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.
"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."