Life as an IBMS UK NEQAS student
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Life as an IBMS UK NEQAS student

Hi, my name is Mariam Habib and I am currently a placement student working in UK NEQAS for Microbiology.

Why did you choose to study Biomedical Science?
Diagnosis and prevention of disease, monitoring of treatment, and overall assisting with the healthcare of patients is what governed my choice to study Biomedical Science. I have a passion for healthcare, with a future desire to protect the public and improve people’s quality of life. This degree is suitable for me because I have always enjoyed science and it enables me to pursue a career that involves helping others.

How and why did I apply for the placement year?
At university all students were encouraged to do a professional placement year and a lot of placement opportunities were advertised via email.
Public Health England was the first organisation that I had applied to complete a placement year with and I am glad that I have been given this amazing opportunity to work with such an accredited facility, that conducts clinical research and development, contributing to public health.
I applied for my placement year and was shortlisted for an interview and then finally offered the placement.
All placement students were allocated different departments to work and due to me expressing my interests for external quality assessment (EQA), I was placed into UK NEQAS.
I applied for the placement year in order to make an informed decision, on whether becoming a biomedical scientist is the right career for me. I wanted to contextualise all the theory learnt at university into practice and I wanted to complete the IBMS portfolio, to enable me to be in a great position for a Biomedical Science career, once I graduate.

What have I learnt so far in UK NEQAS?
In comparison to when I started, I see a big change in myself in terms of professionalism and skills that I have developed. Through training, UK NEQAS has allowed me to practice a wide variety of processes, which has helped me enhance my diagnostic skills and have outstanding attention to detail. I have improved on basic and technical laboratory skills through working in the laboratory.
I have been able to embrace a wider community of biomedical scientists through attending various external events such as the UK NEQAS annual consortium day and the UK NEQAS Microbiology annual Scientific day. Time management and organisation is an aspect I have become better at, through balancing my workload in the laboratory, tutorials and portfolio. I have really enjoyed learning about different microorganisms, relating them to clinical situations and creating simulated specimen samples to provide EQA for participants.

The benefits for completing a placement year in UK NEQAS
It is an invaluable experience, where I have been given many opportunities to develop as a professional individual, through transferable skills such as communication, presenting publicly, teaching students and writing articles.
Within a working environment, I have learned about adhering to health and safety regulations with awareness of risk assessments and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).
I have been able to utilise the databases and systems in a professional setting.
I have become competent in the laboratory using specialist equipment, having good laboratory practice and gained hands-on experience conducting different processes confidently.
In UK NEQAS I have been able to work with a range of techniques and have had multidisciplinary training, which involves areas of microbiology including bacteriology, mycology, parasitology and virology. This has been beneficial because I have gained so much experience and knowledge.
I have the opportunity to complete the IBMS registration training portfolio, which entitles me to HCPC registration, enhancing my employability.
I have been able to attend many conferences allowing me to network with professionals.
This placement has allowed me to understand the importance of monitoring quality through internal quality assurance and EQA.
Moreover, another benefit is having a really friendly, helpful and supportive team, helping me achieve excellence with their expertise.

The challenges faced whilst completing the placement year in UK NEQAS
There are many benefits but there have been challenges too, with a busy and sometimes changing workload and through this I have learnt how to prioritise my work by communicating with my team members and supervisor. This has helped me adapt to different situations quicker and given me an insight into the real working environment. Also, it has helped me improve on time management. These skills will definitely help me in the future.

Mariam Habib

The Journey of the Laboratory Manager in UK NEQAS
The Journey of the Laboratory Manager in UK NEQAS

Priya Patel
UK NEQAS Microbiology
20th June 2019

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