Training and standardisation coordinator
A day in the life of a training and standardisation coordinator
Haematology is the study of blood. In this discipline, haematologists investigate the formation, composition, function and diseases of blood. Some of the diseases diagnosed in haematology are leukaemia, malaria and anaemia.
Training and Standardisation Coordinator
Haematology (including haemostasis and thrombosis, blood transfusion, immunophenotyping, haemoglobinopathies, phlebotomy and stem cell processing)
Career to date
I started as a medical laboratory assistant at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board in February 2004. In 2007, I undertook a top-up degree to become a biomedical scientist and took a Specialist Diploma 11 months later. Then the long "shift shuffle" for a few years that all biomedical scientists have to go through, I started my MSc in 2013. In May 2015, I was made acting haemoglobinopathy lab manager and managed to finish the MSc in September of that year. I was also the acting automated haematologist senior for our UKAS first visit and as I always wanted to get my teeth into training was offered the post in January 2017. This has been a massive learning curve!
The start of my shift
I'm supposed to start at 8.45am but I like a rolling start to the day. So I arrive at around 8am to have a nice cup of tea (or at least that's the aim but I'm an email fiend), catch up on my emails to check and chase up on what's the aim for the day, address my priority list (what needs to be done, what would be good and what would be nice always, nice to cross stuff off). By now it's around 9am and I start checking in with my various staff groups by email and in person to see if there are any training issues, training leads to chase up the various training updates we are currently deep in, as well as assessing the various trainee and staff needs. I collate the email content and take it to the various staff before following up with email summaries (I told you I was an email fiend!).
During my shift
My role is a little dynamic and varied, so I may have to: review with my Practioner Training Programme or Scientist Training Programme students, review my Certificate of Competence candidates or one or more of my 19 specialist diploma candidates, liaise with group leaders or training teams to feedback and develop the training commitments to ensure upcoming surveillance visits from UKAS or MHRA and the ever increasing requirement for monitoring of the training compliance of around 84 staff and approx 70 phlebotomy staff.
I also have other nice things to do, such as verifying portfolios at Certificate of Competence and specialist levels at other sites. I'm taking on an independent assessor role for UKAS, which involves attendance of the standing standardisation and advisory group for South Wales Health Boards and taking part in the trainers' forum for Wales.
Breaks and stops are more of a privilege for the short term but I make sure I "treat" myself with a quick 10-minute break and cappuccino around 11 (you shouldn't have one after 12 apparently). I make sure I get an extended lunch every Tuesday and Thursday and have a run around the local park and lake. There's nothing like changing the horizon physically and mentally from the computer screens and lab walls to wider ones outside.
The end of my shift
At the end of the day, I try and achieve a few things. I update and, most importantly, cross stuff off my list. I then check in with the training teams again to confirm facts, challenge any issues and chat to staff who I'm meeting the next day as a quick reminder and to reaffirm the reason for the meeting. I find this saves so much hassle as the subject matter can change. I prefer to be prepared with any expected and unexpected answers as much as possible, as it prevents wasting time and removing another meeting if unresolved.
Creating a new priority list allows me to de-program, relax and leave the relevant "work" in work. I then collate the bits and pieces I need to take home, rearrange my emails (everyone loves 5am to 5pm of emails, don't they?!). I also like to bother Jocelyn Pryce or Alan Wainwright at IBMS around this time with a Columbo-esque question (or 5!) and sync my calendar with my phone. My last sanity-saving exercise is to back-up all my important documents to my memory stick - this has saved many tears over the years!
I love my job, it's a full-on role but I've gone into it with open eyes. It's really rewarding to be supporting staff to develop professionally and to see them coming on with the technical and personal support they deserve, to meet their full potential. Training is vital to the delivery of any service within pathology but more so in recent times, with ramping up of expected compliance requirements with ISO 15819:2012 (namely the competence portions in section 5). It's important to empower staff to own their training and be confident in delivering the best service for our users, patients and clinicians.