What is your job title?
Associate Professor/Clinical Scientist (Cardiology)
Where do you work?
College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University
What is your specialism?
Cardiac Science – Echocardiography
How did you become a Clinical Scientist?
What does your role involve?
It’s a fantastic mix of scientific leadership, teaching, research and clinical work.
I lead cardiac healthcare science education for the college, working alongside four great team members who I mentor. I support some undergraduate teaching and assessment – mainly professional practice and research projects – but most of my teaching is at post-graduate level. I deliver Applied Pathophysiology and Clinical Assessment modules for healthcare scientists as well as teaching cardiology to nurses/paramedics pursuing non-medical prescribing.
Since completing a PhD in 2016, I have started to establish myself as a non-medical PI, leading a programme of research around point-of-care ultrasound scans in community and primary care. I also lead an out-of-hospital echo service at an award-winning Health and Wellbeing Academy on the uni campus. This is a non-medical facility which accepts NHS, private and research patients.
I was recently appointed Deputy Director of Innovation and Engagement for the College. This has brought new challenges and opportunities as I am actively encouraged to work at a more senior level and think beyond traditional boundaries.
What does a typical day look like in your role?
There isn’t really a typical day, which suits me perfectly. I love a dynamic environment and work best under pressure! Some days will involve leading an echo clinic, other days will be a mixture of lectures, tutorials and meetings. I also have days when I focus on clinical research or spend time developing new ideas.
What is the best bit of your role?
It’s hard to pick one best bit of your dream job but if pushed I’d say it’s professional freedom. I have time to think, time to explore new ideas. I know this is a real luxury and I take full advantage of it. I also have flexibility in my role, I set my own objectives and a work plan that considers personal goals as well as university strategy.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of moving from a practitioner to a scientist role?
Go for it! It’s easily one of the best things you can do to advance your career and improve patient care. But see it as a development route, not a tick-box exercise.
Being a Scientist is about more than how much you know, it’s a way of thinking. Doing the job well takes broad knowledge that extends beyond your specialism. Accept that you might need to identify new opportunities to address gaps in your skills, knowledge and experience. Look at the core and rotational modules in the Scientist Training Programme for ideas about where to start.
Don’t put it off because it’s difficult – just start somewhere. If you’re applying for equivalence, use a coach to make sure you set goals and stick to them! You’re more likely to be successful if someone holds you to account.