My World of Work Live: Meet the Expert - Healthcare Science - NHS

My World of Work Live: Meet the Expert - Healthcare Science  -  NHS

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hi everyone and welcome to today's meet the expert session i hope you're all well my name is amy and i work as part of the my world of work life team within skills development scotland it is part of our job to help you understand about future careers in scotland and what skills are going to be needed for those roles so today we have james and andy from the nes which is the education body for the nhs and we're really lucky to have them today so today we're going to cover a quick overview of the healthcare sector i'm going to introduce you to our today's experts and then we're going to have a live q and a session i'd encourage you to get as involved as possible by using the question box to the right of your screen it is completely up to you whether to take part or not the questions can be asked anonymously but if you do not feel comfortable with this you don't have to participate if you have a specific question for one of our experts so if you have a specific question for andy please put the expert's name in with the question so we can direct the question to the right expert today's session will be recorded for any young people that couldn't make it today it will be uploaded to the my world of work youtube channel in about a week's time so you can go back and re-watch it and go back over anything that we've talked about today so let's have a quick overview of the healthcare sector so the healthcare industry now is the biggest in scotland over 400 000 people work in the health care industry so this is over 15 of all scottish employment however there are over 5000 vacancies last year most of these vacancies are due to skills shortages so with the healthcare industry becoming more and more digitalized we are missing gaps here with people with their tech skills with their resilience and all of these skills are going to be needed to fill those gaps so from 2019 to 2019 it's estimated that about 80 000 jobs are going to be required to replace demand of an aging workforce and to fill in the skills gaps so along with healthcare science the top five future occupations in the healthcare industry are going to be carers nurses therapists medical practitioners and public health professionals so let's introduce you to our experts today today we are incredibly lucky to have james loki and andy dunn from the nhs they are both healthcare scientists but as you can see on the screen they carry out different jobs so james works with testing and developing tests for research while andy is a bioengineer so today we're going to hear from them and a little bit about their career journeys and you'll have the opportunity to ask our experts any questions you might have so we're going to start off with james who's going to tell us a little bit about his job thanks amy and welcome everyone it's really good to be able to join you all this afternoon and talk about my job um and a bit about how i got to the point i'm at today in my career um so yeah as a healthcare scientist that's a really um broad term it's an umbrella term that covers um a huge variety of roles in the nhs and um i don't know a lot about all of them but i can tell you more about the particular area that i work in which is clinical biochemistry so clinical biochemists are um interested in the diagnosis and monitoring of disease um and that's done by all the samples we get sent to the lab whether it be blood or urine or sweat or other fluids from the body and we process those on a lot of automated analyzers but lots of other specialist equipment and clinical biochemists like myself we look at those results and then try and piece together the information a bit like the pieces of a jigsaw and we work with the clinical teams so we work with the doctors and nurses and try and help come up with come up with an answer to what might be wrong with the patient um i mean there's lots of other aspects to that there's a lot of it's sorting out problems whether that be with the problems before we get the sample we mix up between the label that goes on the sample there could be problems during the process of the sample certainly all problems with the equipment and the quality controls um that make sure we're producing reliable results but it could be afterwards and how we interpret those results so there's quite a lot of um aspects to it um which is what i really enjoy about the role um i suppose i should explain how i got into that role um i started off by doing a uh undergraduate degree in biological sciences um quite a long time ago now um but but you do need that degree um to get into the nhs as a clinical scientist and once you have that um it's a it's a three-year training program to become a clinical scientist um but the training is really really good it prepares you for the job that you do um but also requires further further study so um for example you do an msc as part of that so a higher degree so there's there's a lot of studying to do the job but i find it really rewarding i think that probably sums up how i got into it and what it involves that's great james thank you so much for sharing that with us and we'll ask you some more questions later on we've already got quite a few coming in so next we'll move on to andy and he's going to tell us about his career as a bio engineer hi everyone and thanks amy and james and my name's andy dunn and i'm a bioengineer that works at westmark which is a department which is based at the queen elizabeth university hospital in glasgow and so it's quite a big department it houses the wheelchair and seating service that i work in but also houses prosthetics and also there's a gate laboratory as well and so i work in the wheelchair service and a team of 14 bioengineers and we work alongside a team of occupational therapists as well so obviously everyone knows what a wheelchair is and probably most of you think of a wheelchair as quite a basic four-wheel uh with a sort of basic seat on the top if you like uh my job is to assess patients that need perhaps a bit more support and so people that have got can affects deformities uh or other problems with their posture where they just can't sit in an in a normal seat so sometimes that's as simple as buying off-the-shelf components and just attaching them to quite a basic wheelchair but the more sort of extensive work we do is literally casting patients for a seat so probably the easiest way to think about this is we set patients in two big bean bags and shapes the bags against them to sort of a comfortable position for them and then we take the air out of these bean bags and it goes quite firm and then we use some machinery to take that shape into a computer and then that's cut out of cushions out of foam sorry to make two cushions that basically form a a seat that they're sitting in and so basically tailor making a seat for the patient and then there's a kind of process to manufacture that as well another sort of element of the job if you like as a bioengineer is being a bit like a wheelchair detective so one of the important things we do is if anyone has an accident we look at what happened basically find out who was at fault was it something that the patient did or was there something wrong with the actual wheelchair and the reason that's important is we give our patients to over sorry wheelchairs to over 50 000 patients across the west of scotland and so although we're based in glasgow we cover across the starling down to dumfries and lanarkshire and even up to oban and so we've got quite a lot of wheelchairs out there and if there's a problem with one of them we want to know about it to keep people safe and so i had a bit of a a sort of not a standard route into the the job if you like so at uni i did quite a strange degree which was electronics with music uh basically left school being really good at maths and physics but really passionate about music didn't really know what i wanted to do if i'm honest when i left school so don't panic if you're in that boat uh but when i i went to uni i sort of realized that maybe music wasn't the most stable profession and probably wasn't going to be becoming a rock star anytime soon so it kind of stuck in at the engineering and then ended up doing some postgraduate research with one of my supervisors at the spiral unit which is also based at the queen elizabeth hospital and i really enjoyed working with patients there but quickly sort of realized research maybe wasn't the thing that i was really passionate about and so i wanted more like a sort of sort of hands-on job if you like with patients and so then i was looking around for jobs and there was a position at westmark to basically become a trainee bioengineer there and you basically got taken on and sort of learned on the job and it's quite interesting what james touched on earlier is and we are either clinical or healthcare scientists they're kind of interchangeable terms but it's quite an umbrella term for quite a lot of different jobs so although i'm a bioengineer i'm actually registered as a clinical scientist and there's a sort of there is a prescribed training route that people can go on that james was talking about for three years but i kind of came in in a bit of an equivalent route which was basically i had to learn on the job for three years and basically develop a similar portfolio that you would have to submit at the end to a body to become a registered as a clinical scientist but uh yeah that's me so i've been there in nine years now and thoroughly enjoy it pass it back davey for the minute thank you andrew i really want one of those um bean bag cushions for my desk chair right now very jealous um so we have quite a lot of questions coming through and so i'm going to stick with you andy for the first one so one of our members in the audience is asking what are the most important skills you use and why so organization communication what would do you think are the most important yeah a a really good question i think you touched on one there communication is probably a really big thing actually because uh you can imagine giving wheelchairs out to people we don't give wheelchairs to a specific set of people if that makes sense people can be in wheelchairs for all sorts of different reasons even just because they've got elderly and they're not very mobile uh but uh some young people that have got conditions such as cerebral palsy for example um might have communication difficulties so uh it's not it's obviously you've got to have good listening skills because a lot of our patients come in you have to really listen to them to get to the root cause of what their problem is if you like but but sometimes it's using not just talking to them it might be trying to communicate them with them in a different way some of our patients can only really communicate with some sort of facial expressions uh or some kind of gestures you know so it's quite a challenging job in that respect sometimes trying to communicate with the patients and probably one of the other big skills i would say is problem solving so it's kind of classic engineering if you like there's a problem and what's going to be the most effective solution so i would say probably they're the two main things i would say problem solving and communication that's perfect thank you andy james um because your job is slightly different do you agree with andy in those skills or do you require a different set for what you do yeah similar um i would i would agree with andy on communication but the slight difference in my job compared with andy's is i don't communicate with patients directly so i communicate with other staff in the lab and i communicate with the people ordering the tests whether that be nurses or other doctors in the hospital or general or gps so it's usually other professionals in the nhs but communication is really really important because you need to make sure that the advice that we give across is really clear and um there's no um there can be any confusion caused by what you're saying so good verbal communication um because we do a lot of the the communication on the phone um or in person but we also um reply to emails and things where our gps might email us for some advice so you you need to be really clear there [Music] but also the problem solving as well yeah if there's a problems with one of our tests and we think the results are are not quite up to scratch then we need to get to the bottom of that quite quickly and so yeah you definitely need strong problem-solving skills as well so yeah those would be my top two actually so yeah i agree with andy perfect thank you james we'll stick with you for one more question so someone is asking do you need to go to uni to get a job with the nhs so um there'll be lots of jobs in the nhs where you don't um require a degree um i mean there's such a huge organization there's a whole variety of roles there'll be roles in i.t um human resources um trying to think um domestic services you know there's so many so many aspects so no i don't think you absolutely necessarily need to have a degree um in labs where i work um a lot of the roles require a degree there's also a branch in the workforce and labs that are termed um biomedical support workers so you can do that without a degree you do require qualifications beyond school and i can't quite remember the names of those qualifications but um yeah it's not absolutely essential so and some people come in without a degree and will go on to do a degree on the job um a bit like what andy described as a work based um training program so yeah there's different ways and it really depends on on the actual role that you're interested in thank you james that's really interesting so we'll give you a little break and we'll ask andy a question now so andy a lot of our young people are thinking about their cv and thinking about how to start getting into the industry so they're asking how what sort of experiences should you have on your cv and how do you show on a cv that you know you have these skills or you have good communication yeah i mean it's probably difficult at the moment uh i've said this other people recently where probably when you're applying for potent i mean to become a clinical scientist james is right you would need to go to uni because they'll look for a science or engineering degree but if you were then applying for like the training scheme to become a clinical sinus you'd probably want to visit departments which is obviously extremely difficult at the moment with the pandemic and everything but hopefully in time a bit a bit more back to normal i'd certainly reach out to departments if possible because it's such a wide area uh healthcare science maybe trying to visit some departments to get an idea of what they do would be a good idea but i mean even just demonstrating things like communication i'll be honest and say i wasn't a big fan of english as a subject at school but actually i appreciate now why people encouraged me to take a like higher level when i was at school because actually the reason you do english is to develop your communication skills i probably naively thought i didn't like english because i wasn't massively into reading books but that's not really the reason i was learning those skills if that makes sense so uh i mean i would get a to get into kind of science i mean you probably want a good grounding of like maths and obviously the science subjects obviously if you're thinking about doing science or engineering at university or even i did technological studies was a subject when i was at school but yeah i would i can't believe i'm going to say this if the 18 year old self would probably be horrified but i would definitely recommend english for developing good communication perfect some very great advice there for our young people today so we'll ask you another question uh we've got so many coming through so we'll try and answer as many as possible but this is a very nice one i'd be quite interested to know who influenced you the most to pursue a career in the healthcare sector yeah do you know that's quite a difficult question to answer er i think i think when uh i think like i said my left school's really good at maths and physics my dad's an engineer so i think i've got that element of kind of problem solving i feel like an engineering kind of interest from my dad and my mum was a bit of a carer when i was younger so i've almost got a bit of a mix of my dad's kind of engineering solving skills and maybe my mum's kind of natural ability to care for people which is kind of translated into working with patients i think probably an influence as well as my wife she is a nurse so when i was at uni she was at uni as well studying nursing and probably just some of the stories she was telling me were probably quite interesting so probably i was quite keen to get into that and then finally when i was at uni although i was studying engineering one of my lecturers was doing research in the spinal units although he was an engineering lecturer he was looking at using engineering to help people with spinal cord injuries exercise and so he was probably quite a big influence on me as well so so probably my parents my wife and one of my lecturers probably will blame all of them that's a great way to look at the blend of your parents career coming together so um we'll ask james the same question actually so who influenced you to pursue healthcare science that's a really good question i've been sitting trying to come up with an answer while andy was speaking um and i don't know if i've quite got a good answer but i was always just interested in science as a kid um i i knew i wanted to work in science but i didn't know which particular branch or which area and was interested in all sorts you know whether it be the universe in space or biology or plants i just was always interested in it my parents um didn't do a job like this my dad was a joiner before he retired and my mum was a shop assistant we came up work while we were kids and growing up so i was the first in the family to go to uni so i'm not i really don't know what inspired me to go to uni and do that other than just natural interest in it um and then yeah i i sandy touched on family they do have a big influence on you met my wife um and and work so we worked for a drugs company um after we did our degrees that's where we met we worked for a company that tests drugs um in a lab so um that had a big influence as well on me and deciding whether i whether i should stay in science or get something a bit more secure because i didn't say the start i did a spell in research which was really exciting and i went to boston um that was that was really good being able to work in research over in the us but um i suppose as i sort of started to have my own family i wanted something was a bit more secure and that's where um i found out about the job in the nhs and i think that had a big influence on it as well because it's it's quite a stable career path once you're in the nhs you know it is a job for life so that had a big influence on me too that's lovely thank you james so i'll stick with you for this question we'll ask james andy after uh so what is the most enjoyable part of your job it's i suppose it's ultimately um knowing that the the contribution that i make it's um it's helping patients and although i don't see the patients um i realize that um the answers that we come up with do help towards patient care and you know everybody uses the nhs so it's it's quite nice to be a nice feeling to be part of that contributing to to something that helps society i suppose um i mean that sounds really altruistic but it's yeah i mean it's being able to do what you enjoy the problem solving and using the signs that i've been interested in and developed but being able to use that and apply that to to help patients i think um i also do quite a bit of teaching now um which is an area that i never really thought i would be particularly good at or or enjoy because it one job i knew i didn't want to do after uni was become a teacher i don't think i wasn't naturally suited to it but i teach other students other trainees um hoping to do my job also like the medics who interpret the results um i did quite a bit of that in my job and i do quite get quite a lot out of that so yeah i'd say the helping patients and teaching are probably my two two favorite parts excellent and andy what is your favorite or most enjoyable part of your job it's probably a reasonably similar answer to james to be honest they're kind of helping people really is the kind of kind of the crux of the crux of it i think i mean it's not surprising i think to be honest if you ask the majority of people that work excuse me within the nhs then you know i mean they're in a an organization like the nhs to help people uh but yeah i really enjoy working with patients and i'm quite fortunate that i cover a particular area so although westmark covers the the west of scotland i feel like i specialize in covering literature uh and adults as well so i cover anyone over 18 in lanarkshire and because of the nature of the work that we do we see the patients that have got more complex needs we actually see the same types of patients maybe once or twice a year if that makes sense we end up because i've worked in that area now for five or six years kind of developed quite a nice relationship with the patients and whether it's their families or their carers when they return it's quite nice you know i mean you kind of catch up on what they've been up to uh it's probably not too dissimilar to them coming into a gp's appointment hopefully because it's a kind of familiar face when they come in so there's a bit of chat as well as helping out with whatever it is they need done to their wheelchair but but yeah just working with the patients and also being able to fix whatever their problem is hopefully and obviously being able to see the positive impact that has on them it's quite good yeah it must be a very rewarding job as well um so touching on the training programs that you mentioned earlier andy how do our young people find out about the work based programs within the nhs do you know uh so probably there's quite a few kind of organizations if you like so uh like obviously james and i work for nhs education for scotland so uh we work for the healthcare science team within that and certainly getting in touch with our team we could point you in the right direction but in terms of kind of physics and engineering and there's a body called ipam which is the institute for physics and engineering and medicine and there's also the academy for healthcare science and so these kind of organizations if you looked on their websites they would give you a whole host of information uh regarding all the different i mean healthcare science is one aspect to it but there's also uh there's other jobs there's like healthcare technologists and i think i touched on that in a session we had before amy where uh you mentioned there's kind of like modern apprenticeships as well we've had somebody we've got a big dip over at yoker that manufactures some of the kind of custom-built stuff that we do and we had a guy that came through the modern apprentice program and worked there so he kind of did a few days work for us a week and also uh went to college so so yeah definitely the organizations i mentioned or get in touch with ourselves at nest we could hopefully point you in the right direction because there's quite there's quite a few different routes and there's a lot there's a big variety of jobs so it's quite a difficult thing to initially point somebody in one direction if that makes sense i know that's quite vague but thank you andy not vague at all so ask the next question to james uh we do have a lot of questions so i'll try and answer as many as possible so one of our young people is wondering um does it make an impact if on what university you attend does it make a difference if you attend you know oxford or just you know an average university does that affect you know getting into the career at all i wouldn't have thought so um to be honest i think probably more about um what you achieve in your degree i think i mean it's competitive to get into you do need um at least a um two one or a per second class degree but many will have first class degrees um that are successfully getting into clinical scientist training programs um and often they'll have actually experience and qualifications beyond that so i've got a phd which i did before i got into um this it's not necessary but many of us do because he probably picked up on what i've been saying so far there's a lot of um technologies and new tests and things so having those research skills that you get in a phd help um but no i i don't think the the university is crucial you would need to get a good result though i think that's weird to see perfect so we'll stick with you to ask another question james um so a lot of our young people are thinking about their cvs already which is fantastic um in particular we have quite a few questions really into sort of extracurricular activities or volunteering or duke of edinburgh so what sort of volunteering or activities do you think would be good to have going into applying to university or a job in the healthcare sector that's quite a tough one um i think yeah do what you enjoy doing first and foremost i don't think you should do things um because you think it will help you go down a particular route um no that one stumped me a bit we can pass over to andy if he won yeah yeah yeah back on that one yeah i like i like what you said about in doing something that you enjoy though that's probably the most important thing but andy do you have anything to add i think i'm gonna struggle here as well it's quite a difficult question but i think james is right i mean i think if i'm honest if you looked at my sort of cv when i came out of school it was like it was all going to be heavily music or anything i was in like loads of bands and stuff when i was at school and i played a bit of sports i had played rugby and stuff but i think things where you're probably working with a team is probably quite a good thing you know whether that's sport music you know if you're in a an orchestra or something uh or like you mentioned i think someone mentioned duke of edinburgh so perhaps if you're involved in like the cubs or the scouts these kind of organizations i think being able to demonstrate that you're good at working with other people that actually develops communication you know you have to adapt your communication to a wide variety of people but i would totally agree with james as i'd like to think yeah you know stick to what you're passionate about and hopefully that influences what you do for a job rather than try you know i mean steering yourself towards something because you feel you have to uh yeah i would agree with that yeah that's great i think it's important to mention as well whether it be extracurricular activities or you know a part-time job that our young people might have to take the experience from that to help you rather than seeking out new experiences to transfer your skills instead of trying to start from scratch and so andy can we ask you another question uh so someone is wondering if you can please give them some tips for writing a personal statement for becoming a clinical scientist or an engineer and want to pass it on to james after yourselves have i got a pass i'll check it you can pass if you wish that's again that's quite difficult it's probably i mean i guess it's just highlighting your strengths i guess it's like again it's probably i would and this might sound silly and obvious but don't don't fabricate things you know don't don't make it you're something that you're not because that's just gonna it might get you into something but then that would probably just become clear quite quite quickly that maybe your strengths aren't where you you thought they were or you've made out that they were so just be true to yourself you know it's whatever your strengths are and highlight and emphasize them and just make the most of whatever experiences you've had in life so whether it's things at school like you said extracurricular things can be just as important as your your grades at school so whatever you've done and achieved uh just yeah emphasize them and probably reflect as well so think about like you said not only what have you achieved by you what did you get from those things and so probably a bit of reflection uh yeah i'm not sure if you get much more advice than that i think because it's quite a personal thing you know it's gonna it depends what what experiences you've had so far those are some great tips thank you andy james do you have anything to add to that any golden nuggets of wisdom that you've collected over the years um no i think andy touched some important points about um highlighting your strengths obviously i mean you're trying to sell yourself but it has to be an honest you know an honest picture of who you are and what your your main selling points are um a bit of advice i was given over the years was to um it's more for application forms trying to line up your your skills and your strengths with the the um what we call the person's specification you know what what they're trying to look for in in the post that they're trying to fill um so yeah trying to highlight the really important ones that match up with what they're they're looking for and that'll be different for each of the roles but you know if it's a if it's a healthcare scientist rule it'll probably be things like problem solving and communication so if you can say you know you've done team sports you've got good team skills and um and you communicate well then then i think that would help i think perfect yeah that's perfect thank you james and we have another question um asking about your internship yes what was it like working in america and is there any differences between the us and the uk um it was amazing yeah thoroughly enjoyed working in boston it's just a really amazing city um in terms of just so much going on if you like um sports and um going to visit really nice places but the actual work was really interesting as well so i worked in a research lab over there and to get into that i just speculatively wrote off to loads of labs and just said look i really want to come and get some experience there's quite a lot of rejections but one or two invited me um to come for interviews so i went over for a bit of a holiday and and went to visit these labs and um had interviews with with some of the the people over there and got invited to to work in a research lab culture is a little bit different in america so we get less holidays um and then academic research it was very very intense in terms of you know people would put in long long hours um but yeah you got a lot out of it i mean some of the the research there is it's world renowned and get gets published in like the top journals etc so that was a really useful experience for me to get into to do my phd and getting into the job that i'm doing now um but yeah if you if you if you like traveling then i would recommend um working overseas in america was a really good place to to work um and and now's the time to do when you're when you're young i suppose um it just gets a bit more difficult as you get older yeah that's great advice and i am doing the same although my internship is in inverness not quite the us but maybe one day um if we move over to andy i'm just going to ask some a couple of quick fire questions before we move on to the last one because we're running out of time so the young people are wondering sort of a ballpark figure of salary first of all for the job that i do uh or are healthcare scientists in general you don't have to give specifics i would think i'm not sure horribly i don't know what band james is on for example but i would say like an average maybe a band seven at the moment probably tops out i think it tops out higher than i think it is i'll probably say about 45k but you don't start on that if that makes sense as increments so i think it starts maybe 30 to 35 this is once you're registered as a clinical scientist uh when i was a trainee i was a band six for example maybe the starting salary was somewhere between 25 to 30k i'm plucking numbers out here and then yeah but by the time you're at the top of a band seven you could get up these days and get up to like 45 46k but i mean if you get into management in the nhs you can get i mean some of the managers get paid 60 70 k so that might be surprising for some people you know people might not think people on the nhs can earn that much thank you for sharing that with us andy um so have one last question for both of you i'm so sorry that we can't answer everybody's but just a nice one to end on just if you have any snippets of advice for anyone applying or thinking about pursuing a career in the healthcare sector if you get a couple of a minute or so each to answer that and then we can finish up so we'll start with you andy so kind of golden nuggets you're probably covered i think yeah racking my brain here uh i think i think like what i said earlier just play to your strengths you know kind of james's echoed the same things you know think about what you're good at that's kind of what although i had came out of school not having a clue what i wanted to do i kind of relied on at that point what i was good at and i think i've always kind of fell back on that and that's kind of i've kind of done okay if that makes sense because there's no point don't give up i was really passionate about music but perhaps didn't have the talent to back it up so uh so maybe it was a bit more reliable don't get me wrong i've got a real respect for people that particularly that they're in the artistic kind of areas where they really want want to succeed at these things but i think if you fall back on where your natural strengths are then you'll probably do well in life so i would that would be my top tip thank you andy and james any last words of advice for our young people today um no i'd agree with andy do do what you enjoy and um the opportunities have come from that i think um a way to get into so find out more about science beyond schools is to do the sort of things of the holidays whether it be like the big science festival that's usually happening in the spring but obviously with the pandemic that that's going to have a new look but there's so much going on online now um you can seek out um what's going on there or you know is it a science club in your school or could you even like suggest setting one up or something and that might you know play into sort of leadership skills and teamworking and things like that um but yeah just just doing what you enjoy i think sums it up perfect thank you so much to you both for answering all our questions today i've thoroughly enjoyed it and i personally have learned a lot that i didn't know about healthcare science so i'd like to say a massive thank you for your time today um and thank you to the audience for all your questions i'm so sorry we couldn't answer them all but we had an influx of questions which is great and hopefully following up that you can find out information on my world of work dot co dot uk where you will find lots of job profiles not just in the health care sector there are also lots of tools that will help you identify your own strengths your own skills and you can always talk to your careers advisor as well if you'd like to find out about any apprenticeships either modern foundation or graduate you can head over to www.apprenticeships.scott so thank you so much for today i hope you have a lovely afternoon and thank you for joining you

2021-01-11 10:11

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