The Healthcare Science course combines academic study with NHS placements to provide professional training in the medical and biological sciences. This is now one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding areas of the health system. Healthcare Scientists contribute to 80% of decisions about patient treatment.
There are four areas of healthcare science - Clinical Bioinformatics, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering and finally, Physiological Sciences. The St George's, University of London course specialises in Physiological Sciences. It leads to a career in clinical physiology, specialising in cardiac physiology or respiratory and sleep physiology. After completing the course, you will be able to register with the Academy of Healthcare Sciences and the Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists.
If you train as a practitioner specialising in cardiac physiology then you will assist in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac disease. Cardiac Physiology Practitioners perform a wide range of diagnostic techniques, including on-going patient monitoring, exercise stress tests, cardio-pulmonary exercise tests, echocardiograms and electrocardiograms (ECGs). They also play a vital role in the treatment of patients, for example catheterisation, pacemaker implantation and follow-up.
**Respiratory and Sleep Physiology**
If you train as a practitioner specialising in respiratory and sleep physiology, then you will undertake a wide range of diagnostic procedures, including spirometry, gas exchange, cardio-pulmonary exercise testing, blood gas analysis, allergy testing and sleep studies. Patients may be referred to you for many reasons, including low oxygen levels, abnormal chest X-rays, breathing difficulties, sleep disorders, or suspected respiratory diseases such as emphysema, COPD, cystic fibrosis and asthma.
Clinical Physiologists also participate in clinical audit and / or research, helping to drive the advances in knowledge, techniques and technologies that make Clinical Physiology a continually challenging, motivating and rewarding career. Opportunities for postgraduate study and further specialisation exist throughout the UK in conjunction with a variety of NHS Trusts.
**Unique aspects of this course**
This is the largest course of this type and St George's is the only university in London accredited to train students in both Cardiac Physiology and Respiratory/Sleep Physiology. Students have the chance to gain academic and workplace experience in both before making an informed decision about their preferred field at the end of the first year.
There is also the opportunity to broaden your horizons by completing a part of your clinical training at the Escola Superior de Tecnologia da SaÃºde de Coimbra, in Portugal. This partnership is offered as part of the ERASMUS programme, and would allow you to take advantage of the first class facilities at this world renowned institution. As well as the potential professional opportunities studying abroad offers, it is also an invaluable social and cultural experience for any applicants to the program.
This is a modular degree that begins with a broad foundation of knowledge about all of the body systems and the disease processes that affect them but becomes highly specialised by the third year.
Year one combines an introduction to the biomedical knowledge underpinning healthcare science as a whole, and especially the field of physiological sciences. From the start the course is explicitly designed as a preparation for clinical practice, slanted towards medically relevant information and clinical context. During this year you will undertake 10 weeks of clinical training, divided between different sites to give you a variety of experiences. You will work in both Cardiology and Respiratory/Sleep departments at this stage.
At the end of year one you will select your speciality preference, either Cardiac Physiology or Respiratory/Sleep Physiology. Thereafter your learning will be divided between modules that are common to both strands and specialist modules that are specific to your choice.
In year two you will learn about the pathophysiology of common diseases affecting both the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, taught by clinicians and researchers who specialise in these subjects and aided by time spent working with the specimens in our extensive pathology museum. You will learn to understand the scientific basis for the complex instruments that Clinical Physiologists use, calibrate and quality assure. You will also receive training in the research skills necessary for successful completion of your third-year audit/research project. Most importantly, the
specialist modules cover the detailed physiology of your chosen system (Cardiac or Respiratory/Sleep), in interactive sessions delivered by our core staff of registered Cardiac and Respiratory/Sleep Physiologists. They will cover the highly skilled diagnostic techniques, methodologies and interpretation required for clinical practice, reinforced by 15 weeks of speciality-specific training in your designated clinical placement site.
Year three focuses on developing your ability to apply everything that youâve learned so far to the practice of Clinical Physiology. University-based teaching will focus on developing your specialist academic skills, while 25 weeks in the clinical workplace will complete your clinical training, providing the hands-on experience needed to build real expertise. You will complete and write up your clinical audit/research project. The third year will see you transform from a student to someone who has the knowledge, experience, professionalism and clinical competencies required of a Clinical Physiology Practitioner.
This course uses a range of assessment techniques that are chosen to match the competencies being learned and tested within each module. These include written exam papers, academic coursework (essays, posters, presentations, reflective writing), the final year project dissertation, clinical assessments that take place during placements and a portfolio of clinical work.
St George's uses some formative assessments early in the course to help you to develop your skills, and provide interactive learning resources to help you judge your own understanding of some of the more difficult material. The Clinical Training modules are pass-fail only, but marks for the others accumulate to give your final degree classification.
Application deadline details:
A really wonderful school! South West London’s a pretty nice place to live (not cheap, but what can you do), and the Northern Line whisks you right into central London for nights out. The course had a really great, focussed community vibe and they encouraged us to research and explore our subject on our own, with guidance from our tutors, of course, who were very engaging and supportive. The clinical placements were also incredibly helpful, we all got great first hand experience and were able to feed that into our studies.
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