Thursday, 29 August 2013

Student perspectives - Charlotte McMillan, Healthcare Life Sciences

Healthcare Science Blog
Charlotte H McMillan

As a student on the Healthcare Life Sciences Programme at Plymouth University, I have gained a wide variation of practical and theoretical skills of which I have developed in an academic and placement environment. What is most gratifying about being a student on the Healthcare Science Programme is the integration of academic learning with placement experience. Being situated in a realistic working environment is a highly rewarding experience because I am able to apply my theory gained from University into practice and also develop a range of unique generic and specialist skills relevant to diagnostic medicine. 

I have found the placement experience in the NHS setting to be highly intriguing as it consistently tests my overall understanding of the principles of diagnostic practice. It has also allowed me to appreciate the different roles and responsibilities that are typically found in the real working environment of the NHS Trust. What makes the placement experience more rewarding is the fact that it has allowed me to recognise and develop my own personal goals, such as confidence and communication skills, which in turn have allowed me to flourish as a Trainee Healthcare Practitioner. In addition to this I have also been able to practice within my chosen specialism of Blood Sciences which can only be achieved in the working environment such as the NHS. Asides from acquiring personal and scientific skills, working in the NHS laboratories has also permitted me to build independence and team-working skills of which are essential to Healthcare practice.

Overall my two years of study in Healthcare Science has equipped me with a range of practical, theoretical, personal, and professional skills, all of which are considered relevant to a career in scientific practice. The experience I have gained to date from placement in the NHS has only encouraged me to pursue my career in Blood Sciences Pathology, in which I have met and worked with professionals who share the same passion as I do and have supported me throughout my placement experience.  I believe practicing in the working environment is a highly rewarding opportunity for any student since it allows development of a range of different skills that can only be acquired in such practice. It can potentially establish useful contacts within the NHS which is highly important for any individual who wishes to pursue a career in Healthcare Science. I strongly recommend enrolling onto the Healthcare Life Sciences Programme for any individual who is passionate about modern diagnostic laboratory medicine, has high motivation and ambition when faced with challenges, and wishes to work for the NHS whose aim is to provide optimal patient care and maintain high quality standards of service.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Clearing Places Available!!!

****UPDATE 16/8 09:20****
Still places available on all courses but now very limited - Some places left on Healthcare Sciences courses

We have a small number of clearing places available on all of our degree programmes:

BSc Biomedical Sciences
BSc Healthcare Sciences (Life Sciences)
BSc Human Biosciences
BSc Nutrition, exercise and health

And visit our new school webpage. If you want to apply, visit our clearing pages.

We'll keep these updated throughout the day.......

BSc Healthcare Sciences (Physiological Sciences) FULL

New Departmental Video!

Healthcare Science cardiac crusaders walk for charity!!

A hearty congratulations to Harriet Hogg (2nd year Healthcare Science Physiology student) and Cherith Wood (clinical cardiac lecturer) for successfully completing the 15 mile Midnight Walk in aid of St Luke’s Hospice here in Plymouth on Sat July 27th.
Harriet and Cherith walked as part of the cardiac crusaders team, of cardiac physiology staff from Derriford hospital.  The team successfully completed the 15 miles in 4 hours 43 minutes, they must all be extremely fit!!
If anyone would like to make a sponsorship contribution, please contact the School office.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Final year undergraduates publish in peer reviewed journal

We are quite used to seeing very high quality writing from our students, but every now and again, something exceptional comes up. Dr Andy Foey, Lecturer in Immunology, was lucky enough to have three exceptional pieces of work - he takes up the story:

Eleanor Lyon (left), Holly Hardy (middle) and Jennifer Harris (right) all took The Cellular Basis of Immunity as one of their final year module options. As part of the module coursework, they were asked to write a review of the literature on probiotics. Their work was so good that they were asked by Andy and Dr Jane Beal, the lecturers on the module and experts in probiotics, to combine their work into a review paper which was sent to the journal Nutrients. The review was accepted for publication after peer review and was published on the 29th of May. You can see the paper here (if you are accessing from outside of the University, you may not be able to access the full paper and the vagaries of copyright law do not allow me to put it here - sorry!).

Andy said "This review will stand the test of time with respect to the scientific rigour of probiotic immunomodulation and will be a valuable resource for both researchers and students alike".

As you can see, the students were delighted. Jennifer says "Being given the opportunity to help write this review was most certainly a blessing in disguise; presenting itself as a challenge I thought would be unmanageable alongside my dissertation and final year commitments. However, despite moments of madness, foul language and hair-pulling, the long days and even longer evenings researching, drafting, editing and compiling this review were strangely enjoyable. The process of ploughing through the primary literature was eye-opening, not to mention complimentary to components of my immunology module and generally very interesting. Discussing our initial literature finds with each other, Holly, Eleanor and myself quickly established what bits were "our babies", allowing us to split up the rather daunting writing task ahead of us, into nice bitesize pieces. To start with the review felt like just another essay assignment, but knowing this was supposed to be of a publishable standard was personally extremely daunting. However, over the number of drafts that were written, I was seeing a definite improvement in my ability to critically analyse the literature and write in a clear and concise manner. Of course the contributions we all made were not going to be perfect, after all we're not experts, but with time I felt better about the quality of work we were contributing. Seeing this improvement in my writing and having juggled my academic commitments over the time course of this review project gave me real confidence in my scientific abilities, gave me drive to keep going through exam revision and in fact left me looking forward to writing more publications in the future! Above all, thanks really must be given to Dr. Andy Foey for giving us this opportunity and putting this publication together to the standard that it is.

Full reference to the paper: Hardy H, Harris J, Lyon E, Beal J, Foey AD. Probiotics, Prebiotics and Immunomodulation of Gut Mucosal Defences: Homeostasis and Immunopathology. Nutrients. 2013; 5(6):1869-1912.

This work has now been featured in a University press release and in the Plymouth Herald.