Science was always my favourite subject at school and I knew from a very young age that a role with a scientific background was something that I wanted to pursue. When I left school I studied Forensic Science and I knew then that Pathology was a subject that highly interested me.
I always wanted to work in a mortuary, because it seemed to have the science role I craved, paired with a caring and compassionate aspect I felt I could offer. I honestly didn’t think I would get the opportunity as I knew it was a hard career to get into, so in 2014 I decided to try and get my foot in the door within the NHS.
I applied for an admin job within Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals and started my career in Medical Records, working there for a year until a MLA job in Biochemistry came up. I took this position as I enjoyed learning new aspects of pathology and laboratory work. I opted to join the trust staff bank, as extra pathology roles such as blood transfusion traceability gave me the chance to get out and meet other departments, staff, patients and visitors whilst learning more about hospital processes.
I was speaking to a colleague about career progression and I happened to say I was interested in the role of the APT within the mortuary. She suggested I contact the mortuary manager here at Queens Hospital and ask if I could have an “Insight Visit” as a CPD activity. As I worked within Pathology and the Hospital at the time, I was hopeful I would be allowed. As well as developing within the Hospital environment I essentially wanted to discover more about the role and see if it would be the right career choice for me.
I had an appointment with the mortuary manager David King, where I had a mini-interview. I had to provide evidence of 100% compliance with Trust Mandatory Training and an outline of some learning objectives for the visit. I was granted permission for an observational visit, that was not to include any aspect of the post-mortem examination. I spent the day in the mortuary speaking to funeral directors, pathologists, and bereavement officers and I even met a family who were attending the mortuary to visit a deceased relative. I fell in love with the staff and the mortuary and the job itself. I knew I was passionate about caring for the deceased and helping with the grieving process with families.
Luckily two months later a Trainee position came up and I was completely overwhelmed and couldn’t believe my luck as a Trainee position in Barking, Havering and Redbridge hadn’t come up in around nine years. I looked into the positon with great detail and applied for the job. Two months later I started as a Trainee Anatomical Pathology Technologist so I must have done something right! I am now four months in and training and enjoying my role. I have learned a great deal and cannot wait until I am qualified. David has been very supportive and has let me experience a lot of different things including going to Great Ormond Street for the day to experience paediatric and perinatal pathology and focus on the consent aspect of the HTA, as we do not provide a perinatal service at Queens, and academic / hospital consented post mortems are few and far between.
Great Ormond Street was very informative and supportive and I am very grateful for all the experiences I have had so far, I am now focusing on my revision, enjoying and working hard to develop in my career and to get the best out of all my training. I am very much looking forward to meeting new people along the way; attending the 13th Annual AAPT Conference in September will be a fantastic opportunity to do that.
Joining the AAPT was the best decision I have made as I have learnt new things from other members and makes me feel as a part of the team and the wider APT Community.