Like most teenagers growing up I was slightly unsure what I wanted to do as a career. At college one of the A levels that I chose was Human Biology and I was absolutely hooked. I found the human body fascinating and knew then that my career would involve science in some way.
At university I studied Forensic Science and after leaving felt that this was the route I was going to go down. However I finished in 2008 just as the recession hit and struggled to find a job in this sector. To tide me over I took part in training to become a Health Care Assistant at the local hospital and found that I absolutely loved looking after patients, but I still felt that there was a role out there waiting for me to experience. After being an HCA for a year I then got a job in the Pathology Lab processing blood specimens, I continued to do this for another year.
During my time in the laboratories we used to receive toxicology specimens from the mortuary that had been taken at post mortem. I was really interested in so I messaged the Mortuary manager in the hospital and asked if I could come and have a chat, I wanted to find out a little bit more about the department and the role that the APTs carried out.
As it happens a few months later I was scrolling through NHS jobs and found the Trainee Anatomical Pathology Technologist position was being advertised. I read the job specification and knew that I could this. I’d found the job I was meant to do! I frantically filled out the job application and waited nervously to hear if I had been successful for interview.
I eventually found out that I had been successful and spent even more time really researching everything about the mortuary. I found that a really important part of working in the mortuary was ensuring that HTA rules were adhered to and I made sure to extensively research this area to gain more understanding. I was lucky enough to be successful in interview and began my new job role in 2010.
I began my new job and studying to complete the old Certificate which I finished in 2012. I was lucky to experience a range of different services such as Coronal and Hospital post mortems, Forensic post mortems and Paediatric work. I enjoyed the combination of looking after patients and giving the care and respect I had given to living patients when I worked as a HCA, but I also really enjoyed studying anatomy and the information that the body could give us after death.
I was really keen to continue my learning and wanted to complete the diploma however by the time I had the chance to apply for this course it had become obsolete. The only way I could gain my next level was to complete the new Level 3 Diploma. At first I was a bit frustrated that I had to complete this course before I could move forward and do the Level 4 Diploma but after starting it I realised how much more in depth it was and how much value there was in doing it. I really enjoyed the course and completed it in 2018.
I have now become a senior in my department and have nearly finished my Level 4 Diploma. I have learnt so much in the past 10 years as an APT and that there are so many different parts to being an APT, not just looking after deceased patients, but also the importance of documents, HTA, health and safety, infection control and the bereavement services. There is also a fantastic community that is found through the AAPT and also from doing the APT courses and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of it all.