Before coming to Cardiff Met I didn’t know that Healthcare Science existed, let alone that it would be the degree I chose to study! Whilst similar to Biomedical Science, the degree has several clinical training placements, is fully funded by the Welsh NHS and allowed me to specialise within my second year. I struggled with my A-Levels and came out with grades that I thought would mean that I couldn’t go to uni. However, I decided to move to Cardiff and enrol on the Foundation Year in Health Sciences, and whilst studying it I had a presentation on Healthcare Science and my mind was made up that it was the degree for me.
A key part of my decision was the clinical training placements: to work professionally as a Biomedical Scientist you need to complete the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) Certificate of Competence. The block placements across the degree ensure you complete this award, in addition to the Practitioner Training Portfolio which meant that I received comprehensive training throughout. I found the thought of block placements daunting at first, but through the “Work Based Training” modules, I was prepared of what to expect on placement.
Throughout the academic year laboratory sessions taught us the essential skills needed within any laboratory, which I could then apply on placement. Whilst on placement, I had a clinical supervisor who ensured I got the best out of the experience, in addition to an academic tutor at university who was always on hand to help.
After finishing the first year of study, I had a six week placement rotating around the major sections of pathology: Infection Science, Blood Science and Cellular Science. This let me see what Healthcare Scientists jobs are like in the field and let me choose the specialism I wanted to pursue for the rest of my degree. Being able to specialise let me focus on an area in which I had the most interest in and let me apply the theory of lectures into real clinical practice and patient cases. Furthermore, the degree is fully accredited with the IBMS and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) meaning that I won’t have to do any top-up modules after I graduate.
I struggle with exams, yet I found there was a really good balance of coursework and exams throughout the degree. In the final year there are no exams, only coursework and the final year project to submit which took a lot of stress off! Coming out with a First Class degree with all essential training completed means that I can register with the HCPC and start looking for jobs as a Healthcare Scientist. I feel well prepared to start working in a clinical laboratory; Cardiff Met couldn’t have supported me any better in my ambitions to become a Healthcare Scientist.