Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust - raising local awareness

SAVE ITEM
Students at science fair

20 / 12 / 2012

Over the last ten years, the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust has been involved in many activities to raise awareness of healthcare science careers.

The department has built close relationships with many local schools across Salford and Greater Manchester, and regularly provides talks on what takes place in a hospital laboratory, along with the various healthcare science career opportunities available.

Various clinical scientists, including some healthcare science ambassadors, medical and biomedical staff have all contributed to events and the preparation of educational materials. The trust is keen to demonstrate the range of career opportunities for school students who have an interest in medical and healthcare science.

First steps

The Department of Clinical Biochemistry initially established links with local schools and colleges. Close liaison takes place with education providers to ensure the most suitable event format is provided for students, maximising value. In a typical year, six events are provided.

An event hosted in a school comprises of:

  • a presentation to a class on possible career paths, scope of the work, skills and qualifications required
  • a practical demonstration, such as using a point of care blood glucose analyser
  • for younger students, fun activities including quizzes and games (e.g. “pin the organ on the body”).

In 2012 the department decided to run extra sessions to tie in and promote National Pathology Year. The events were very similar to those provided to students but with added focus on the contribution of pathology to clinical care.

Salford Royal also runs open days for the public, along with regularly attending school careers fairs. This provides another route to advertise careers in healthcare science, provide advice and guidance on the relevant entry requirements and the various training programmes available. Sources of information and promotional materials used are from The Royal College of Pathologists, Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Lab Tests Online.

The department  is keen to continue demonstrating the range of career opportunities for school students who have an interest in healthcare science.

Links with STEMNET

Dr Darren Powell is a registered STEMNET ambassador within the trust and has been actively involved in two STEMNET linked events per year. More information about STEMNET and how to become an ambassador is available at www.stemnet.org.uk/content/ambassadors.  

Tips for other organisations

Lab visits require particularly careful planning as visitors enter a clinical working environment and patient confidentiality must be protected at all times. The safety and security of visitors is very important and it is therefore essential to limit group sizes and have sufficient staff available.

Liaison, planning and evaluation of feedback is very important, for example considering access into laboratory areas for those with disabilities.

The organisation

Salford Royal is an integrated provider of hospital, community and primary care services, including the University Teaching Hospital. The team of 6,000 staff provide local services to the City of Salford and specialist services to Greater Manchester and beyond. 

Contact

Professor Felicity Stewart, Hospital Dean and Consultant in Clinical Biochemistry, felicity.stewart@srft.nhs.uk.
Dr Darren Powell, Principal Clinical Scientist, darren.powell@srft.nhs.uk.    

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