Last Updated: 23rd July 2019

STP Trainees set up blog to share their honest experience of the programme

Jessica Adams and Adriana Toutoudaki are two STP trainees specialising in Clinical Bioinformaticians in Genomics.

Jessica and Adriana started their blog, STP Perspectives, last year to share tips and advice between trainees and provide an authentic view of the programme to future applicants.

Jessica has written about how the blog got started, how it’s developed over time and the opportunities that have come her way thanks to the blog.

“About 1 year into my training a fellow bioinformatics trainee, Adriana, approached me about setting up a blog about the STP; to share our experiences with other trainees, give advice to prospective trainees and just promote healthcare science in general, to anyone who was willing to listen. We emailed the National School to get permission to put our unfiltered opinions about the STP on the internet, they said yes, so we went about coming up with a name. We settled on STP perspectives because we wanted to be clear that we were a blog about the STP, but we really are sharing trainees’ real experiences and opinions, not just a curated spiel that exists solely to promote the STP (although we do that too). The STP is hard work. It’s not perfect and sometimes it’s frustrating. We wanted to share that and provide a place for trainees to come to express the way they feel and to know that they’re not the only ones that feel that way sometimes.”

“To start with it was pretty much just Adriana and I coming up with content, so it was very bioinformatics heavy – lots of our opinions and really just us talking about insights into our training and experiences so far. I’m not a creative writer naturally and publishing my first post was and, to be honest still is, terrifying. It is scary to put your opinions and ideas on the internet, but there’s got to be something said for the writing process and making sense of all the previously incoherent thoughts in your head. Since then we’ve had contributions from so many other trainees and scientists across a range of specialisms and it’s really peaked over the most recent application period. We’ve been so grateful for so many trainees willing to share an insight into their training. It’s been so, so interesting to read about what other trainees do- most of them I had no idea about. And if healthcare scientists don’t know what each other do, how on earth can we expect the public or patients to?! I know we’re just a tiny drop in a very big ocean, but we’ve become really passionate about getting this information out there as I do feel like there are limited resources. It also feels so cool to be creating this network of trainees that are collaborating across specialisms with one common goal to promote HCS and help each other out. And when we graduate that’s what we’ll be doing too, right? Working towards one common goal: to provide the highest quality of treatment and care to patients.”

“I think there are two things that have come out of the blog that I really wasn’t expecting. The first one is about how talented my fellow trainees are – there’s so much more to trainees than just their STP process. I think STP perspectives has given people the opportunity to be a bit more creative, whilst still staying in the realms of science. I’ve got to work with people who are great at digital art or design, natural story-tellers and people that could genuinely have careers as motivational speakers. It’s been really rewarding to get to see that side of people when you work with them on a more casual project than being switched on about training and completing competencies the whole time.”

“The other thing is the people I’ve had the chance to talk to. The number of lead healthcare scientists and –did someone say chief scientific officer?! – I’ve spoken to because of the blog is mind blowing. But despite that exposure, I still find networking intimidating. Especially with such high-profile people that I would never, ever have approached if it wasn’t for the blog. It’s definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I know it’s helping me grow professionally so I’m grateful for that.”

“In a nutshell, STPperspectives has been the sharing platform and experience I didn’t know I needed in my career as healthcare scientist. I’ve had the opportunity to meet new people and learn about different specialisms while picking up some really valuable skills and advice along the way. We try to share all of this through the blog and it’s really great to see people engaging with us because it makes all the hard work worthwhile. We’re always open to suggestions for posts and are always looking to grow the STP perspectives community, so if you’re interested please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”