Throughout my A Levels I was set on studying Physiotherapy at university, however after numerous applications (and zero offers of acceptance!) I decided to take a year out to figure out if it was really what I wanted to do.
In my year out, I worked full time in a busy Hampshire hospital as a Healthcare Support Worker (HCSW). On my days off I shadowed the Physiotherapists and quickly realised that I was not as interested as I thought I was. Working on the hospital wards is physically and emotionally stressful, however I loved learning from the nurses and doctors about a variety of diseases, disorders and treatment options. On the advice of a friend who was studying a PhD in Microbiology I turned my attention to the ‘behind the scenes’ work and found courses in Biomedical Science.
I decided to apply for BSc Biomedical Science (BMS) at Cardiff Met as it is professionally accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science and the Royal Society of Biology. Also, unlike many other BMS courses, all modules were compulsory for each year, meaning there was no specialising early on – perfect for someone who didn’t know exactly what they wanted to do! Unfortunately, my A Level subjects did not meet the requirements to start on the 3-year BMS course, but luckily Cardiff Met offers a 1-year Foundation in Health Sciences course which led directly onto the BMS degree.
Biomedical Science at Cardiff Met has enabled me to gain a deep understanding of human disease and treatment, through laboratory based practical sessions and follow-up assignments in Haematology, Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics. My work as a HCSW, now at the University Hospital of Wales, was particularly helpful in the final year Translational Research module, where we were required to research and investigate current diagnostic tools, treatments and new clinical trials being conducted. The aim being, to understand the journey between the development of treatment in laboratories and how it may help care for patients at their hospital bedside.
Although there are many professions you can continue onto after a degree in BMS such as a Biomedical Scientist, Biotechnologist or Forensic Scientist, I discovered my passion in Genetics and wanted to start a career as a Healthcare Scientist in Genomics. This role means I’d be examining patient samples to identify abnormalities in the genome which may cause a genetic disease. To increase my research experience in Genetics and hopefully better my chance of acceptance onto the Scientist Training Programme to become a Healthcare Scientist, I am starting my MSc in Biomedical Science (Medical Genetics and Genomics) at Cardiff Met this September.
I have loved the 4 years I have spent at Cardiff Met and the skills I have gained and developed are invaluable, as Cardiff Met has given me the tools to exceed and thrive as a healthcare professional. I would highly recommend studying BMS if you are passionate about science and want real experience in laboratories, exciting modules that keep up with current findings, and support from staff that will give you the confidence to start a career as a scientist.