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20 March 2019

UH Bristol healthcare scientists visit local schools and colleges to spread the word about healthcare science

Scientists from University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol visited IKB Academy in Keynsham to talk to students about healthcare science, the vital role they play in treating patients and what a career in healthcare science can involve.

The visit, on Thursday 14 March, was part of the activities organised by the Trust for Healthcare Science Week, a national annual event that celebrates the work of healthcare science professionals and highlights the difference they make to patients' lives across the UK.

IKB Academy specialises in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and offers GCSE, A Level and BTEC courses to students. Lucy Winch, a clinical scientist in radiotherapy physics, and Dr Lindsay Bishop, outreach engagement officer for Health Sciences at the University of Bristol attended for a morning session in their state of the art lecture theatre.

During the visit, Lucy talked about her role as a healthcare scientist at UH Bristol, the type of advanced scientific equipment she uses to help treat patients, and how often healthcare scientists are involved in a hypothetical patient's treatment. There was also opportunity for the students to test their knowledge with a quiz highlighting the difference between MRI and CT scans where they had to choose between different fruits and chocolate bars based on the scan.

Talking about the visit and the role of healthcare scientists, Lucy said: "I love speaking to students and young people about the work we do.  As a healthcare scientist and also as a STEM ambassador, getting the opportunity to visit schools and academies is massively important to me as it helps to spread the word of everything we do, and hopefully inspire the next generation of healthcare scientists! I love being a clinical scientist as it gives me a chance to do something that interests me every day as well as getting to use some of the world's most advanced medical technology alongside my scientific skills to make a real difference to people's lives."

Lindsay gave a presentation on the importance of scientific research in developing new materials for medical implants for patients, and how scientists take their inspiration from nature to develop titanium implants with surfaces that physically stops bacteria growing on the surface. With a background in dental research, Lindsay is passionate about raising awareness of health science careers and the study opportunities available at Bristol. Speaking about the event, she said:"I think It is important that we inspire the future generations of healthcare professionals and scientist, and I hope that after today the students at IKB will maybe think, I could do that!"

Danny Wilkinson, deputy principal at IKB said: "It was a pleasure to have Lucy Lindsay into IKB to talk to our students. We selected a number of year 10, 11, 12 and 13 students to be inspired by the opportunities available in health science careers, the students were all very interested in what Lucy and Lindsay had to say and actively took part in a question and answer session. I'm looking forward to seeing some of our students choosing the option of medical science careers in the future and maybe one day I will be able to look back at a student that has changed the world we live in."