Do you ever have a sudden realisation that scares you and stresses you out? For example, the other day I realised that the OSFAs are eight months away, EIGHT months (sorry third years, they are approaching fast). The STP is an intense programme and although a lot of things are stressful and tiring we need to understand where to draw the line to not overdo it. It was Stress Awareness Week when I started writing and as a fellow overthinker, I thought I could share my tips of trying to overcome stress and when/how to ask for help. Workload and time constraints have reduced my free time and motivation to sit down and write though so I do apologise for the recent lack of posts.
When people ask me what I do, I always need to take a little time to think. Partly because STP is a mix of so many varied experiences that every week is different to the previous one, and partly because my own understanding of my specialism keeps evolving as I move through these experiences. When I first applied for this course, I thought I had a reasonable understanding of what cancer genomics was. But now I see how naive I was and that three years is not anywhere near enough time to fully comprehend this very diverse and quickly developing area of science. So summarising it all in a few paragraphs will be a challenge but… let’s give it a go!
What is Health Informatics?
Health Informatics falls within the remit of clinical bioinformatics. This specialism, however, can sometimes seem difficult to differentiate from physical science and bioinformatics. The reality is there is a lot of overlap between these programs. Where Physical Science focuses on the effective acquisition of healthcare data, and Bioinformatics focuses on the use of genomic data to inform on the best treatment options, Health Informatics considers how to capture, communicate and use data to support health care professionals.
Hello there lovely STP friends. I imagine you’re all feeling very stressed about your OSFAs right now, as they loom menacingly on the horizon. If you’re fairly chilled out about them, congratulations! I don’t really have anything else I can offer you in this post, so probably best for you to stop reading and go and spend your time a bit more wisely.
So the wait is over. You finally got an offer for the Scientist Training Programme!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Continue reading “Specialisms | Audiology”