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Student experiences

On this page you will find real students who have written about their experiences of healthcare science degrees and the Practitioner Training Programme. 


Philippa D'Arcy-Grover

I have just completed my second year of the Healthcare Science Pathology Sciences course at the University of Portsmouth, during which I also completed a placement in a clinical microbiology laboratory. I have always had a keen interest in science and as a joke would often tell people that I loved diseases, which developed into my love for biomedical science and in particular microbiology.

The thing that attracted me to the Practitioner Training Program was the placement aspect. Placement is great it allows me to see the practical aspect of the 'science' I'm taught at university in a real-life clinical setting. Although I thoroughly enjoy placement and the course I have to work hard to ensure I use my time effectively and complete the required work to a high standard as life as a Practitioner Training Programme student is demanding!

Since being on placement I have worked with a variety of clinical microbiology specimens and have really felt like I'm part of the team involved in providing patient care, diagnosis and treatment. Everyone in the laboratory and in the hospital in general is always happy to help with my training and provides a great deal of support when I need it.

Whilst on placement I have also participated in some patient-facing roles and again the university provides simulation beforehand. These are really helpful as they give you an idea of what to expect from the real-life situation. The actual aspect of meeting the patients is also really helpful and useful as it provides a face for the samples received in the laboratory and allows you to see the whole picture and become aware of the other members of staff involved in patient care.

After I have completed the Practitioner Training Program I am hoping to go gain a place on the Scientist Training Program and I feel that the Practitioner Training Programme will be a great help for this as it will give me practical experience that I would be able to use and build upon whilst completing the Scientist Training Program.


Ryan Arnold

I’ve just finished the first year of the healthcare science Practitioner Training Programme at Portsmouth University and I am very enthusiastic and excited about the next few years of my course.

I first heard about the course at an open day, while I was initially interested in studying biomedical science. After hearing an introduction to the Practitioner Training Programme, it sounded like the course for me.

A benefit of this course is that it allows me to go on placement. Travelling there does take some time but once I'm at Salisbury District Hospital I am one of the team. This combination of learning at university and then going on placement helps me to reinforce and apply my knowledge and has really improved my learning.

The course will continue to give me a huge headstart in life. When I graduate, not only will I have already had three years of work experience, but I also would have been trained in a clinical environment. I have had the opportunity to meet patients, get to know how other departments within the hospital work and further understand the role of the healthcare science workforce.

From talking to trainers within other hospitals this year I have managed to get paid work as a biomedical support worker within Southampton General Hospital. Not only will this enhance my CV but it will also develop my knowledge and create opportunities for me when I graduate.

While on placement you are still a student but you have to grow up quickly and realise that the samples in front of you are real patient samples. It has changed me for the better and to any student who is thinking about taking this course all I would say is think about what you are going to university for! If it is to find a course which will give you so much more, and if you are not afraid to give up your time, I would recommend the Practitioner Training Programme. It allows you to experience the environment where hopefully you will end up working and overall gives you a better university experience.


Yamuna Taank

Life as a Practitioner Training Programme student is challenging, but in a fun and enjoyable way. There is a good balance between social and academic life and there are so many different things to get involved in there’s never a boring or quiet moment!

I’m studying the audiology Practitioner Training Programme. As part of this I have studied, amongst other things, some ear-related pathologies, different tests for hearing and function of the ear, along with the different measurements that can be taken.

I also go on placement as part of the course. Life on placement is interesting as you are able to put into practice all the theory you have learned. It’s fun to think on your feet, challenge yourself and recall the information you have learned. Placement really helps hit home that patients are no textbooks. My colleagues on placement are friendly and always ready to help and teach you so you can learn all the tricks of the profession.

We have a placement co-ordinator who provides a lot of support. She is easy to contact and helps you resolve any problems to make sure your placement is a comfortable environment. Placement supervisors are aware of what you need to achieve and will accommodate you so that you are able to do this. Other staff members on placement are great to turn to for help and more practical explanations.

Before I started the course, I was a bit scared about the amount of physics content as it had been a while since I had studied the subject. However our physics teacher made it seem easy and logical by relating it all back to audiology, so much so that I now enjoy part of the course that I initially dreaded the most.


Nicole Lewis

My name is Nicole Lewis and I have just finished my first year on the BSc Healthcare Science course at the University of Portsmouth.

I have found this course to be an excellent introduction into life in healthcare science laboratories. I first got interested in this during a work skills course I undertook at college. I knew I wanted to do something in the field of medicine and I thought something ‘behind the lines’ would be perfect, as I know I’m helping people.

Support at both uni and placement is very easy to access and any issues are resolved quickly. For instance, whilst on placement I discovered I had an allergy to nitrile gloves and the soap in the labs. I received a lot of support from my university tutor to source me some new gloves and from my placement supervisor who found me alternative gloves, soap and organised occupational health appointments.

Life on placement is an excellent insight into what I will be doing when I graduate. It comes with the obvious stresses of full-time work but is also incredibly rewarding. I saw a liver biopsy performed on a hepatitis B patient and I then saw the sample in the lab the next day and it really made me realise how the sample gets here and what the patient has experienced to provide the sample.

A bit of advice for anyone starting the course next year: go to bed early on placement days and do your coursework as soon as you get set it!


Sanaa Azram

I am a final-year student in healthcare science (cardiac physiology) at the University of Wolverhampton. I enjoy learning about different diagnostic procedures at the university and putting this knowledge in to practice at the hospital. It is a very hands-on course and I believe that the fantastic training provided at the hospital placement will help me become a well-rounded healthcare scientist.

Studying this course has opened up many exciting postgraduate opportunities for me. Having worked in the field of healthcare science, I have developed a great passion for all issues related to medicine and I aspire to join a research team working towards finding a cure for pulmonary fibrosis.


Carrieann Partridge

After completing my first year of the healthcare science degree programme alongside ten other students, I can honestly say I am really enjoying life as a Practitioner Training Programme student. Although at times this course is exceptionally challenging, the help I’ve received over the last year has been amazing.

During my first year at university, I spent three days at lectures and the units covered were: Cells to Systems; Pathological Sciences 1; Introduction to Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Laboratory Skills, Graduate Skills and Careers and lastly Introduction to Professional Laboratory Practise. By completing these units, I gained an understanding of: how the body works, different tests used in laboratories to diagnose different illnesses, the effect of drugs on the body, the rules and regulations that laboratories have to follow and much, much more.

The Introduction to Professional Laboratory Practise unit also covered my time on placement. In each week of my first year I spent a Wednesday and Thursday at the cellular science laboratory at Southampton General Hospital. Whilst at placement I learnt a lot and feel that if I didn’t complete the placement period my understanding of the topics raised in each unit would be much lower. All in all I received a lot of support from my training officer and the staff at Southampton General Hospital even though this is a new degree programme.

As the Practitioner Training Programme is a new degree programme I was a little hesitant as to take this opportunity as I didn’t know what this course had in store for my future. Now, after completing my first year, I would advise anyone interested in this course to take the opportunity as it is getting more and more competitive to find a job after graduation and I believe by achieving a good degree and having the placement experience that this course offers, the candidate is made a little stronger.

Overall I have enjoyed my first year as a Practitioner Training Programme student and look forward to completing the next two.