CSO WISE fellows 2018

CSO WISE fellow - Sarah CooperSarah Cooper, Royal Cornwall Hospital

I am Chief Cardiac Physiologist (Training and Development Manager) at the Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCHT). My main clinical responsibility is echocardiography.  Alongside my clinical duties I have a very rewarding managerial training and development role and hold a position on the RCHT learning committee.

After my first year in this role we were awarded Healthcare Science Workplace Educator Award of Excellence & South West Work Place Educator of the Year. This year I was honoured to attend the HEE– South West Star Awards 2018, as a finalist for the award of Education and Training Team of the Year.

I am passionate about the 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), and work as a national examiner for the Society of Cardiological Science and Technology (SCST). This year I was offered a position on the SCST the Education Committee.

When I started in RCHT I wanted to ensure all staff were producing gold standard diagnostic ECGs. I took on the challenge of implementing a trust wide change in ECG training and designed a program involving theory and practical assessment. This is now undertaken by all preceptee nurses and monthly classes are available to all staff performing ECGs.

My career so far has been underpinned by a few key influential women that have shaped my ideals and been outstanding role models. I undertook my BSc Clinical Physiology (Cardiology) in Worcester Acute NHS Trust, the training I received was exceptional.

On completion of my degree I moved to Nottingham University Hospital, where I was encouraged to specialise in echocardiography. With support of a dynamic manager and inspirational training lead I began a busy teaching/training role. I became a registered trainer/assessor with Nottingham University and lectured to third year medical students. I supported the Nottingham Cardiac Support Group, this included guest speaking at members meetings, provision of information and open evenings.

Two years ago, I entered the world of parenthood. I returned to work still breastfeeding and feeling unsure of myself. I want to inspire self-belief and remove stigmas and barriers that women face when returning to work after childbirth. I want to prove that you can be a mother and still be highly successful.

Name of Professional Body: Society of Cardiological Science and technology (SCST)

What would you like to get out of the fellowship and why is it important: I am hoping that the fellowship and the CSO WISE community will give the confidence, connections and drive to excel my career and plan my next big move. Through this I hope to inspire others to do the same, and raise the profile of Cardiac Physiology as a career.

CSO WISE fellow - Gail DistefanoGail Distefano, Royal Surrey County Hospital

I am a Radiotherapy Medical Physics Expert working within a multi-disciplinary team to ensure an efficient high standard of care. I enjoy taking initiative in sharing my experience/knowledge with others by presenting/disseminating my work at every opportunity. Lead responsibilities include the development and implementation of innovative superior treatments for Advanced (Stereotactic Ablative) Radiotherapy (SABR) for Lung and Liver cancer. I am passionate about ensuring safe implementation of SABR in the UK.  As co-chair of the Quality Assurance (QA) sub-group within the UK SABR Consortium (2012- ), I have been instrumental in driving forward SABR QA.  In September 2018, I am starting a 3-year NIHR Doctorate Research Fellowship, adding a new exciting dimension to my career.

I came to the UK, from Malta, to follow my ambition of being a Radiotherapy Physicist as this would allow me to use my physics knowledge to improve treatments for people suffering from cancer. I obtained an MSc in Medical Physics at the University of Aberdeen, with distinction, in 2002. This encouraged me to apply for NHS Medical Physics Training and I obtained my Postgraduate Diploma from the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine in 2003.

My first role as a Radiotherapy Physicist was at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre (2003-2010), where I was extremely fortunate to have line managers who encouraged me to take initiative and develop my ideas. I particularly enjoyed providing local physics support for national clinical trials and gained my first experience of SABR.  I obtained HCPC registration in 2006.

My national role in SABR QA has provided me with invaluable experience, including the opportunity to present/publish nationally and internationally. For example: I played a leading role in a national dosimetry measurement programme, collaborating with key stakeholders including the National Physical Laboratory and I was co-applicant on a successful NHS England funding bid for a National Mentoring Scheme.  I am passionate about driving forward SABR techniques and aiding standardisation across the UK and to this end I am currently leading a survey on current SABR provision.

I am delighted to have been selected for this Fellowship and look forward to developing my leadership abilities and enhancing my skills in communicating/promoting my scientific ideas as well as networking strategically and effectively.  This will enable me to promote and create more awareness of  Health Care Scientists’ key role in clinically driven research and development.

The CSO Wise Leadership day inspired me to become a WISE ‘People Like Me’ Role Model.  I hope that my fellowship experience will identify more exciting opportunities for me to engage with girls, encouraging STEM careers.

As a mother of three I have first-hand experience of overcoming the challenges associated with returning to work at various stages in my career including work/life balance and part-time/flexible working. I understand the associated difficulties with retaining, developing and progressing female talent to leadership roles and hope to create awareness of the available support and become a role model to other women returning to work, inspiring them to continue believing in their leadership potential.

Name of Professional Body: Institute Of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM)

What would you like to get out of the fellowship and why is it important: I am looking forward to developing my leadership abilities further, learning how to better communicate my scientific ideas, and benefiting from the mentorship of senior leaders.  These new skills and experience will enable me to influence key directional decisions and raise the profile of Health Care Scientists’ contributions to clinically driven research and development, something I am extremely passionate about.

CSO WISE fellow - Nana OdomNana Odom, Royal United Hospital Bath

I was inspired by that fact that I could use physics to contribute to enhancing the lives of patients when I took the medical physics module as part of my BSc Physics in Ghana. I opted to study MSc in Biomedical Engineering in Brunel University between 2007-2008, where I undertook a dissertation in assessing distortions in MRI images for use in radiotherapy treatment planning for head and neck cancers.

In September 2008, I was employed as a medical equipment library coordinator at St Helier University Hospital NHS Trust becoming an electro-biomedical engineer within the first year.

In May 2011, I moved to Kent as a Assistive Technology Specialist where I worked as part of the multi professional team, assessing children with complex physical and communication needs to access technology.

In 2016, I was confronted with barriers and challenges so I enrolled on a distant learning post graduate diploma in Actuarial Science, whiles working as an assistive technology specialist.

In February 2017, I joined Royal United Hospital, Bath as Medical Equipment Management Service Business Manager/Clinical Engineer. Moving 178 miles away from home, has opened me up to a new world of opportunities.

As a business manager, I manage the contracts for medical equipment management services provided to other healthcare organisations.

As a clinical engineer, I work in collaboration with multi-disciplinary professionals to find approaches to advancing patient care by applying engineering and managerial skills to medical equipment technology. I also contribute to improvement of medical equipment management within the trust including leading on or coordinating procurement projects.

I have recently led the evaluation of ECG recorders in the Trust which involved bridging the gap between IT and Clinical Engineering in understanding the medical device related security risks through collaborative working. Through this, I am developing a strategy for managing medical device related cyber security risks where the Trust will take a proactive approach in dealing with threats. These projects have created vital relationships between two departments that do not usually work together as well as gaining a greater understanding of how we can drive improvement together in other areas.

My 10-year career journey has been through relentless determination, perseverance and continuous learning whiles dealing with internal barriers as a mum, wife and female in male dominated teams. I am encouraged by women in engineering who have risen through the ranks especially those who have combined career with motherhood as a mother of 3 children. My areas of interest are digital technology in acute care settings and how it impacts on patients and the trust due to increased cyber threats, and the use of assistive technology to remove or reduce some of the barriers faced by inpatients with complex physical and communication disabilities.

I have currently been offered a place on the Higher Specialist Scientific Training Programme where I will be enrolled on a Doctorate in Clinical Science while working in a trainee Consultant Clinical Scientist role another big achievement worth celebrating.

Name of Professional Body: Institute Of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM)

What would you like to get out of the fellowship and why is it important: Going through the interview process in 2017 and attending the CSO’s networking day has made a positive impact in my career in the last year. I have learnt the need to always to prepare for future opportunities and I am confident that this fellowship will prepare me in my next steps even from the experience received so far. This award is a huge  achievement and I can confidently celebrate this. I have learnt the need to always prepare for future opportunities and this fellowship will do that. I want to inspire generations, empower other women and promote and support diversity in NHS leadership through telling my story. I am looking to build a brand as a female clinical engineer in NHS.  I am also looking to build confidence in public speaking and looking to take on more of such opportunities.

CSO WISE fellow - Siobhan TtaylorSiobhan Taylor, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation

As the only Clinical Scientist within a large histopathology department at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, my role is unique and largely based around the development and management of the HER2 service.   Our Breast Care Service is one of the busiest in the country; my role requires liaison and management between multiple professional groups to deliver a timely and effective diagnostic laboratory and clinical service.

My interest in science, particularly human biology and genetics, stemmed from a desire to work in cancer research.  Following graduation with a 1st Class honours degree in Biomedical Science and awarded “The Presidents Prize” for academic distinction, I worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital in the Paediatric Malignancy Cytogenetics Unit.   Working for this prestigious hospital I realised the rewards that a clinical role could bring.  A strong interest in cancer molecular pathology and a passion for chromosomes led me to Bristol Genetics Laboratory, completing the ‘A’ grade training programme in Cytogenetics and achieving HCPC registration as a Clinical Scientist in 2010.  With a lack of available positions, I took the initiative to change specialities, transferring my genetics experience to the histology laboratory; an area I had gained previous experience in during my university placement year.

The role of Clinical Scientist is not traditional within Histopathology, the path has been challenging at times.  In the last 8 years I have built upon my existing skill-set, knowledge and expertise within this new discipline.   I am a Member of the IBMS.   With my passion for molecular pathology and its particular application in histology, my focus has been to broaden the testing repertoire for biomarkers of diagnosis, prognosis and predictive testing.   Through the validation and implementation of new tests to the department, managing the daily organisation and quality of these services, I aim to better support the histopathology service and healthcare professionals using it.

Molecular pathology is an important, but often unrecognised, requirement for the future of histology services.  I am passionate about my role, bringing together the disciplines of genetics and histology to maintain a current and relevant service.  I would like to establish better networks for scientists within this field to drive improved clinical care.   Aiming to raise the visibility and profile of my own laboratory and healthcare scientists within my own trust, I intend to inspire and motivate those around me.  I plan to use my skills to engage in local activities, promoting healthcare science as a rewarding career for all young people.

To be accepted as one of the 2018/2019 CSO WISE Fellows is a fantastic opportunity to motivate and encourage others whilst creating a platform to assist me in reaching my career goals.  As a dedicated advocate for women in science, I will use the skills I gain from the Fellowship to guide and mentor both my colleagues and those considering a career in healthcare science.   I believe it is important to nurture and retain existing talent, through sharing of experiences and encouragement.  I am proof that it is possible to maintain a rewarding family life whilst having an expanding career with goals and aspirations for the future.

Name of Professional Body: Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)

What would you like to get out of the fellowship and why is it important: I am delighted to hear that I have been selected as one of the 2018/2019 CSO WISE fellows. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to achieve my personal career goals and gain the skills to help integrate molecular diagnostic testing into histology services.  I also aim to establish better networks across this area in order to drive the highest quality patient care.”