You have already had an introduction to Neurophysiology from my colleague, Lucy Nye, who described how the profession has had to think differently about recruiting trainees and as a result, developed a very hands-on, vocational approach to training.
In this way, Plymouth has been a victim of it’s own success and produced prize winning practitioners who are quickly snapped up by other departments. It can be quite disheartening when departments have invested so much time and effort into developing new recruits and it is fair to say our focus now is very much on developing a strong team which will hopefully make leaving that much harder!
It truly is an exciting time to be working in Healthcare Science
I know it is a cliché, but In Neurophysiology, no day is ever the same. Here in Plymouth we provide a full range of investigations on all types of patients. So, the morning you may be wiring a three-year old up for overnight home video monitoring and in the afternoon you could be testing a patient for progressive eye disease with electroretinography. Our work is as varied thanks to the types of patients we see which, for me, is what attracted me to the profession. The only horizon we have yet to explore is intraoperative monitoring for brain and spinal surgery, something that may change in the future.
The introduction of Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC)
This has pushed Healthcare Science to the fore, recognizing the many different specialities (in excess of 40) and the need for a robust career pathway. It acknowledges the great contribution that the different professions make to patient care. Although this workforce comprises approximately five percent of the total healthcare workforce in the UK, their work underpins 80 percent of diagnosis’ (NHS Employers, 2014).
Lucy described the route to Practitioner level training, but MSC now continues to Healthcare Scientist (Masters Level) and Consultant Healthcare Scientist (Higher Specialist Scientist Training, Doctorate Level). In Neurophysiology, we did not have previous recognised pathways to these levels.
My next step
Recently, I have been fortunate in gaining a place on the HSST program, due to start in September, which is a taught programme run by a consortium of universities.
It is going to be a long, tough course but I am motivated by the challenge and the need to break barriers. In Neurophysiology there is shortage of medics which has left us wanting in the past and this will in part address this but, also, I am motivated by lack of women in the more senior roles within the NHS.
MSC has the potential to change the status quo which will hopefully inspire more to take the challenge. After all, the profile of the workforce (in Neurophysiology at least) is predominantly women.
Nikki is writing as part of the #WeCare2 campaign that will be running across our Trust communications. Look out for more from Neurophysiology, and their AHP and HCS colleagues, on our social media pages, Trust screensavers, Daily Email, Vital Signs and much more.