Last Updated: 13th August 2019

The trainee perspective of the STP programme

The 2014 STP induction day featured a rich selection of energised and enthusiastic speakers, including those with first-hand experience of the challenges and opportunities facing the audience of new trainees.

Words of wisdom

Third-year Radiotherapy Physics trainee Antonia Bryan took to the stage to give the trainees some advice as they embark on their three-year journey to become qualified healthcare scientists.

First, some fundamentals: be organised from day one, seek feedback frequently, and get to know the learning platform, OLAT, well. Antonia also encouraged trainees to get to grips with the nuts and bolts of their training: learn your competencies, get to know your supervisors well, and record reflections and competencies. She even offered a handy hint: always keep a camera with you, as a quick photo can do wonders to jog the memory when it comes to writing up a task later.

Antonia rounded off her talk with a key piece of advice to trainees to take full advantage of the next three years: get involved in every setting, placement and department you work in. The opportunities are there to get stuck in, be useful and make a difference.

Careers after the STP

Later in the day, it was recent Genetics graduate Natalie Forrester’s turn to pass on her experience. Having successfully completed the STP programme, Natalie’s focus was on career prospects after qualification.

So what happens next? Natalie explained that after achieving an MSc in Clinical Science, each graduate is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, which allows them to practice as a clinical scientist in any NHS laboratory.

The STP training programme’s broad-based and high level approach makes its trainees very employable, Natalie assured, and highlighted some of the many and varied roles available. She also talked about the transition that she has made from being a trainee to having a ‘service’ role, and some of the exciting new responsibilities and opportunities, including research, validating new techniques and leading projects.

Raising awareness

Finally, second-year Clinical Biochemistry trainee Hannah Fearon talked to the audience about becoming a healthcare scientist ambassador. She began by highlighting a key statistic: 60% of students with strong science abilities express an interest in working in a scientific role, but the awareness of career opportunities is low. So how can we change perceptions?

Hannah explained how trainees can help by becoming ambassadors for healthcare science. This could involve taking part in science events or school fairs, showing young people how exciting and interesting science can be. And it’s not purely a selfless act. Being an ambassador, she said, is fun, different, worthwhile, and makes you a better communicator and leader.

Finally, Hannah invited interested trainees to find out more by getting in touch with STEMNET’s ambassador scheme, and help inspire the next generation of healthcare scientists.