Prepare for NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP)

As we prepare an accurate PrepPack for the NHS STP Aptitude Test, lets first get you familiarised with the overall process, including:

  • Brief Overview of the Scientist Training Programme
  • Core person specification
  • 2021Recruitment Changes
  • Important Date Changes


Brief Overview of the Scientist Training Programme

If you truly love working with patients and have a passion for science, then this programme is for you.

The Scientist Training Outline:

Over the course of the three-year programme, you will be placed under the direct supervision of the NHS, or for some, a private NHS partner.

During that period, you will go through:

  • On-site training.
  • Completion of a master's degree (part-time.)
  • Undergo a final assessment of competence.

Upon successful completion of the entire program, you will be eligible to officially register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and will then be free to begin applying for scientist roles throughout the industry.

As a side note, you will be glad to know that training comes with a salary of around £31,000, and that the part-time master’s degree is fully covered. Before we get into the master's degree's basic curriculum, let's go back to the overall curriculum for the programme itself.

STP Core and Scientific Modules

The two primary modules are broken down into two primary segments:

  • Experience – You will apply your knowledge, know-how, and skills in the workplace, as practical training.
  • Master's Program – During your part-time study programme at university, you will primarily study blood science focusing on clinical biochemistry, including a research project. Additionally, you will delve into various subjects like ethics, professionalism, patient and carer perspectives, and communication skills.


NHS STP Core Person Specification

Now that you have an overview of the programme, let's dig into the core person specifications necessary to get into the program.

NHS STP Qualifications

Those who finished their undergraduate honours degree in pure or applied science, and finished with either a 1st or 2.1, are eligible to apply to the programme.

In specific cases where the applicant's degree is higher than the specialism demands, they may also apply with a 2.2.

Please note that due to intense competition, candidates with comprehensive experience are preferred.

STP Scientific Skillsets

These are the scientific skills that you must demonstrate in the context of either your prior work or study.

Skillset 1: You must show a background in patient care and a profound understanding and exploration of scientific practice in relation to clinical care.

Skillset 2: You must showcase your ability to assess and analyse various medical literature, design experimentation, and investigatory methods. Lastly, proper clinical judgment is crucial.

Skillset 3: This next skillset follows skillset 2. You can be well versed in scientific data, but incompetent in quality control and management assurance. In short, as the product is developed, it must continuously remain relevant to current demands.

Skillset 4: If you can follow Standard Operating Procedures and understand how to improve, find new uses for those procedures, or develop new methods, you will do just fine.

Skillset 5: Following the previous skillset, the NHS will now want to ensure that you understand the ins and outs of medical equipment, how to identify incompatible results in testing and more. 

Skillset 6: The next metric they will look at is your overall understanding of your chosen medical niche in the general healthcare setting.

Skillset 7: Yup, even doctors need to be well-versed in computer software to do their job accurately. They want to ensure you are comfortable and knowledgeable in all the various systems used in the industry.

Skillset 8: Lastly, they want to ensure that you can draw from your experience to analyse and extrapolate complex data or laboratory work.

STP Transferable or Soft Skills

In addition to the many hard skills mentioned above, there are many other transferable skills, which are also critical for the job. Let's take a look.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills - Both oral and written communication are critical for explaining a wide range of issues to health professionals or laypeople alike. From speaking with a patient, making a formal presentation, and writing day to day reports, these skills are a must-have.

Be a Good Listener – Bedside manners is important, as well as being able to take constructive criticism from your bosses or co-workers. Additionally, one must also be adaptive, meaning that the health professional should have the ability to convey the same message to different people in a way that is right for them.

Independence and Organisation – Next, you will need to be a self-starter, while strictly adhering to guidelines. Additionally, depending on the position, you may also have to demonstrate the ability to plan, monitor, and set policy on the team level.

Safety and Support - You will come across patients in a range of conditions from light to severe and even those on death's door. Bedside manners are more important than ever. In a similar vein, knowing all the proper procedures for disposing of hazardous reagents and chemicals is important for your safety and those around you.

Pressure and Values – These two really go together because it's in the toughest moments that we can lose the values and principles we value. Keep your emotions in check and your ability to plan and work with the patient always at heart.


2021 Changes to Recruitment and STP Aptitude Test 

Now that you a broad understanding of the general process and specific skillsets the NHS will be looking for, here are some of the changes to the process in 2021.

Specialty Restriction: The first major change is that you are now only allowed to choose one specialty and not two. It is your responsibility to do as much research as possible before filing your application!

Long-listing assessment: The logical and numerical tests are out, and an online Situational Judgment Test is in. The test will focus on your behaviours, professionalism, and values.

Short-listing assessment: To better screen suitable candidates, applications will be judged against each other by using the STP trainee core person specification, see above.

No "Hold Offer" – In previous years, you were allowed to put an interview offer on hold until a preferred one became available. This year, that option has been eliminated, and your first offer is your only offer.

Interview Timetable While the interview itself will be similar; the timetable will be set according to specialty. Guidelines will be released soon.


NHS STP Aptitude Test Practice

SJTs have become a popular tool used by assessment companies, employers, and organisations to evaluate candidates' behavioural and cognitive abilities when introduced with daily work-related situations.

JobTestPep will get you fully ready for every aspect of the Situational Judgement Tests (SJT.) This psychological assessment presents you hypothetical, yet realistic, scenarios related to the job you are applying.

Our Scientist Training Programme Aptitude Test

As stated above, this will be the test you will face during the interview process. JobTestPrep has developed a Scientist Training Programme Aptitude Test designed to allow you to practice under real test conditions.

Like the real test, the scenarios we present in our SJT PrepPack always ask for a resolution of a given conflict which, although being hypothetical, might very much rely on, or represent, realistic situations that occur in a workplace.

While you will need to use your intuition; we will teach you how to comprehensively analyse the various scenarios and choose responses that highlight your skills to present yourself on the test better.

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