- Course: BSc Medical Sciences
- Nationality: Czech Republic
- Job title: Vaccination Marshall
- Company: Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Why did you choose to study Medical Sciences?
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to study medicine. The human body was fascinating to me and I knew my future career would be in the field of medicine. Later I realised that being a doctor wasn’t what I wanted to do, rather than treating patients I wanted to understand diseases and research possible treatments. That’s when I found the BSc Medical Sciences programme at the University of Leeds. The modules and opportunities offered by this programme seemed like a perfect fit and in 2018 I moved to Leeds from the Czech Republic and couldn’t be happier about my decision.
What have been the best things about studying at the University of Leeds?
One of the things I am most grateful for is the people I’ve met in the past 3 years while studying in Leeds. The community is amazing, I’ve managed to meet people from all over the world. Even though being a university student during a pandemic hasn’t been easy, my friends and I made it work and it brought us much closer.
My final project is probably my favourite part of my degree. I get to use all the skills I’ve gained on a project that I am very passionate about. My project supervisor suggested submitting my research to a journal with an option to speak at a conference. That is something I didn’t even think was possible, and I feel honoured that she would even consider my research to be publishable.
What work experience have you gained while studying?
Alongside my degree I am currently, working part-time as a COVID-19 Vaccination Marshal with doctors, nurses, administration workers, and volunteers, at one of the NHS Vaccination Hubs in Leeds.
What does your job involve?
As a marshal, I am responsible for a smooth transition of attendees throughout the vaccination process. I greet and chat with people, make them feel comfortable if they are anxious or worried about getting vaccinated. Explain how the process works and answer any questions people may have. I also carry out general admin tasks and support staff working in the hubs. Basically, making sure the vaccination process is as efficient and pleasant as possible.
How does it feel to be working in this area during the pandemic?
I am grateful for this opportunity. It feels amazing to be working as part of the NHS vaccination programme. Knowing that my job is important and making a difference, considering we have been waiting for a vaccine for almost a year. It also reminds me that the end of this pandemic is near and soon the world will hopefully start returning to normal.
How do you think this experience will help you in your future career?
As with any job experience, I assume I can use skills acquired in this role in my future career. The NHS has high values; respect for patients, commitment, teamwork in order to deliver the best care and others; and I hope to implement those in the future.
What have you enjoyed most about your course?
I have enjoyed most of my modules throughout my university career. My favourite modules were the practical skills modules, especially the experimental skills module, which allowed me to have a hands-on lab experience. Neuroscience-focused modules, e.g. neuropharmacology, deepened my interest in the human brain and the pharmacology behind the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
What practical work have you enjoyed?
I have to say my final year project has been my favourite. Under the supervision of the amazing Dr Niamh Forde, I am focusing on the effects of oestradiol on the human endometrium. Specifically, I am looking at the genome interactions between mRNA and lncRNA in an endometrial cancer model and at interactions affected by steroid hormones. I am very grateful for all the help and support I receive from my supervisor and everyone in her research group during these difficult times.
How has the faculty staff helped you in your employability?
The careers service has been very helpful, even now during Covid, they are very active. They organise virtual sessions with employers and companies and are always there if I have any questions regarding CVs, cover letters, or interviews. I would recommend anyone to use their help with job applications.
What do you plan on doing after you graduate?
Currently, I am looking for a lab-based job for next year. I want to gain more lab experience, as due to the pandemic, my final year lab sessions were disrupted. Eventually, I would love to do a Masters degree in cancer biology and potentially a PhD. My dream is to work in research and to help deepen the understanding of cancer mechanisms and contribute to better cancer treatment. My degree helped me gain many skills, most importantly critical thinking. I am able to analyse scientific articles, understand the reasoning behind research methods, and critically analyse results.