I have always had a keen interest in caring for others and I have always known I wanted to work in healthcare. Throughout school, my passion and interest in human biology and particularly the cardiovascular system grew and I knew cardiology was what I wanted to focus on.
The Cardiac Physiology degree at Swansea really appealed to me as I wanted to be involved in both the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
From early on in the degree, we were sent on placement. This can be in any hospital across Wales, which is excellent for gaining varied experience.
We were able to apply all the knowledge we learnt in our lectures to real patients and situations and get familiar with the role of a physiologist within a hospital - without this element of the course, I know none of us would be ready to qualify and start work within months of graduating.
When in University, we had lectures, practical sessions, tutorials, lab work, assignments and exams. The lecturers were brilliant; they are all physiologists and so able to impart both their scientific knowledge and give us the benefit of their experience. The cohorts were small which made us all close, and the lecturers were always happy to help, support and chat with us, which I thought was great!
Something that really stands out to me in this role is the gratitude we receive from patients. I once performed an ECG on a patient; it is one of the simplest tests we do, and very quick and painless. I had spent a bit longer with this patient - she was very nervous and scared as her father had recently died from heart disease. I took my time with her, explained everything to her and reassured her that the ECG appeared normal. The following week I received a card and chocolates from her to say thank you. It reminded me that an extra five minutes in our day can really make a big difference to the people we are treating.
One of the great things about this course is that it prepares you to become a band 5 physiologist enabling you to go straight into a job without needing initial training. I accepted a job two months prior to graduating and had that lined up for me in September.
As a Physiologist, you need to be able to work independently with initiative as well as in a team, communicate well with your colleagues and have good interpersonal skills. But I think the most important quality a physiologist can have is the ability to form a good rapport with patients.
Being able to communicate with your patient, listen to them, put them at ease and make them feel comfortable is something very important. For the majority of patients, it is a new hospital experience for them, and the majority of them are scared as ‘having something wrong with your heart’ can be terrifying. Without good patient skills, I don’t think you can be a good physiologist.
I am a Physiologist.