Real-life story - Shazmeen Hansrod
After her degree in pharmaceutical chemistry, Shazmeen was set on studying a PhD until she came across the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP). Today she's on the STP working as a trainee clinical pharmaceutical scientist and she loves it.
How I got into the role/scheme/apprenticeship?
At university, I studied for an MChem degree in pharmaceutical chemistry. My initial plan was to study a PhD straight after my course but, towards the end of my final year, the thought of full-time research was no longer appealing. I realised that I wanted a job with variety so when I came across the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP), I knew it was something I’d be interested in as it had a good mix of work-based training, research and academia.
What I do
As a trainee pharmaceutical scientist, I get involved with a variety of things. On a typical day, I dispense medication and complete quality assurance documentation. As well as having work-based training, the STP leads to a Master's degree, so on some days I work on my project and assignments and revise for exams. I'm also a STEM ambassador so I work with young pupils to increase their enthusiasm for science.
The best bits and challenges
One of the best things about my job is the amount of support I am offered. In both my work-based training and independent research, I have had training opportunities that have been instrumental in my professional development. I am proud of how I have developed my skills and become a valued member of staff.
I am also proud of my awards which were presented at the British Nuclear Medicine Society conference. I was awarded first place student prize based on my abstract submission and the radiopharmacy prize for my oral presentation. In the future, I hope to see my research having an influence on a national scale and leading to the standardisation of the gastric emptying scintigraphy procedure, which has been notoriously difficult to standardise.
Career plans and top tips for others
To anyone thinking about applying for the STP, I'd say go for it! If you're motivated, hardworking and enthusiastic, it's a great way to develop a wide range of skills that you wouldn't typically get in other roles. I'd also suggest spending some time volunteering; I'm a volunteer chemistry tutor with the Access Project and I find that this is a great way to keep up my knowledge as well as helping someone.
Life outside work
I enjoy writing and have a lifestyle blog where I post about a range of things including my life experiences, book reviews and recipes. I believe that having a passion for my hobbies helps me to maintain a healthy work-life balance.