National Pathology Week Celebrations

National Pathology Week Celebrations
12 November 2018
Biomedical scientists and laboratory staff across the UK spent last week informing the public about the profession and its vital role in their healthcare

Now celebrating its 10th year and coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the NHS, National Pathology Week is the Royal College of Pathologists’ annual celebration of our profession.  From 5-11 November, scientists and laboratory staff in all biomedical disciplines promoted their field of practice to visitors, highlighting the important contribution they make to healthcare.

IBMS members presented interactive stalls and stands, gave lectures, held quizzes and bake-off competitions, and even opened their laboratory doors to the public.

Dr Lisa Coulthwaite, Principal Lecturer in the MSc Biomedical Science at Manchester Metropolitan University organised a trip for her students to visit The Christie Pathology Partnership. The Trust held a ‘Step into the dissection lab’ event, featuring Consultant Histopathologist Dr Pedro Oliveira.

Lisa said,

“We are really pleased with the success of this visit and the fantastic feedback from students. This insight really highlighted the importance of effective multi-professional team working, and of continuing professional development to maintain currency of training in an ever-changing pathology landscape. Many thanks to everyone involved.”

Pathology Training Manager Chris Chase shared, 

"The Royal College of Pathologists' Past President Suzy Lishman visitedHull last Wednesday 7th November for NPW. It was a fabulous day with her performing two autopsies, one in the morning for 200 staff, standing room only, and in the afternoon for 200 local school children. I'm not sure I've ever seen 200 teenagers be so quiet and engrossed. The whole day was absolutely amazing, we also held a career's stand outside the venue to inform the students about career options."


Kerry Gawthorpe, Pathology Quality Manager at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust added,

“Here at BCH, some of the younger volunteers are allocated to the play centre and will help with the younger children play and read, or make drinks for the parents. We have had groups come in this week to learn about epilepsy from the Neurophysiology team, groups learning about resuscitation and we are holding ‘Take over sessions’ which essentially is work experience – more appropriate for us in labs. Next week a group will be working with the department who put on casts to design a new cast print!”

Celebrations happened across the country with great success.

Dave Watt commented about the experience at Noble's Hospital in the Isle of Man, where he and his colleagues represented biomedical science and medical laboratory assistants at the Isle of Man Careers and Skills fair. 

He said,

"This was a great way to spend National Pathology Week. We hope we have inspired the next generation, they certainly seemed keen on seeing some microbe, histo and haemo microscopies!"

Rehana Ayub and her fellow colleagues from the immunology department hosted an open day for visitors. She shared,

“During this the pathology open week the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust hosted a pathology open day. This day is for students and undergraduates but is open to any level. The day involves many disciplines presenting their department’s work to the students as well as tours of the labs. This year had a special treat with staff from the Immunology Laboratory Service stepping up and talking about their personal experience of the different career paths and how they reached the stage they’re in now.
The students got first-hand experience with what it’s like to do an integrated year or how labs can support students needing to do top up modules to work towards accreditation. This is a great informative experience for the students to learn the steps they can take to become a biomedical scientist!”

Katherine Cullen, Immunology Operations Lead at LTHT said,

"The discipline presentations were very interesting and you could tell the attendees were learning a lot. The career case studies from members of Immunology staff were a great example of the different routes available into a career in biomedical sciences, and will prove very useful to the students."


Cherie Beckett, Biomedical Scientist at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust shared, 

"For National Pathology Week, we held a table and promotional stand to promote what we do within pathology (and specifically microbiology).  In this, we selected a common sample that we receive daily (urine) and explained its journey through the laboratory; covering the various stages of analysis (microscopy, culture and sensitivity).  We also selected a variety of other common ailments, such as a sore throat, upset tummy, MRSA screening and an infected wound and displayed in pictorial form what the usual causative organisms would look like on agar.  Lastly, we gave a brief description of the disciplines that encompass pathology within our hospital and gave some brief advice on specimen suitability (for example, labelling, specimen containers and providing clinical details on the request form). 
The feedback we received from both microbiology staff participating and those who approached our stand was increasingly positive.  Microbiology staff enjoyed taking part in this event – providing both brainstorming ideas for our promotional material and also manning the stand; giving staff an opportunity to converse with the public and wider hospital staff.  Many patients who approached the stand were completely in awe about what we do and how we go about assisting in the diagnosis of infection. One particular patient thought there was only one type of bacteria and was astounded to find there are indeed very many types, and that we can identify these and tailor treatment to such bacteria."


National pathology week also got a lot of attention on social media. The Christine Trust tweeted:


IBMS Council Member David Wells tweeted:





The IBMS hosted a Twitter chat during the week to discuss public engagement and were proud to support over 60 members’ events to promote biomedical science. We’d like to thank all of our members for their exceptional efforts in raising awareness of what they do. We’re already looking forward to next year’s celebration.

Pictured above, the Immunology laboratory staff from left to right: Sidrah Shafiq, Musiwashe Chivandikwa, Khadija Ugradar and Nicola Smith.


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