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"I decided it was time to challenge myself so I could climb up the career pathway"

Sam Dales

Sam Dales has worked for the NHS for 10 years, and now studies our BSc Healthcare Science degree apprenticeship course while working as a Student Cardiac Physiologist at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust.

"You soon get the hang of the work, study, life balance."

"Having worked within the NHS for 10 years and reaching as far as I could without any formal qualifications, I decided it was time to challenge myself so I could climb up the career pathway. I found out about the apprenticeship through the learning and development department at work and applied via the university website. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

The apprenticeship is made up of three or four block weeks a year at Sheffield Hallam, with the remainder of the time is spent clinically in the workplace. There is also time for study – usually two sessions a week but can vary on the restraints of staff in the department – as well as distance learning that needs to be completed. You have to prioritise what is important, which can be challenging to start with but you soon get the hang of the work, study, life balance.

I have enjoyed using the underpinning knowledge that we have learnt in lectures through distance learning and clinical application to aid me in becoming a better clinical practitioner. Patients are all different and some are more complex than others – the apprenticeship has helped me to understand what medical issues and underlying pathology may be behind some of these challenges. I found the public health section particularly interesting as I never realised just how much it linked into everyday healthcare."

"A typical week for me is spent with a variety of patients within the cardiology department – this can involve fitting diagnostic monitoring such as 24hr tapes, performing ECGs for both routine patients in the outpatient department and inpatients on the wards, and could be either adults or children and analysis of ECG. As my role progresses I will spend time in the catheter suite seeing more diagnostic testing such as invasive coronary angiography and in the department looking at echocardiography – this will be a new and challenging environment for me to work in and I'm looking forward to learning new aspects of the job of a Cardiac Physiologist.

The staff at Sheffield Hallam are all enthusiastic and passionate about everything they teach and this makes for a fantastic environment to learn in. They are also extremely supportive – and I have an amazing work based assessor who has been supportive at every step of my journey. She is always willing to give me advice and point me in the right direction."

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