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.
This post aims to volunteer some tips for managing your time and workload on the STP… which is no easy feat!! They are the personal views and experiences of a second-year trainee.
A juggling act
During the STP applications process and subsequent acceptance of a training post I was certainly expecting my new role to challenge and develop my time-management skills. However, I didn’t fully appreciate that the role would require the juggling skills of a high-level circus performer.
I am a Clinical Scientist in Clinical Bioinformatics Genomics at the Viapath Genomics Laboratories in London, and I started the HSST in September 2021 (so I am cohort 8 in HSST speak). Before moving to Viapath in May 2021 I was based in the East Midlands Regional Molecular Genetics Service in Nottingham, where I completed the STP in Clinical Bioinformatics Genomics in 2016, and then worked as a Clinical Scientist. This blog represents my experience of the HSST so far.
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).
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.
Hello, my name is Natasha and I am a Clinical Bioinformatician working in London. Before being asked to write this post, I never really paused to think about my journey as a trainee to a training officer. It is something that was offered to me a year after completing my STP. I was asked if I would like to take over duties as a training officer. Honestly speaking, I didn’t fully understand the responsibilities before I said yes, but I knew I enjoyed training and wanted to do more of it. Luckily, I have a very supportive team who are always willing to help me out, hence the transition did not feel as overwhelming.
This post has very kindly been written by Chanelle Peters, Chair of the NSHCS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee
The School are working closely with the STP BAME network to ensure that all STP trainees’ views are listened to and that issues faced by trainees around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) are discussed openly; that solutions are not only sought, but become embedded in every aspect of the STP training programme from start (recruitment or even before) to finish (exiting the programme). We commend the initiative from STP trainees to create such a forum, especially as we created our own Equality, Diversity & Inclusion one in parallel. Our aim in creating the school EDI committee was to ensure dedicated time and resources were put into the work of promoting EDI in Healthcare Science.
We keep talking about all the things we do in training and how everyone’s training is so different and busy. So this time, I decided to write about how you can organise your time and still manage to have a life outside the program. These are little tips that help me stay on track and organised (by no means is this the only way to do it).
Since the STP applications are opening relatively soon, I thought it would be good to help potential applicants decide if it’s the right path for them. Every other resource tells you- it’s a graduate scheme with a work-based and MSc component, but what exactly is it like to be on the STP? And what are the challenges you can expect to face on your STP journey? We’ll tackle these questions over a series of posts, using our experiences over the last 15-ish months to provide a real insight to the highs and lows of the STP and exactly what you’re signing up for. A big part of the STP is the fact that you are employed by an NHS trust, so for the first post in this series let’s unravel what it’s like to work for the NHS as a healthcare science trainee.
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.