training institution I wanted, nonetheless. And it was one of the biggest surprises of my life.