Tips and advice from STP and HSST trainees and graduates

Last Updated: 12th November 2020

The trainees who are ahead of you on the programme and who have recently completed their STP and HSST are a great source of advice about how to make a success of your training programme. Whenever you can, seek them out for advice.

Tips and advice for STP trainees

Kade Flowers, an STP Clinical Biochemistry graduate, talks about being a trainee and how to make your time on the programme a success.

This video features Kade Flowers talking about his experiences on the STP Clinical Biochemistry programme.

Tips and advice for HSST trainees

Dr Jan Taylor, a Clinical Bioinformatician, talks about the benefits of being a trainee on the HSST programme.

Dr Jan Taylor, Clinical Bioinformatician discusses the benefits of the HSST.

Advice from STP graduates to current STP trainees

Each year we ask our graduates what advice they would give to new trainees about how to make the programme a success. We’ve summarised some of the key things that they came back with.

Your training officer and colleagues

Organise weekly catch-ups with your training officer or a colleague to keep on track with e-portfolio work.

Sit down with your training officer early on and outline a clear training plan, including a timeline with goals to help you track your progress.

Make sure colleagues in your department respect the fact that you are supernumerary; you need time for academic and e-portfolio work.

Talk to your colleagues about the STP and what clinical learning you need to complete; this will allow you to do more advanced clinical work.

Be assertive with your training officer; they are there to support your training and give you the support and guidance you need.

Make sure your training officer has been on a ‘Train the Trainer’ course; this will directly benefit you by helping them to make the most of the role.

Personal organisation and time management

Time can be a scarce resource so be efficient by planning when you will work on various aspects of the programme.

Be proactive in organising workplace activities that will help you to complete competencies and your own training objectives

Get into the habit of completing competencies as you go; this will leave more time for other opportunities and obligations later in the programme.

Get into the habit of completing competencies as you go; this will leave more time for other opportunities and obligations later in the programme.

Look out for overlaps between your commitments, such as opportunities to complete competencies that dovetail with your university work.

Making the most of the programme

Try to get as much out of your rotations as possible; be confident, ask lots of questions and make contacts.

Raise any issues or concerns you have about your training with your training officer or Head of Department and the School so that they can support you.

Network with fellow trainees whenever you can and discuss your experiences; this can help you to put your training in perspective.

Find out who your trainee representatives are and get them to raise any negative aspects of your experience on the programme.

Don’t be afraid to chase your university tutors for feedback and ask them questions so that you are clear on how to complete assignments.

Personal development and career opportunities

Take advantage of the range of opportunities that will come your way such as giving presentations and attending conferences and STEM fairs.

Organise opportunities outside of your department as early as you can to gain a broader range of clinical experiences.

Consider going abroad for your elective rotation; it can provide you with a completely different perspective on your work.

Look at job roles, think about the skills you will need after graduating and look for opportunities to gain relevant experience as you go through the programme.

Reach out to other NHS institutions if you need to gain experience or knowledge that your host centre can’t provide.

Tips and advice on managing your training during the pandemic

We asked some trainees for any tips and advice on how to manage training, academic study and wellbeing during this pandemic outbreak. Here’s what they had to say.

Try and stay connected with your team – don’t isolate yourself.

Keep to your work routine – get up early, be showered and dressed, finish on time.

Power through with professional practice competencies if you are first or second year, a lot of the learning outcomes can be met through self study.

If you are concerned, contact your Training Officer/ Supervisors/ University Course Organiser sooner rather than later.

If you have been redeployed, consider how the experience you have gained relates to the broad role and transferable skills of a clinical scientist and consider whether you can link your experience in some way with some of your competencies.

Keep yourself busy with whatever you can, get what competencies you can done (even if it’s just the theory) and read up on things for next year.

Keep regular contact with your TO and/or mentor to keep them updated on your progress and any issues you’re facing.

Looking after mental health is number 1 priority during times like these.

Keep in contact with your cohort of STP trainees, they will most likely be experiencing the same disruption as you.

If your normal work has decreased take this time to work on Professional Practice competencies.

The Headspace app is currently free of charge to all NHS staff. It is very useful for taking care of stress and anxiety during this time.