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The really, really big question: new year resolutions

This month we ask:

What is your professional new year resolution? From inspiring the next generation of scientists, to achieving a better work–life balance and embracing change, here’s what recent magazine contributors said…

David Wells

Chief Executive, Institute of Biomedical Science

To push the profession further into advanced practice, supporting entry-level qualifications and continuing to raise the profile of everyone working in pathology and diagnostics with system leaders and the governments of the UK.

Rachael Nicholson

Pathology Hub Manager, Medica Reporting Ltd

I want to expand the service to keep up with the rapidly changing world of digital pathology. I’m looking forward to the possibility of integrating AI and other laboratory techniques to develop the service offering.

Leslie Ramos

Cellular Pathology Quality Section Manager/UHCW Mortuary HTA Person Designate, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

My professional new year resolution is to apply the “urgent important matrix”. With competing work priorities, there are times I tend not to complete some tasks assigned to me and this really frustrates me. Practising the “urgent important matrix” will help me decide and prioritise my tasks by urgency and importance, sorting out the less urgent and important tasks that I should delegate or not do at all.

Also, I would like to do something for myself every day. It’s a human nature to get caught up doing things for others and forget to do something for yourself. I plan to go on a walk on lunch breaks, treat myself to Starbucks hot chocolate, or just simply take five minutes at the end of my working day to gather my thoughts and unwind. It’s the little things that count.

Hannah Keyser

Lead Biomedical Scientist, Laboratory and Quality Manager, Neuropathology and Ocular Pathology, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

My new year resolution is to respond instead of reacting. The residual stress of COVID, plus new IT systems, and the new standard can sometimes feel overwhelming. Taking a breath and checking myself (am I reacting or responding?) will help me stay calm and hopefully lead to better outcomes.

Professor Michael Osborn

Immediate Past President RCPath, Clinical Lead Cellular Pathology, North West London Pathology

To continue to vigorously promote the fundamental role of pathology in all forms of patient care, from before birth to after death.

Joanna Andrew

President, IBMS

This year is the beginning of my IBMS presidency and I am very proud to be taking up this role. My key resolution is to continue the fantastic work that past President Debra Padgett has done to promote the profession. I am determined to inspire the next generation of biomedical scientists to become members and to ensure that our current members feel the benefit and are proud to be part of the IBMS. I wish to focus on workforce and ensure we have the biomedical scientists we need for the future.

Jayne Jones

Unit manager, Clinical Diagnostic Parasitology Laboratory, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

As a unit manager of a small, specialised clinical team it can be hard to take that step back to think about the bigger picture. I am going to make time for that headspace to allow for strategic planning, evaluation, development and growth of the unit.

Dr Olayinka Osuolale

Senior Lecturer, Elizade University, Nigeria

I don’t know what to expect, but I am looking forward to a favourable year in terms of research and funding. There are new skills I am looking to acquire, collaborations I am hoping to make and hopefully attaining a new horizon in career progression.

Lynda Rigby

Executive Head of Marketing and Membership, Institute of Biomedical Science

To grow our membership community in the UK and overseas and provide services that support members professionally and personally. This year we will also host our very first IBMS Awards ceremony and I am excited to celebrate your amazing achievements at this event.

Ian Smith

Head of Laboratory & Clinical Trials, Veritie Group

Last year was a year of change for me – moving into a research and development environment after many years working in the pathology service. My professional resolutions are based around supporting the profession in whatever small way I can, whether it be through innovation, such as my current work developing point-of-care Raman spectroscopy, or through other routes such as education and mentoring.

I aim to embrace change, search for, and deliver solutions to problems, celebrate successes within the workplace and encourage others to do the same.

Joanne Motte

Consultant Biomedical Scientist, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

In 2024 I hope to embrace, learn and develop more new skills, digital pathology being one of these. To control the controllable and cope with the uncontrollable, at work and in my personal life. Hopefully the choices and decisions

I make in the year ahead will help me to deliver the best service I can for the patients that pass under my microscope. Happy new year to all.

Rob Dabrowski

Editor, The Biomedical Scientist magazine

To represent, inform and entertain the amazing biomedical science workforce. I’d also like to bring new voices into the magazine and ensure we are covering the great breadth and depth of the IBMS membership.

To help me with the latter, anyone who would like to get involved with the magazine can email me at [email protected]

 Clemora Wilkinson

Senior Biomedical Scientist – POCT, POCT Coordinator, York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

It should be another exciting year for the world of point-of-care testing as we continue to expand and promote the work we do in laboratory medicine and beyond. The community diagnostic hub and virtual ward projects across the NHS are opening new and exciting collaborations for POCT in the community as we branch out further into primary care and work with the stakeholders involved in setting up these services. This means new staff to develop, new services to support, and coming up with innovative ways of working outside of the hospital. Another major personal goal for us in 2024 is POCT ISO accreditation – we have put a lot of hard work into the development of our department as we continue to work towards achieving the ISO 15189:2022 requirements… watch this space.

Dr Stephen Mortlock

Semi-retired bank Biomedical Scientist (Microbiology), Frimley Park Hospital

My professional 2024 new year resolutions are to continue to work on the bench where I can use my previous experiences to hopefully pass on useful snippets of information to the next generation of laboratory personnel and to promote the profession with continued participation on the IBMS History Committee. I will try to stimulate conversation and discussion by publishing topics of scientific interest in journals and to attend conferences to allow me to improve my own knowledge and understanding.

Alex Liversidge

Senior Lecturer, Leeds Beckett University

I am planning to continue to support our biomedical science students through placement opportunities with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – I look forward to seeing the first cohort graduate and qualify in July 2024.

I hope to keep developing employability skills by introducing a mentoring scheme and by incorporating innovative and relevant teaching sessions into the curriculum.

Sue Alexander

Head of Core Pathology, Trust Lead Scientist, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

I am writing at a time of transition in my life. I decided in 2023 to give up my role after 20 years in post and to negotiate a return in a new role supporting pathology in transitioning to the 2022 version of ISO 15189 over the coming year. My resolution is to fully understand assessing to the new standard and bring my UKAS assessing experience back to the workplace for the benefit of all pathology laboratories. My intention is also to work less and have more time for myself, however, with the number of UKAS assessments I am accepting for 2024, and other professional activities that are ramping up, I may well not achieve my resolution. But I wanted to ensure I retained purpose and structure in my life, and I will at least be able to achieve that.

And travel more…

Steve Clarke

Retired IBMS Fellow

My new year resolution is to produce articles that inform and stimulate IBMS members to take an interest in autoimmune diseases and encourage biomedical laboratory research on this topic.

Francis Yongblah

Laboratory Manager and HSST Clinical Scientist, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust

My professional new year resolution is to keep on learning. When I reflect on what I have learnt as a scientist this year, I am amazed at how it has contributed to my development and so I hope to keep this up in the new year.

Al Bryant

Healthcare Accreditation Specialist, UKAS

This year will be very busy for laboratories and UKAS working our way through the ISO 15189:2022 transition project. Although this will be a big focus of my work, my new year resolution is to ensure that the transition doesn’t take up all of my time and risk me taking my eye off the developments across the rest of the healthcare community. With the growth of AI in diagnostics, the roll-out of CDCs in England, developments in paediatric audiology and in diagnostic imaging accreditation, and UKAS’ own peer evaluation from the European co-operation for accreditation, 2024 is going to be another busy and exciting year.

Amy Read

Trainee Consultant Clinical Scientist, Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust

My professional new year resolutions are to continue to strive to achieve a good work–life balance while completing the HSST and to promote pathology and antimicrobial stewardship within the trust.

Carl Onwochei

Biomedical Scientist, Public Health Wales NHS Trust

My professional 2024 new year resolution is to knuckle down and finish my specialist diploma and to get more involved in training and development.

Emily-Louise Rose

Biomedical Scientist HCA Healthcare Laboratories

As a newly qualified biomedical scientist in a completely new role, having recently transitioned into private healthcare after a three-year stint in the NHS, it is safe to say that I am expecting lots of new responsibilities and opportunities for personal growth in the new year. My new role has definitely given me a lot more responsibility and has already been a learning curve. I am working alongside two other biomedical scientists to assist in the development of a new POCT department and hope that 2024 will bring us lots of new opportunities, ideas and adventures. I have already started on the validation for a new troponin analyser and hope to continue introducing new methods to improve patient healthcare outcomes in the new year.

I am also hoping to focus on my career progression by completing an IBMS Certificate of Expert Practice for POCT and continuing to learn new things to create solid scientific foundations for my future.

“I hope to continue introducing new methods to improve patient healthcare outcomes”

Dan Nimmo

Head of Communications, Institute of Biomedical Science

In 2022 the IBMS took over the running of Harvey’s Gang as the charity was wound down. Whilst we set about picking up the responsibilities and learning more about organising the tours from Malcolm last year, 2024 will see us begin to implement some new ideas. To start, we will see the Superlab comic characters being used in Harvey’s Gang promotional materials and lab coat-wearing teddy bears given out to all young patients who take a tour. To promote Harvey’s Gang to a wider audience, we’re also looking at ways we can work with more departments that regularly process samples for young patients.

Stuart Dawe-Long

Andrology Lead, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

I plan to continue to support the development of biomedical and clinical andrologists through the lens of clinical, patient-focused activity and innovative practice. This in turn will support our patients during times of difficulty and uncertainty.

Sarah Gibson

Consultant Biomedical Scientist in Gastrointestinal Histopathology, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust

Given the continuing workload rises and ongoing workforce shortages in cellular pathology, my professional new year resolution for 2024 is to continue to promote advanced qualifications for biomedical scientists in histological dissection and reporting.

Alongside this, I will continue to provide mentorship and support to those who are embarking on these advanced qualifications. I will also increase my commitment to the training and development of medical histopathology trainees.

My hope for 2024 is that some of the politics and divides that continue to exist around biomedical scientist reporting can be put aside, and we can develop a sustainable diverse workforce that is able to withstand future challenges.

Jeyrroy Anjalo Gabriel

Senior Biomedical Scientist, St John’s Dermatopathology Laboratory, Synnovis Analytics

In 2024, we will witness the realisation of a significant transformation project. This project involves consolidating numerous laboratories from various sites across London into a centralised hub-and-spoke model. In the coming year, I resolve to embrace change with unwavering resilience in my professional journey.

I will aim to view challenges as opportunities for growth, adapting to new technologies, methodologies and healthcare demands with an open mind.

I will actively seek to enhance my skills, stay flexible in the face of evolving challenges, and support my colleagues in navigating this transition. By fostering resilience, I aim not only to endure the changes, but to harness this opportunity for personal and professional development. Here’s to a year of embracing change with strength, adaptability and a positive outlook.

Dr Alistair Gammie

Principal Independent Consultant, QuidelOrtho

In 2023 I retired from my full-time position of Global Head of Consulting for QuidelOrtho and in 2024 I am still committed to my three great loves, which are: lean and workflow consulting; trying to help laboratories improve their outcomes in line with their mission and vision; and sustainability, both within and outside of the laboratory, and ensuring we all remain clear that sustainability is bigger than just global warming but also making sure that laboratory medicine is thriving and growing into the next century. Last, but not least, UK virology – whilst I am not practising, I aim to stay on the IBMS Specialist Advisory Panel for at least one more year to support the great team of professionals we have on there.

Janet Gilbertson

Principal Scientist, National Amyloidosis Centre, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

As we are all aware, 2023 has been challenging as we try to meet new targets, often working long hours.

My aim for 2024 is to address my work–life balance, setting and sticking to boundaries. Hopefully, this will lead to a healthier lifestyle, returning more energised and, in turn, creating a more productive work environment benefiting patients and their treatment pathways.

Agatha Christie S Saez

Healthcare Scientist Team Manager and Quality Lead, UK NEQAS Parasitology

For 2024, my professional new year resolution is to continue to support the expansion of UK NEQAS Parasitology by introducing a digital microscopy EQA scheme. An electronic library of images will be created and used. The participants will be assessed on their ability to diagnose routine as well as rare parasites – those not commonly seen in the UK.

Kunalini Shanmuganathan

Specialist Biomedical Scientist, Blood Sciences, Hillingdon Hospital, North West London Pathology

My professional new year resolutions for 2024 are to improve existing goals, create a healthy work–life balance and seek new challenges to expand my knowledge and personal growth.

I believe that the key to successful resolutions is to set timelines and achievable goals. Tracking milestones and maintaining motivation are crucial elements for achieving success.

Tahmina Hussain

Programme Lead-Biomedical Science Degree Apprenticeship and Lecturer in Biomedical Science, University of Salford

I am really excited for this year – my goal is to focus on research for my PhD and to continue leading on the EDI work at the IBMS. I am looking forward to another very busy year ahead.

Sue Jones

Executive Head of Education, Institute of Biomedical Science 

To support colleagues in practice, apprentices, students and academic colleagues in pre-registration education and training by using the updated HCPC Standards of Proficiency and QAA Subject Benchmark Statement to inform and improve the quality of our laboratory training and accredited degree programmes.

Tony Cambridge

Lead Biomedical Scientist, Pathology Management, Blood Sciences and Point-of-Care Testing, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

Last year was very busy for me having served on a number of advisory committees, steering groups, and becoming an IBMS tutor for POCT. My resolution for 2024 is to continue sharing my experiences, to support individuals across a number of healthcare specialties. I hope to expand the number of Thornhill Healthcare Events I hold, continuing to offer free attendance to NHS and academic delegates. Through I’ve created a platform for those in POCT and rapid testing to have a voice, and hope to see plenty of contributions from the biomedical and clinical scientist communities in the year to come.

Dr Imeobong Antia

Lecturer in Clinical Biochemistry University of Central Lancashire

My new year resolution is to get more involved with the biomedical science profession, explore more innovative ways of teaching and double my efforts in acquiring research funding, so I can offer more training opportunities to students alongside improving my research.

“We must develop our staff to stand a chance of success in the future.”

Paul Chenery

Head of Quality, Training & Strategic Improvement, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

This year will bring more challenges than ever, with increasing demands and fewer resources. Advances in molecular diagnostics mean pathways are more complex and rapidly changing. My resolution will be a renewed commitment to ensure all my staff have the opportunity to succeed and as many opportunities to develop, balanced against the needs of a busy diagnostic service. We must develop our staff to stand a chance of success in the future.

Nicki Lawrence

Principal Biomedical Scientist Advanced Practitioner in Morphology Haematology, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

My new year resolution for 2024 is to concentrate on education and training for haematology, and in particular morphology, across our pathology network.

I want to ensure that all members of the team are afforded the same training opportunities regardless of the site they are located on. There can be challenges associated with the delivery of morphology training due to the number and range of interesting and abnormal morphology cases that each lab within the network may encounter – smaller DGHs for example will have less exposure to a wider range of cases but still need to be able to identify rarer morphology. The use of the Teams platform has allowed us to work in a more collaborative way in order that we can deliver our “Bitesize Morphology” sessions for live interactive training, so that we can share a wide range of cases including those that might be a once-in-a-career case. In 2024 I’d like to expand the “Bitesize Morphology” sessions and ensure delivery of them is more robust.

Dr Helene-Mari Van Der Westhuizen

Lecturer, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Oxford University

In 2023 I received valuable career guidance from senior researchers in my field – when I contacted them to say thank you, their response was: “This is not something to pay back, but rather pay forward.” This will be my resolution for 2024.

Nikki Swarbrick

Laboratory Incident Specialist, Serious Hazards of Transfusion (SHOT)

In 2024 I am looking forward to continuing to improve transfusion safety throughout the UK through promotion of SHOT recommendations, learning from transfusion incidents and ACE reports, participating in educational events, collaborating with the transfusion community and developing new SHOT resources. In particular, I’m looking forward to improving transfusion IT practices through the IT working group SCRIPT. It’s an exciting year ahead!  

Image credit | Shutterstock | iStock | Getty

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