Ask the professionals: kick-starting your career

Are you a scientist just taking your first steps into your clinical career?  Wondering if there’s anything you need to know before starting? We got you covered.

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Tomorrow’s genome, today.

The Cancer Genomics pathway represents the evolution of what the STP forbearers might have referred to as Molecular Pathology, and I love it.

You had me at ‘genomics’, tell me more!

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Specialisms | Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics

What is Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (H&I)?

That’s a question I’m only just getting to grips with, having started my training last September. On the most basic level, it’s easiest to say that it’s matching people for transplants, and although that is the majority of the work that scientists in this specialism do, they also use their skills to support clinicians in other areas of patient care. The STP is one of the main training routes for clinical scientists in this field, so if you’re considering H&I, then the STP is one of the best ways to get into it.

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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 | Medical Physics

It’s tough to know where to start when describing medical physics – it’s a wide-ranging subject that covers everything from health and safety to diagnostic imaging, physiological measurement, and even cancer treatment. The broad scope means that it’s difficult to concisely describe the role of a medical physicist, but I’ll do my best!

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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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Specialisms | Clinical Bioinformatics – Physical Science

Furthering knowledge and improving the health service through the commissioning and development of hardware, software, and algorithms that process clinical, biomedical and associated business data.

It is difficult to imagine modern healthcare without the many medical devices, diagnostic machines and clinical ICT systems that are deeply embedded within it. From an MRI machine that generates diagnostic images to a clinical information system that stores ICU measurements; these complex pieces of engineering and technology are vital to ensuring healthcare data can be robustly captured and patient information sent to those who need it. Who ensures that this technology is appropriate and that data from it is used in the best way possible? If you’re from a physical sciences background and want to use technology to improve healthcare, then it could be you!

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How to: make the most of your time

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).

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