To support Healthcare Science Week 2024 we will be showcasing several cardiac scientists inspirational career journeys.

Ceri Roberts – Trainee Clinical Scientist (STP), Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

“My name is Ceri and I am currently in my first year of the Scientist Training Programme (STP), specialising in Cardiac Science. My journey into healthcare science has not been conventional. After completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology, I worked as a support worker in adolescent mental health services, until leaving healthcare all together and moving to London to work in charitable fundraising events for 6 years.

Enter Covid-19 and the pandemic! I saw the pandemic as an opportunity to slow down, take stock and re-assess both my career and personal goals. In doing so, I realised that I missed the impact of helping people on a daily basis and still had the desire to learn. I was drawn to the idea of re-training in healthcare and pursuing a career that would allow me to make an impact to people’s health and help a wider range of people. I joined the Covid-19 front-line and worked as a healthcare assistant, while at the same time studying for the GAMSAT exam with the view of applying to study Medicine. I was then lucky enough to gain a place at Cardiff Medical School to study Medicine with a preliminary year.

During my preliminary year, I also obtained a role as a Cardiographer, part time, at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. Towards the end of this year, the Cardiology department approached me to consider applying as an in-service applicant for the STP programme. It was at this point that I became more aware of the role of healthcare scientists and their contribution to patient care.

Previously, as I’m sure is the case for most, I was only aware of the role of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals such as pharmacists and physiotherapists. I’d never even heard of a healthcare scientist, let alone know what they did. It was only after researching the STP programme along with the role of a cardiac clinical scientist that I realised the widespread impact that healthcare scientists have on patient diagnosis, treatment and monitoring across the hospital. In particular, I realised that a career as a Cardiac Clinical Scientist, would be varied, pivotal in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with cardiac conditions and that there would always be something to learn.

As a “mature” student, work-life balance was very important to me, as well as the ability to fast-track my learning whilst building on my previous experiences and education. I realised that a career as a healthcare scientist would fulfil all of those things and would allow me to make a real impact on patient care, whilst always being able to learn and contribute to future innovations in healthcare. As a result, I took the decision to divert from medicine to pursue a career as a healthcare scientist specialising in Cardiac Science.

So far, my first year has been jam-packed with exciting opportunities, including a 6-week placement in Manchester and rotations in the Vascular and Respiratory departments, which included the opportunity to observe a number of vascular surgical procedures. I’ve been lucky enough to meet likeminded trainees through local groups such as the South West Training Network and the Healthcare Scientist Trainee Network, and I hope to use the rest of the year to visit other cardiology centres in the southwest and beyond, as well as get to grips with the art of ECG interpretation!

I’m excited to see how both the STP and my future career will unfold and I’m keen to use any opportunity I can to spread the word about healthcare science, and integrate it as a viable career option alongside the more conventional professions”.