Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Spotlight on Healthcare Sciences

Prospective students might not be very familiar with the degrees that we offer in Healthcare Sciences and this post is designed to give a bit of background information away from the formal descriptions on the Plymouth University website.
The accredited Healthcare Sciences degree that we run is split into two disciplines, Life Sciences and Physiology, that are very similar to degrees offered by other institutions in Clinical Laboratory Science and Clinical Physiology. These programmes are designed to train students to work within professional healthcare. Follow the links above for information on applying to study etc.
Physiology incorporates specialisms in cardiovascular, respiratory and sleep science (CVRS) and the Life Sciences program allows students to specialise in  Blood (Haematology), Cellular (Pathology) or Infection (Microbiology and Immunology) Science. 

Official placement tunic for Physiology
Physiology incorporates core training (1st year) in the scientific basis of healthcare, human physiology and pathophysiology, pharmacology and therapeutics, cardiovascular and respiratory physiology. Students will then specialise in years 2 and 3 within one pathway chosen from either Cardiovascular Physiology (cardiovascular physiology in health and disease) or Respiratory and Sleep Science (respiratory and sleep science in health and disease). Additional modules include components in practice and work based learning in healthcare, clinical physiology, instrumentation and techniques, disorders, methods in diagnosis and monitoring, evidence based practice in healthcare including advanced investigations. 
Life Sciences incorporates core training (1st year) in the foundations of healthcare science practice, biomolecular science, cellular and molecular biomedicine and pharmacology and therapeutics.  Students will then specialise in years 2 and 3 within one pathway chosen from: Blood (blood science in health and disease), Cellular (cellular science in health and disease), or Infection Science (Infection Sciences in health and disease). Additional modules include diagnostic and clinical biomedicine, techniques in microscopy and molecular biology, evidence based practice in healthcare including advanced investigations.
One of the really key and attractive aspects of these courses are the work placements. These form an integral part of the course. Over the three years of the degree, you will get almost a whole year of placement in a clinical lab (or labs) or department in the NHS meaning that you are getting highly relevant work experience. Our first cohort of students is on placement at the moment and they seem to be learning a huge amount and enjoying it. The placements are split over the three years as detailed below:

 In order to fit the placements into the academic year, they are held (partly) over the summer so the course requires you to work for some of the time during the normal university holiday period (in much the same way as nursing, midwifery or medical degrees).
When you graduate, you will be a qualified Healthcare Science Practitioner and therefore qualify for direct entry into NHS employment in their specialised field. For instance, you could go on to work in a cardiology department (Physiology) or a Microbiology or Histopathology lab (Life Sciences). Graduates will qualify for direct entry onto the highly desirable Scientific Training Programme (STP). Graduates will also be highly desirable for employment in the private sector within pharmaceutical and healthcare industries due to the practical skills gained during their placements.
Student comments 2012
‘This degree program is not only intellectually stimulating but it allows opportunities of real life clinical exposure and provides a lot of patient interaction. This allows me to combine my social skills with my love of science’
Ali Wong, BSc Healthcare Science (Physiological Sciences).
‘The interaction between academic learning and clinical exposure has created a more dynamic and challenging learning environment’ 
Jamie Walton, BSc Healthcare Science (Physiological Sciences)
“Studying this course provides an invaluable insight into the vital science that underpins medicine. Clinical placements provide a unique opportunity to see and run diagnostic tests, as-well as providing us with the opportunity to make life long contacts within the field of healthcare and biomedical sciences”. 
Neil Marshall, BSc Healthcare Science (Life Sciences)

Additional information
The degrees are accredited by Medical Education England and the National Academy of Healthcare Sciences allowing graduates to be able to apply to be registered by an appropriate professional body for their chosen career path.