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By Avril Van Der Velde, SUN Progression Mentor

“How many different careers are available in the NHS?” This was one of the first questions the Basingstoke College of Technology Health and Social Care students were asked at a recent workshop they attended at the College. Students’ answers ranged from “50” to “about a 100” careers. They were all surprised when they were informed that there are over 350 different careers in the NHS!

The students were participating in a workshop that was run by Dr Alex Corcoran and two Physician Associate colleagues. The aim of the workshop was to inform the students about the many different career options which are available in the NHS – all of which contribute to the effective running of the NHS – and to encourage the students to consider a career in the NHS.

Dr Corcoran and his colleagues’ enthusiasm for their work was very evident in their presentations, and the students enjoyed the talks and interacted positively with the presenters. It was particularly interesting for the students to hear about the relatively new career of Physician Associate and its scope of practice. They learned that a Physician Associate is a medically trained healthcare professional who is involved with taking medical histories and carrying out physical examinations on patients, as well as performing diagnostic procedures and therapeutic procedures such as seeing patients with long-term chronic conditions.

After the talks the students formed smaller groups and were given the opportunity to try out some medical equipment, such as stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs; they were also able to test their heart and oxygen rates and try out an otoscope, which is used for examining a patient’s ears.

There was a great deal of laughter from the students as they were trying out the equipment, but also real learning was taking place about what information the equipment was able to give a professional about a patient. The students asked many questions about blood pressure, heart and oxygen average rates and what it might mean if a patient’s results were below or above the average readings.

The Health and Social Care students enjoyed Dr Corcoran’s workshop and it was a wonderful opportunity to interact with NHS professionals and learn more about some of the different career options in the NHS. We were very grateful to Dr Corcoran and his colleagues for taking the time to deliver the workshop and interact with the students. It has given the students insight into the NHS and the many career options available in this organisation.

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Avril Van Der Velde,
SUN Progression Mentor