Reach Out: Getting teens into Healthcare Science

The Healthcare Science team at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) recently took part in ‘Reach Out for Healthcare Science’, a programme designed to provide year 10 students from diverse backgrounds with an opportunity to experience life as a healthcare scientist in a busy London hospital.

The programme enables students from schools with limited access to science to experience an array of activities undertaken in hospitals by healthcare scientists, aiming to help them to consider if a career in healthcare science is right for them and if so, the different levels at which they can enter such a career. It also aims to increase students’ motivation and confidence in their studies of science.

The two education-filled days at GOSH saw students attending keynote lectures and scientific demonstrations, as well as gaining hands-on experience across the range of healthcare science disciplines, including haematology, sleep, nuclear medicine, infection control, simulation, genetics, microbiology and more.  As one student said: “It has really helped me to open up other career options other than medicine”, with another adding: “the best part was the interactive practicals at GOSH… [in particular the] heart and lung dissection!”

Students were asked to take part in a poster exhibition at the end of the week, working in small groups to create a poster board on a healthcare science topic title relevant to the activities they had been involved in. Prizes were then awarded by staff judges, based on the quality of content and presentation, and how well the subject was communicated. The winning team for best scientific content were students Leeyah, Saad, Dia and Amarin, who presented on the role of Molecular Pathology.

This activity was a fun way for students get creative, work collaboratively, and learn how to effectively communicate their learnings about science in an engaging and inspiring way.

Scientists from GOSH have been involved in Reach Out since its inception and this is the third year where the Trust has acted as a main site for students. In that time the healthcare science team has run over 30 different activities for over 300 students at GOSH. Of the event, Elaine Cloutman-Green, Lead Healthcare Scientist says: “Reach Out is a fantastic opportunity for students from schools with limited access to practical science to meet scientists and most importantly undertake experiments, to really see what Healthcare Science is and everything it could offer as a career. For us, being involved is an opportunity to share our passion, improve communication skills and inspire a future generation of scientists!”