My placement year helped me grow to who I am now

  • Date

    Wed 4 Mar 20

Giselle Yap

For International Women’s Day 2020, we want to celebrate the achievements of women who have been on a placement year as part of their undergraduate degree at Essex. We’ve asked some of these students to share their experiences and hopes for the future.

Here, Giselle Yap, who is studying for a BSc in Applied Biomedical Science, talks about her NHS placement as a trainee biomedical scientist for Public Health England, at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

What got you interested in doing a placement year?
I have always wanted to do a placement year as I believed that skills and experience are as essential as knowledge. Hence, I applied for the 4-year course with a placement. During the first year we had a lecture which introduced the importance of doing an NHS placement where I would complete a portfolio which will then allow us to register with the Health and Care Professions Council and Institute of Biomedical Science. After registration, I can practice as a biomedical scientist in a clinical setting after graduation. I have always wanted to work in a health care setting as I thought that being able to contribute to patient's health and care would bring me a lot of satisfaction.

How did you feel when you first started your placement?
I was so excited as it was my first experience working in a clinical laboratory. When I started I soon realised how different it was to be in a real laboratory compared to the textbooks and slides at University. The experience was so refreshing. There was also a lot to learn and improve on. I kept reminding myself that I was a student, it is okay to make mistakes, and I was there to improve the skills I lacked.

What was your favourite part of your placement?
My favourite part of my placement was the rotation so I gained experience from different sections of the laboratory. I was excited to go to work every day because I knew that I would get to do something different or learn something new. I also built a good relationship with the other colleagues at the laboratory, which made working a lot more enjoyable.

What do you feel you gained from your placement?
This placement year helped me grow to who I am now. I have gained so much knowledge in microbiology, as well as working as a professional and building good rapport with my colleagues. I have also improved so much in my communication skills, time management and self-discipline.

How do you think your placement experience might change your future?
The placement year has changed my future. Getting a registration after graduation could be difficult, but the placement year has helped me to complete my portfolio, which allows me to get registered as a biomedical scientist right after graduation. I am now one step closer to my dream job.

What’s next for you after graduation?
I have got a job offer from Public Health of England at Colchester, which I am excited to start after graduation.

What advice would you give to a woman searching for their placement now?
There's always going to be ups and downs throughout your life. Not every journey is going to be smooth sailing. I think that is what makes life interesting. The search for a placement and your time during your placement could be tough. My mum said to me: “Ask yourself why you are feeling that way when this is what you have wanted all along. Always remind yourself of why you started this journey”. This constant reminder has become my motivation to keep on fighting for my goals. At times, it may seem that you’re contributing endlessly yet feeling underappreciated overall, but trust me, your future self is going to thank you for every single effort you have made today.