I Want to Work in ...... Hospital Science
There are a range of jobs here which all involve working in hospital laboratories. These include Clinical Biochemist, Clinical Microbiologist, Clinical Cytogeneticist, Immunological Scientist and others.
These organise tests on patient samples to assist with investigation, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Advise clinicians and GPs on use of tests and interpretation of results. Carry out research as well as evaluation and quality assessment of diagnostic tests. Typically you work in a hospital paid on the Grade A Clinical Scientists pay scale while completing a relevant Masters degree on a part-time basis (this is fully paid for).
Holding an MSc or Phd did not make much difference to an application. Those recruited were primarily those who had demonstrated their commitment via obtaining work experience and all round commitment to extra-curricular activities.
Typical work activities include:
- Planning and organising work in clinical chemistry laboratories.
- Carrying out complex analyses on specimens of body fluids and tissues.
- Auditing the use and diagnosis performance of tests.
- Developing new and existing tests, mostly automated and computer assisted.
- Submitting funding bids and conducting research with clinicians.
- Liaising with clinical and technical staff.
- Some patient contact.
- Clinical scientist, histocompatibility and immunogenetics
- Clinical embryologist www.prospects.ac.uk/clinical_embryologist.htm
Scientists Training Programme for healthcare scientists
NHS trusts, working in partnership with strategic health authorities and higher education Institutions, offer about 200 training posts in life sciences, physics and engineering and physiological sciences each year to join a three-year, fixed term, integrated training programme of workplace-based learning and a master’s degree in their chosen specialism. Successful candidates join a three-year, fixed term, integrated training programme of workplace-based learning and a Master's degree in their chosen specialism.
There is a single national timetable for recruitment, national guidelines for the conduct of selection interviews, and assessment centres to ensure all candidates are treated fairly. Science graduates apply through the NHS Jobs website, with shortlisting and selection processes organised and conducted by local NHS trusts.
Applications for 2016
The best source of information is the National School of Healthcare Science’s website and specifically, the STP recruitment page: http://nshcs.org.uk/stp-recruitment
This page has had some 2016-recruitment relevant information on it since early December (e.g. details of open days, some of which have already taken place this week). It is the main source of information that we are signposting people to about the 2016 intake and has some new videos about STP trainees’ experiences of the programme; guidance for applicants etc
Details of the number and location of STP vacancies and other information (including the link to the online recruitment portal) will appear on this page as soon as go-live has been confirmed.
Applicants should follow the National School on Twitter @NSHCS
Number of places per speciality/location The allocations for this year are here.
The NHS Careers website has some additional information on the specifics of each role, which can be quite helpful when it comes to tailoring an application. Remember that students can apply for specialities that are different from their own degree discipline (e.g. a genetics student applying for audiology, or sports scientist applying for microbiology), but it is up to the applicant to be able to prove their ability and interest in their specialism of choice. If they think that their degree in “Understanding HobNobs: A Theoretical and Experiential Approach” is relevant (and let’s be honest, that is genuinely relevant for most jobs, not least anything in HE careers), then they need to make a convincing case for it.
Approaching the application itself
TARGETjobs has some good advice on approaching the application form, but our very own Elizabeth Wilkinson from Manchester University has just posted a fantastic blogpost outlining some great tips on how to tackle all aspects of the application. Remember that around 36% of last year’s cohort failed at the psychometric test stage, so encouraging your clients to practice some tests is always a good idea!
The interview timetable for direct recruitment can be found here (the list of psych test dates etc. can be found on p.4 of the FAQs). Some of you have mentioned that the interview dates might clash with your university’s exam periods. Most of the specialities are only interviewing on one date each (with the exception of cardiac and medical physics, which interview over a couple of days). Students can only attend an interview on the day(s) that their speciality is recruiting with no option to change dates (e.g. having your microbiology interview on a genetics day). However, the interviews slots themselves are allocated through a self-service portal, so the student can choose a time that fits in with them from what is available.
Information on the application procedure
Applicants apply on line to the trusts offering training programmes in their preferred specialist area e.g. Clinical Biochemistry. You can make up to a maximum of 4 applications for 4 separate posts/trusts. You must fully research the programme and read details of the job descriptions and person specification for the posts available before you submit your application and pay close attention to the requirements in the person specification including the degree eligibility requirements for entry to the Masters programme. Approximately 8,000 applications are received each year for between 250 – 300 posts.
Short listers will not be able to see the choices the candidates have made so if candidates choose two different specialisms their application will go to both short listing panels who will not know if the applicant has that specialism as first or second choice. They also will not see candidate names.
There will be open days at some of the trusts in England that will have STP vacancies.
There are two types of applicant:
- Direct applicants – those who are not currently working in healthcare science (these make up the vast majority of posts)
- In-service applicants* – those currently working in healthcare science and who are supported by their employer when applying.
(There are no in-service opportunities in Wales for 2014 entry.)
In-service applicants will need to speak to their line manager to get details of the link they need to go to, as it is slightly different from the link for direct applicants.
All applicants are strongly encouraged to complete their application and online tests as early as possible to avoid disappointment. No late applications will be accepted.
Questions on the application form include:
1. YOUR MOTIVATION AND COMMITMENT TO THE TRAINING PROGRAMME
In no more than 200 words, please state why you have applied for the Healthcare Scientist Training Programme outlining your motivation for the programme and what you plan to gain in terms of career development.
2. YOUR PASSION FOR SCIENCE AND/OR TECHNOLOGY
In no more than 200 words, please demonstrate your passion for science and/or technology and provide evidence about how you seek to implement constant improvement and innovation in your work/studies
3. VALUES AND BEHAVIOURS
In no more than 200 words, please describe the two values which you consider to be the most important to deliver high quality, safe and effective healthcare services to people, and give a recent example of when you have displayed these values
4. TEAM WORKING AND LEADERSHIP
In no more than 200 words demonstrate how you have worked as part of a team and outline the skills you used to influence the outputs of that team. Please summarise your achievements in order to demonstrate you are a high achieving individual.
|5. YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF HEALTHCARE SCIENCE AND THIS TRAINING SCHEME|
|In no more than 200 words, tell us what actions you have undertaken to increase your knowledge of healthcare science and to find out more about the training scheme|
Question 4 is a strange combination (teamwork and high achieving individual in the same question). It is unclear whether applicants should answer the teamwork element and then go on to summarise all of their achievements from the past couple of years OR to only list the achievements which relate to their teamwork example (which would be few as the example is about a team effort).
There have been postings on the Facebook page which advise along these lines: 'The second part of the question should read in the context of the first, with candidates summarising their achievements IN THE EXAMPLE THEY USED to demonstrate they are a high achieving individual when it comes to working in teams and leadership.'
The STP FAQ says that successful candidates might have a variety of relevant qualifications and experience. Candidates should have at least an upper second or first class BSc Honours Degree or equivalent in a pure or applied science. The most commonly accepted degrees will be:
- Life Sciences: life sciences, biology, microbiology, genetics or biochemistry
- Physical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering: pure or applied physics, engineering, applied mathematics
- Physiological Sciences: physiology, pure or applied physics, engineering, biology or human biology.
- Science degrees related to medicine and those such as biomedical science, medical electronics or biotechnology may also be considered suitable if relevant to the specialty or theme for which you are applying.
A Masters degree, PhD or research experience related to healthcare science are also desirable.
STP vacancies are available in:
- Life sciences (e.g. biochemistry, clinical immunology, microbiology, histopathology etc). Healthcare staff working in the life sciences are mainly lab. based (e.g. working in pathology, genetics etc), with limited direct patient contact, although this could change as more NHS staff become community based in the future.
- Physiological sciences (e.g. cardiac sciences, respiratory and sleep sciences, vascular science, audiology, neurophysiology etc). By the nature of their role, these work directly with patients, as they are measuring the functionality of a particular organ or body system (brain activity, gastro-intestinal tract, hearing, cardio-vascular system etc).
- Physical sciences (e.g. rehabilitation engineering, radiation safety, imaging with non-ionising radiation, device risk management and governance etc). Some of those staff working in the physical sciences will have little direct patient contact (e.g. device risk management and governance), whereas those working in other areas of the physical sciences (such as rehabilitation engineering) will work directly with patients to design equipment that will help to improve their mobility (for example).
NHS Scientist Training Programme 2016 - Application Statistics by Specialism
You must decide which area they wish to apply for and then demonstrate how your first degree is relevant. Details of the learning outcomes, indicative content and work based trainee learning guides for each STP specialty can be found on the NHS Networks website More information about the different areas is available on the NHS Careers site.
There is a lot of competition for places on the STP. Knowledge of the NHS and of changes affecting the provision of healthcare would be expected. Any activity which shows a commitment to the NHS and previous work experience in a lab or as a healthcare assistant would help. If you wish to work in the physiological sciences, then experience of working with people in a caring role, or customer service role will help.
Read all information before starting the tests or making an application. The onus is on the candidate to demonstrate the relevance of their degree to the particular specialism. So, you need to think about what specialism you’re interested in (as degrees can usually map onto a variety of specialisms); and read the person spec to check you can demonstrate competence in the skills/knowledge required for that specialism. There is guidance on “what is a relevant degree” in the FAQs on the website. It looks as though around 35% of the total number of applicants fail to make it through the test stage.
Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh Applications
- Welsh vacancies for 2013 are at: www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/documents/829/Piece%20for%20website%20re%20advertising.pdf
- Scottish vacancies for 2013 are at:
- Northern Ireland is not planning to recruit clinical scientists in 2013.
- Clinical Biochemistry www.acb.org.uk
- Clinical Microbiology www.socgenmicrobiol.org.uk and Health Protection Agency www.hpa.org.uk
- Clinical Cytogenetics www.cytogenetics.org.uk
- Immunological Scientists www.immunology.org
- File 154 in the Careers Service
These work in hospitals and related laboratories; providing a range of sophisticated analytical and advisory services to clinicians and other professionals, and/or being directly involved in research projects. Although salary is not high, you can earn an extra £5,000 per annum for a limited amount of night shifts.
Try to get some unpaid work experience in a hospital laboratory as a starting point. Graduates join as Trainee Biomedical Scientists. Training lasts about two years, leading to increasing responsibility for research and management and may include secondment on a part-time MSc at, for example, Westminster University.
Similar opportunities are available in the Blood Transfusion Service and veterinary laboratories.
BMS students should also sign up for email alerts to be notified of any trainee BMS vacancies on the NHS Jobs website www.jobs.nhs.uk
Having an accredited degree means that you only require a year's placement to fill in your log book. If you have an accredited biomedical science degree and the required one year's experience in a hospital laboratory via a sandwich placement which includes the completion of the IBMS Training Portfolio, can apply for Health Professions Council registration www.hpc-uk.org which would allow you to apply for BMS grade 1 posts rather than to trainee posts. The requirements for registration are an honours degree and the IBMS Certificate of Competence. The practical training for the certificate may be undertaken following graduation, but it is also incorporated into sandwich programmes. HPC registration takes 6 to 8 weeks, so it's important to move quickly on this once you have your degree. Most trainee posts for accredited graduates seem to be about Band 4.
For trainee posts of course, you don't have to be registered - just fill in a log book over 1 year, but starting salaries for trainees are lower.
This is what the IBMS says:
"Biomedical scientist is a legally protected title so you must be registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC), the profession’s regulator.
Registration requires completion of an academic programme plus a period of training in an Institute approved laboratory to develop your practical skills and ensure your competence for patient safety. This may occur as part of an integrated degree or may be completed post-graduation. The trainee's progress and competence is recorded in a registration portfolio, which is assessed on completion of training. Trainees whose portfolios meet the HPC's standards are issued with a certificate of competence by the Institute for presenting to the HPC for registration.
Students undertaking Institute accredited integrated BSc (Hons) degrees (also called coterminus degrees) will have this period of training built into the degree and will be eligible for immediate registration at the same time as graduation."
In order to register with the HCPC you need to gain training that is recognised by them. To work as a biomedical scientist in the NHS, you will need to try and secure a trainee BMS position in the NHS, and gain the certificate of competence enabling him to then register with the HCPC.
Vacancies for trainee BMS positions in England and Wales are advertised on the NHS Jobs website www.jobs.nhs.uk
There are links to job vacancy websites in Scotland and Northern Ireland on www.nhscareers.nhs.uk
Graduates with a Biomedical Science non accredited degree: how to become HPC registered and gain IBMS accreditation
Students can apply for positions as Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLAs). If they wish to pursue careers as biomedical scientists who work either within the NHS or for an organisation providing a service to the NHS they must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
The route to achieving this is through an accredited BSc Hons Biomedical Science and a period of registration training in an IBMS approved training laboratory to complete the IBMS Registration Portfolio for the awarding of the IBMS Certificate of Competence. This certificate is used to apply to the HCPC for registration.
Graduates with a non-accredited BSc Hons degree are required to have their qualifications assessed for registration purposes on an individual basis using a form B application, this assessment will advise whether any additional top-up modules are required. You may need to pay £250 to the IBMS to assess your degree and advise if there are additional modules you needs to do. Completion of the Registration Portfolio is still necessary. All graduates who graduate from a non-accredited course are strongly advised to have their existing qualifications assessed prior to enrolling on any further course of study. Please see the IBMS website for further information:
Organisations in Kent Employing Biomedical Scientists
- East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust
- Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust
- Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
- Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
- Medway NHS Trust
- Nuffield Hospital (Tunbridge Wells)
- Chelsfield Park BMI Hospital
- Pfizer Ltd
- BMI Healthcare (Orpington)
- Launch Diagnostics
Since April 2013, Public Health England https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england and local authorities now take the lead on public health rather than the NHS (although some opportunities still exist within the NHS).
Search for NHS public health vacancies on NHS Jobs www.jobs.nhs.uk and take the advanced search link. Then in the “search by skills” field, try keywords relevant to areas of interest such as project manager/officer/assistant, “public health”, “health promotion”, “public health intelligence”, “health improvement” and “epidemiology” - it should then be possible to find jobs in public health that don’t necessarily have the words “public health” in the title.
PHORCaST www.phorcast.org.uk provides an overview of the opportunities found within public health (not just the NHS). Information (including case studies) about working independently in public health, are at www.phorcast.org.uk/page.php?page_id=266
- Example science CV www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/cvexamples.htm
- Interviews for science jobs www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/ivscience.htm
- Institute of Biomedical Sciences www.ibms.org have a vacancy website www.careerscene.com which normally carries lots of job adverts for trainee biomedical scientists.
IBMS Careers Information Sheet https://www.kent.ac.uk/bio/local/teaching/information/careers.pdf
- Careers in Biomedical Science/Research www.academicmedicine.ac.uk portal to information and useful links for anyone considering or pursuing a career in any area of biomedical science.
- NHS Jobs www.jobs.nhs.uk England-wide job vacancy website. More than 500 Trusts currently place vacancies on the site. Type LABORATORY into the search box and it will come up with lots of hospital science vacancies many of which are suitable for new graduates.
- There is a list of recruitment agencies which specialise in recruiting biomedical scientists at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sitephar.htm#agencies
- Health Protection Agency www.hpa.org.uk formerly the Public Health Laboratory Service. Diagnostic service for hospitals.
- www.medrecuk.com online recruitment page that specializes in Doctors, Nurses and Allied Health Professionals.
- NHS Graduate Management Scheme www.nhsgraduates.co.uk recruitment into HR, finance, informatics and general NHS management roles
- Hospital and Other Health Service Addresses www.nhs.uk/servicedirectories/Pages/ServiceSearch.aspx
- See File V2 in the Careers Service.
Last fully updated 2012