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Student’s placement in CMFT laboratories was a perfect platform to begin a career in pathology

Thomas MaultA former bursary student who has now secured a job in laboratory medicine at CMFT has told how his placement in Manchester gave him the perfect platform for his future career.

Thomas Mault joined the Haematology and Transfusion laboratory teams for his placement as a bursary student from Salford University.

Each year, a small number of students are offered bursary placements in the Directorate of Laboratory Medicine, making the most of the experience and expertise of our staff to develop an understanding of pathology and to learn some of the skills needed for a career in the lab.

Thomas said: "I spent a few months in each of the sections of the laboratory: automation, red cell, specialist coagulation, and transfusion.

"This gave me an understanding of work flow throughout the entire laboratory which is essential for when the time comes to apply for a job.

"I also spent some time in other areas including Immunology, Histology, and Specimen Reception.

"Since I could apply for jobs in any discipline when I had finished university as an HCPC-registered Biomedical Scientist, it is a fantastic idea to see the whole pathology process.

"On my placement, I completed my IBMS portfolio, which is necessary to apply for a role as a Biomedical Scientist. This means I left university with valuable work experience and the means to start a career straight away."

The Directorate of Laboratory Medicine at CMFT has strong training links with Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford and MAHSC (Manchester Academic Health Science Centre). We are also committed to the Modernising Scientific Careers strategy.

Bursary students are offered a year-long placement in which they are able to be trained and to complete their IBMS registration portfolio, allowing HCPC registration as a band 5 Biomedical Scientist at the completion of their degree. Without a placement year, students must attempt to find a training job as an unqualified member of staff in order to complete IBMS and HCPC registration.

Students on a placement receive a nominal bursary to cover travel expenses. They work at CMFT full time during their training, with one half day per week away from the lab allocated for on-site study.

At the end of the placement there is an inspection and examination by an IBMS-appointed Biomedical Scientist.

Thomas added: "Within the haematology laboratory I learned how to perform full blood counts, malaria screens, glandular fever tests, how to make a blood film, plasma viscosity tests, I used HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) to identify haemoglobinopathies, I performed intrinsic and extrinsic coagulation assays, thrombophilia tests, the list really does go on and on.

"Before I started my placement I only knew a few of these tests but with the exceptional training by the laboratory staff, I was completely competent at the end."

Now Thomas has rejoined the Haematology and Transfusion team as a permanent member of staff, having secured a job after completing his degree.

And he is keen to encourage others who get the opportunity to make the most of what is on offer.He said: "I would recommend any student to go on placement at Central Manchester University Hospitals. It is the perfect environment to learn while always putting patient care first.

"Anyone who receives the same placement that I did will walk away with an exceptional experience that leaves them fulfilled, employable, and ready to help patients."