Boosting mental wellbeing - Listen now to IBMSPod

Boosting mental wellbeing - Listen now to IBMSPod
3 March 2021
In March's IBMSPod, we caught-up with Consultant Histopathologist & mental wellbeing champion Dr Jo Horne and dancer-turned-Biomedical Scientist Cherie Beckett.

Episode 5 of our podcast series features IBMS Fellow Dr Jo Horne, a Consultant Histopathologist in Gastrointestinal & Hepatobiliary 

Mental Health, wellbeing & histopathology with Dr Jo Horne

How can biomedical scientists manage worry, anxiety and stress and boost mental wellbeing in the midst of the pandemic?

What mental health support has been put in place during the pandemic and how do we ensure these services are maintained and expanded in the future?

The challenge of working to deliver essential healthcare services during a pandemic has been a demanding and stressful experience for many in our profession, with members regularly describing their work environment as "intense", "emotionally challenging", "relentless" and "overwhelming". 

I don’t see how it can go back to normal, because what people are dealing with won’t end the day that this ends – it will carry on for months, if not years.

Determined to focus on her strengths and do something to help colleagues cope, Jo took on the role of 'Safe Space Practitioner' delivering psychological first aid alongside her work as a Consultant Biomedical Scientist. 

Jo discusses what she does in the new role, the issues biomedical scientists have faced during COVID-19 and explains how the increased emphasis on supporting mental wellbeing during the pandemic could lead to permanent change after. Jo also talks us through the dissection and reporting process in Histopathology and answers a question about encouraging women into STEM in light of International Women’s Day on the 8th March. She also faces our quick-fire round of questions. 

LabLife with Cherie Beckett

This month we are joined by Cherie Beckett, a dancer-turned-Biomedical Scientist in Microbiology. She chats to us about her work promoting and supporting the profession, including hosting the IBMS Twitter chat and volunteering to show a child who has leukaemia around her laboratory for the charity Harvey's Gang. With health and wellbeing becoming a more prominent theme in the chat throughout the pandemic, we asked Cherie how she relaxes when she's not working or promoting the profession.

Cancer and leukaemia are devastating whatever the age you are, but in a child that can't understand – if I've just made it that little bit easier, even just for that day, it does make you feel like you've made a difference. 

How to listen

To listen to any of our podcasts, series 1 and 2, as well as subscribe to future episodes, visit:

Episode outline

0:15 – IBMS News

2:25 – Feature Interview with Jo Horne

2:25 - Section 1: Working in Histopathology - including gastrointestinal pathology and why is it so important; specimen dissection;  the most unusual samples Jo has processed and what biomedical research she participates in, 

10:56 – Section 2: Health and Wellbeing in the pandemic - including Jo's experience during COVID-19, her role as a 'safe-space practitioner', issues arising for Biomedical Scientists, what systemic changes to wellbeing services are needed and how to put them in place post-pandemic and positive things to come out of the pandemic.

24:17 – Section 3: How can we encourage girls & women into STEM careers?

25:50 – Quick-fire round: Female Science Hero, Favourite Pathogen, First thing Jo will do after lockdown. 

28:06 – LabLife with Cherie Beckett

Links to further resources

IBMS News:

Feature interview with Dr Jo Horne 

LabLife with Cherie Beckett

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