You got an offer. What now?

So the wait is over. You finally got an offer for the Scientist Training Programme!

CONGRATULATIONS!

All the hard work has paid off and you are a few months away from joining our very exclusive club of Healthcare Scientists. I bet you are excited, and so are we. Excited to welcome you to our Trusts and help you start your healthcare journey.

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Specialisms | Critical Care Science

Critical Care Science in the Wider Context
Critical Care Science (CCS) is one of the smaller STP specialisms but deals with one of the most complex patient populations. Critical care patients range from elective cardiac surgery patients to major trauma and acute/chronic medical conditions. Critical care refers to specialised care for patients with life-threatening conditions; typically compromising of one or more organs that are failing. This level of care may be delivered in A+E, Intensive Care, High Dependency or specialist wards, e.g. long term ventilation. While a lot of the STP specialisms focus on a particular organ system or on a particular grouping of investigative techniques, the skills of CCS cover a holistic approach to clinical care, incorporating all areas of medicine and technology.

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STP interviews | Preparation

I cannot stress enough how important preparation for these interviews is. Everyone talks about how competitive the STP is, so if you want to be in with a chance of getting one of those coveted places, then preparation is key. The National School has some pretty good resources that cover the format of the STP interviews, but I know what you really want to know is “what the hell are they gonna ask me?!”. And I bet your google searches are coming up blank- I know this because I was there 2 years ago; frantically scanning the internet to find any hint or example of the questions I might face in any of the 4 stations. Well, I’ve heard that the questions asked at the interviews are pretty similar year on year so specifics are kept notoriously hush hush. I’m sorry to tell you that I’m not about to change that. Mostly because 50% of the interview is specialism specific so I wouldn’t even have a clue for anything other than bioinformatics. But – before you stop reading and vow never to visit this blog again – what I will do is give you some tips on what I think are the best ways to prepare for each station that I hope will help.

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Top tips for applying to the Genomic Counselling STP

Since the first established Master’s Programme in the UK in 1992, there has been a growing demand for Genetic Counsellors and a growing recognition of the role of genetics in health. To address this, in 2016 the NHS developed the Science Training programme (STP) in Genomic Counselling in partnership with the University of Manchester. When I was looking into applying in that first year of the programme, I found a lot of things were a big unknown in terms of what specifically was required to have a good chance of getting an interview. I couldn’t find many people talking about their experience of applying without reading lengths of conversation on the Student Room.

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STP Electives | Frankie

One of the best parts of my STP experience so far has been my elective, it’s a great way of getting away from the work you do every day and gaining new perspectives on healthcare science. My elective ended up being a series of small things rather than a big 4 to 6-week elective, mostly because of time constraints (N.B. getting married during the STP is STRESSFUL) but also because the larger placement that I wanted to do fell through.

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Specialisms | Audiology

Audiology is a rapidly developing field and approximately 16% of the UK population has hearing loss, which indicates the importance of Audiology within the NHS.  As an Audiology STP trainee, I work in the hospital Ear, Nose and Throat/ Audiology Department in Outpatients as well as occasionally in community settings and I have recently started my second year in the programme.

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Specialisms | Clinical Engineering

Clinical Engineering

Clinical Engineering is effectively all engineering in healthcare. It is very broad and has 4 sub-specialisms which you can train in as part of the STP.

If you’re interested in managing medical devices in a hospital…

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Specialisms | Genomics

As an STP trainee, I work in the genetics laboratory, where we carry out tests on patient’s genetic material to try and diagnose genetic disease. This can involve looking down the microscope at peoples’ chromosomes (cytogenetics) or testing DNA for mutations (molecular genetics). Molecular and Cytogenetics are becoming more and more intertwined, so as an STP in genetics/genomics you train in both. This can be quite a challenge as in many departments they are still very much separate, so you’ll have to manage your time well between the two! Clinical scientists in genetics are more like analysts, we don’t see patients face-to-face and hardly spend any time in the lab- our main role is to interpret the results that come out of the lab and write reports to the doctors and genetic counsellors, who then give the result to the patient.

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From BSc to STP – is it possible?

Applying to the STP is daunting, with multiple parts to the application process and places being extremely competitive. I was told most people apply several times, and the majority of successful applicants have Master’s, PhDs and/or experience working in healthcare. Although I was still studying for my undergraduate I thought it was worth applying and managed to get through with an offer first time.

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STP Insights: The MSc

Having just spent 2 weeks up at Uni, I thought now would be the perfect time to write the second instalment of our STP insights series. I’m actually writing this on my train home so the memories of coffee-fuelled lectures and late night games of exploding kittens* are fresh in my mind: the perfect time to get them down on paper/…into my laptop.

Before I start, as usual- a disclaimer that the experience each specialism has during their MSc, and even each year, varies massively. This is just an account of my personal experience to give you an insight into what it might be like for you if you’re thinking about applying for the STP.

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