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.
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.
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.
Emily Plimmer, 1st year Clinical Pharmaceutical Science trainee in Staffordshire talks about her role.
Clinical Pharmaceutical Science (CPS) is one of those specialisms that always seem to make trainees in other areas pull a confused face – they’ve often never even heard of us! Yet the work we do is absolutely vital for patients. In simple terms, we make medicines. However, that really doesn’t do it justice; we are involved in not only making medicines, but ensuring standards of safety, efficacy and quality are met for all patients, and that is no mean feat!
So you want to apply for the STP 2019 intake? Read on to hear our top tips for making that application stand out. These tips are tailored purely for the written application and we will do another post later on to tackle the interview process.
If you’re not sure about the process for the application there are basically 2 parts:
– Aptitude tests: Mathematical and logical reasoning.
– Personal Information and short written answers to 4 questions.
If you had up to 6 weeks away from your day job to broaden your experiences around healthcare and science, how would you spend it? Sounds like a hypothetical, but that’s the very question you’re faced on the Scientist Training Programme. The scheme has loads of opportunities to tailor it to your interests, but the elective is by far the most flexible component; giving you the exciting opportunity to spend up to 6 weeks gaining experience outside the normal realms of your training.
I’ve recently organised and am soon heading off on my own elective at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation . So I thought now might be a good time to share some tips based on what I did while searching for an elective.
Genetic counsellors see individuals and families to discuss genetic conditions that are present, or are thought to be present, in their family. Information about an individual’s personal medical history and their family history is taken into account when determining the likelihood of a genetic condition running in a family.
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.
We’ve all met new people where the first question is, “So what do you do?”. When I reply, I usually get a blank face in response. How do you explain it in plain words? I usually say we are the people in between biology and computer science and it does the trick. Otherwise, you have to explain what is DNA, what is DNA sequencing, what is a mutation, things that are “coded” in us. What is the usual jargon to us might be someone else’s rocket science.
As there’s a chance that some of you are unfamiliar with the programme we are on, here’s a brief introduction.
The Scientist Training Programme or STP as we call it, is a training programme organised by the National School of Healthcare Science and NHS Health Education England with the aim to train the country’s clinical scientist workforce. At the moment, there are 23 specialisms offered by the programme. The training is undertaken in the span of three years and it consists of 80% on-the-job training and a 20% academic component.