For BMS day this week, we thought it was a great opportunity to introduce you to Suzanne Hughes our new Training and Quality Control Coordinator. With 10 years of experience and memberships in HCPC and IBMS, Suzanne is bringing a wealth of experience to her new role in the Weqas team. Weqas is dedicated to high-quality education and training to support the progression of scientific expertise. The training opportunities in Weqas will increase with Suzanne’s appointment to this position, and we are all delighted to progress with our training plans.
An interview with Suzanne
What is your proudest achievement?
“Having my son in July 2022 and being appointed to my first senior position as the Training and Quality Control Co-ordinator at Weqas in March 2023 whilst on maternity leave – multi-tasking at its finest!”.
What or who inspired you to start a career in science?
“A career in science has always been a goal of mine. Scientific subjects in school were always so enjoyable, I remember being absolutely fascinated learning about the human body and how all the different systems work together for health during my A levels. It amazed me (and still does!) which led me to a career as a Biomedical Scientist”.
What made the scientific subjects more enjoyable?
“My biology teacher made a real effort to make the subject fun and relatable. Her style of teaching engaged my class and encouraged us to learn more, push our boundaries, and achieve our goals. Many of my classmates have also gone on to have successful careers in healthcare which is no doubt down to her charismatic teaching style”.
Why did you choose Biomedical Science?
“Biomedical Science was a perfect fit for me. You can apply your scientific knowledge to a career that allows you to take a multi-disciplinary, investigative approach to human diseases. You are part of the wider healthcare system, focusing on quality and patient safety.”
When did you start your career in Science?
“I graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2012 with a First-Class Honours BSc Applied Biomedical Science degree”.
“As part of the degree, a 12 month laboratory placement was organised which I undertook at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in the Biochemistry department. Having a placement is unquestionably beneficial, and helped me build a solid foundation of laboratory skills whilst also applying what I had learnt in lectures to the working environment, which I think has been absolutely vital for my success in the profession so far. After my degree, I started a qualified position in the same department, which was where I completed my Specialist Diploma in Clinical Chemistry”.
“In 2017, I began working in Weqas as a Specialist BMS within the EQA team, and I’ve now been appointed as the Training and Quality Control Co-ordinator”.
What are you looking forward to most in your new role?
“I’m really excited to see where I can take this new role, to not only reinforce the importance of good training but also to help others have the same positive experiences as I did when I started out in the profession”.
“Education & training is something that I’m incredibly passionate about, we all spend such a large part of our week in our working environments and so I think it’s really important to take enjoyment out of it and pass that on!”
Have you seen a change in the amount of women in STEM?
“Absolutely, I’ve definitely noticed a progressive change in the number of women working in a variety of different roles within the NHS since I began my career, and this is not just within laboratory medicine. Flexible working is a huge factor to help encourage women back into work after starting a family, which is something I’m currently navigating with a 10 month old keeping me very busy outside of the office!”.
“Many of my female friends work in a wide range of different patient/non-patient facing roles within the NHS, all who have worked hard to cement their positions within their own speciality and promote inclusivity for women in the workplace. I’m also very lucky to be surrounded by a group of strong and powerful women in Weqas who support each other both within and outside of work, many of whom are proud members of the IBMS – a major professional organisation that commemorated 100 years of women in the institution in 2022”.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the Science/IBMS community?
“Working as a Biomedical Scientist and IBMS Member gives me the opportunity to continually improve my knowledge based on new developments and constantly updating guidelines which definitely keeps me on my toes!”
“Each day is varied and exciting, and this adaptive nature of an ever-changing science role is what attracted me to a career in the NHS in the first place. I feel honoured to work for the NHS and be part of this wider team, and as the Training Officer for Weqas I’m committed to inspire others to continually adapt, learn and improve their skill sets to help all staff be the best versions of themselves, encouraging a passionate workforce with positive energy”
What would you say to anyone who wants to start a career in Science?
“Go for it! If you enjoy continual learning and finding ways to improve processes in a dynamic environment that is often fast paced and exciting, then choosing something scientific for your career path is a sure-fire way to ensure you have lifelong job satisfaction”.
“I feel very fortunate that I take such enjoyment from my vocation and I would encourage anyone looking to develop a wide-ranging expertise and achieve fulfilment through work to consider a scientific career and explore your options.”
What do you think is the key to successful training and education for other Scientists?
“I think making learning fun and engaging – just as my Biology teacher did for me when I was starting my journey into a science-based career is so important”.
“My goal is to endorse and encourage this while setting achievable milestones for myself, and the team here at Weqas”.
“Transparency is hugely important so staff and team leaders can clearly see what each individual has achieved to promote enjoyment and celebrate achievements. Together we can identify any knowledge gaps or areas for improvement and ensure everyone has access to high-quality training and the opportunity for progression, personal satisfaction, success in work”.
“I’m delighted to have this opportunity to be in a role that can help people achieve their career objectives”.