Rebecca Morrison, specialist clinical physiologist
Rebecca has been working as a specialist clinical physiologist in the neurophysiology department here at University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust (UHS) after qualifying from the scientist training programme (STP) one year ago.
'There are lots of incredible scientist roles here within UHS that you can apply for with the right experience, such as medical rehabilitation engineering and genetic counselling. I chose neurophysiology as I had a background in neuropsychology. I actually attended an open day at the hospital before applying and was able to talk to people in the field. These people are now my colleagues!
'The STP course takes three years to complete and includes in house training in your host hospital, as well as teaching segments and distance learning. Southampton was my top choice as it is one of the larger neurological centres in the South and offers specialist techniques which are not performed at all hospitals. I was incredibly happy to gain my place here.
'In our role we perform tests that diagnose conditions of the brain and nervous system in both outpatients and inpatients ranging from small babies to the elderly. One of the key tests that we carry out are electroencephalograms. This is where we look at the electrical activity of the brain using a number of electrodes stuck to the scalp. We look for particular patterns that are used to diagnose different types of epilepsy. In other tests like nerve conduction and evoked potentials we check the function of nerves, or sets of nerves looking for entrapments (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) or wider issues (such as neuropathies). I learnt to perform and report these tests during my training and am now looking forward to continuing to learn new skills such as intra-operative monitoring. This is where the nerves are stimulated and monitored during surgery helping to make sure that they are not damaged.
'Outside of work I do a lot of surfing and climbing so being so close to the coast was an added bonus! After qualifying last summer, I gained a full time position here and a friend of mine from the STP course also joined us at UHS which just made it even better. My first year being fully qualified has gone past so quickly and has been really rewarding.
'To anyone looking to start a career in neurophysiology, I would say it’s a challenging but extremely rewarding career. The role is a fantastic mix of applying science and working with patients.'