science careers

May 9, 2024, by pcylr7

NHS Graduate Scientist Training Programme

By Lucy Rayner-Thomas, chemistry student.

I became especially interested in the NHS Scientist Training Programme as I have always been interested in healthcare science and thought it would be amazing to be trained as a clinical scientist and earn a masters in clinical science in the process. One thing that surprised me was how many specialities there were, each demanding skills from a range of different degrees, including biology, chemistry, physics, engineering and many more. 

What is a clinical scientist?

The broad definition is a scientist who researches and develops techniques and equipment to help prevent, diagnose and treat illness. However, I don’t believe that this definition properly encompasses the day-to-day work conducted by all clinical scientists as there are so many specialities with very different roles. Some of the specialities can be more patient-focused, whilst others are lab or computer based. Therefore, to get a proper understanding have a look at what the individual specialities involve.

What is the NHS Scientist Training programme?

It is a three-year fully funded, part-time master’s degree in clinical science, where you will be employed at band six and will spend your time doing in-person work-based training as well as academic learning at a university. You will usually spend the first year working in a range of settings and then specialise in your last two years. There are four main categories that each have their own sub-specialities. These are life sciences, informatics, physical and physiological sciences. This opportunity is open to science and engineering students and there is such a range of specialities to choose from. If you want to learn more about this programme have a look at the YouTube videos and links below.

Note: that each year the number and type specialities offered differs and that the programme is only offered at seven universities (2024).

What is the application process?

You must have a first or 2.1 undergraduate, or a 2.2 if a higher degree has been taken (a masters or PhD). This year (2024) the application window was from the 15 – 29 of January and first step is completing an online application form, detailing how you meet the person specification, including your qualifications, experience and motivation. The second step is an online situational judgement test open from 20-22 February. It is suggested that you allow yourself 90 minutes, with the test itself being 50 minutes and consisting of 25 scenarios each with four or five questions. If you achieve a high enough score, you will then be selected for an online interview, where the questions will relate to science, leadership, values and behaviours.

How can you prepare:

  • Research, research and more research. Make sure you know the job description, person specification, essential skills and experiences etc
  • Undertake relevant work experience.
  • Practice your situational judgement.
  • Practice interview questions and seek help from the Nottingham Careers and Employability Service.

Useful links:

If you’re in your final year of studies and starting to figure out what your next steps will be, explore the ‘Further study’ webpage and discover what’s next for you.

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