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Positives from HSST

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May 25. 2016
Kathryn Jones

Hi All,

Thanks very much for filling in the surveys that I have sent out to you. I am finding them useful for feeding them back to the School at various meetings but following the results of the last one, there are a few things I wanted to raise on here.



Can people use this feed to share some positive experiences from HSST please? There were not that many positives brought up in the survey and I wanted to know if I had just pitched it wrong! Additionally, the common comments seemed to be along the lines of not really doing any HSST work at the moment or not really knowing where to go next. If we can share some positive things on here, it might also help other trainees to see what is going on outside their lab and how they can push on their own training. 

For example: Julia and I recently sat down with one of our Genetics registrars here in Liverpool to learn a little bit about how their training works, since this program is supposed to be based on the same thing. The way that they approach things has given us some really good ideas to take forward with our own training, but also has started a conversation with our clinical colleagues about how they can support us with our training. This has included support with respect to some of the specific modules we have to so in the second part of our HSST, and also might help to generate some ideas for innovation projects further down the line.



Are there any ways we can improve communication with each other? This forum generated some good conversation early on, but recent posts have only had one or two replies. I understand the irony of asking why nobody is replying to the forum on said forum - but what works for you? 

We briefly discussed ways of forming better networks at the last Trainee Rep meeting and so I wanted to come back to you and ask what would work? Would you like regional networks like there are with the STPs, making it easier to communicate and work with other HSSTs in your region? Would you like more things being posted to forums like this one, and the more it gets used the easier it is to remember to use it?


I wanted to raise this here to try and generate some conversation, rather than individual emails or surveys. Please post something in reply, even if it is to say that you don't like posting on forums!!


Thanks, and hope HSST is treating you well!!

May 26. 2016
Ronnie Wright

Hi Katy


I get an e-mail update when there is new content on here. I'm not sure whether that is the case for everyone else?


I agree that it is good to share some positives, or at least things that others can take on board when planning their own training. Until recently, at any one time I've been focussing on single aspects of the programme without taking a step back to see what is going well and what needs more attention. Hopefully the annual review process will ensure we do that. Perhaps people could share any thoughts after we've all had a review?



May 26. 2016
Isabelle Delon

Hi Kathryn,


Thanks for the work that you are doing for the HSSTs. I agree that it is important to share positive experiences, even if sometimes they are difficult to take out of context. I guess the nature of the training, ie trainee-led, means that we will all be having to take the opportunities that the local environment provides, or make them happen! But here are some of my positive experiences over the last year or so:

-As I trained as a molecular geneticist, I moved to the cyto team to acquire a whole lot of competencies in that area like array analysis and QF-PCR. Being part of the team, I have learnt to deal with all pre and postnatal referrals and I am now competent to fulfil the duty scientist role. I have been there 8 months now and it has been very rewarding to acquire this 'landscape' view of genetics that is missing when working strictly in molecular, and I feel a much more 'complete' as a geneticist.

-Our cyto team has actually become the 'Dev Delay' team and in return from all the training I got here, I am involved in developping and training the team for the molecular testing that they will have to take responsibility for in the near future, ie gene panels for any intellectual disability and dysmorphism syndromes. Having acquired some of the cyto background, I feel that I can make a difference to integrate both disciplines, which is an important stream of reorganisation of the genetics labs. From this I get a really good experience in setting up a new service.

-To get some understanding of the acquired disorders side of genetics, I went to spend two weeks in the heamato-ocology service in our hospital. I bought the HODS bible book and just sat around talking to lots of different people, watching tests being done and interpretations, walking around the histopathology department and discussing pharmacogenomics. At downtimes I read my book to make sense of what I was being shown and get deeper understanding. This is by no means making me competent to work in this area, but I got a very good view of the integrated services there and how this relates to what we do in my service. I guess that ticking the box 'working accross boundaries' as I met lots of new people with a diiferent view the world and what they need to do their job.

These are only a few examples of really positive things. I have been lucky to be given very good independance to manage things, and although at times I would like to be better supported, at least I have the freedom to design my own experiences.

One crucial thing that I think is missing is better recognition of the HSST program. It feels a bit like nobody really cares or is interested, and as a consequence there isn't much proactivity from the department to help me acquire for example management and strategy experience. I don't think that HSSTs are being treated like SpRs at all, but just like any other clinical scientist and this is really infuriating me. I don't feel any positive return from having got the position (neither from having passed the Part1 the year before...). The meritocratie system is simply non-existant. I would be interested to know what other people have encountered in their own department. A local/national network should definitely work on raising our profile so that we get exposed to higher level things.

Looking forward to reading about other people's stories!



May 31. 2016
Kathryn Jones


I think that this will develop useful discussion as we all go through the formal review process, and hopefully people will come out of that and share things on the forum here too.


Are there other avenues that would work better for people when it comes to sharing/working together? Twitter? We could create a HSST account and some #'s as an easier way of instantly commenting on things? A Facebook group where it might be easier to post longer things? I am (obviously) quite focused on Genetics and am aware we have modules coming up that are going to be difficult to cover in our own labs and it would be useful to work together, supporting each other?


Isabelle - your comment about the recognition for HSST has been made a number of times in the survey I recently sent out and it is something we are going to raise at the next meeting with the school. But what we need to come up with together is ideas for how we can engage our own depts/trainers - because if it is something we need support from the school for (eg webinars, trainer days etc) then it would be useful to take the ideas to the meeting too. I do think the first response to anything we take to them would be 'how would you like to approach this?' - so we might as well be proactive!


Hope you had a nice bank holiday!

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