‘Role model’ Rachael Bailey awarded NTU Apprentice of the Year 2022 | Apprenticeship stories

‘Role model’ Rachael Bailey awarded NTU Apprentice of the Year 2022

Rachel Bailey Apprentice

A biomedical scientist at UHDB has received two awards after completing a degree level apprenticeship funded by the Trust.

Rachael Bailey, one of the first cohort to complete the Nottingham Trent University Level 6 Apprenticeship course at UHDB in histopathology, was recently awarded the prize for NTU Apprentice of the Year for Health, Education and Social Care.

Not only was Rachael victorious in winning her category, but she was also unanimously voted the Overall Apprentice of the Year 2022 for her work.

Rachael is soon to graduate this year with a First Class Hons in Biomedical Science, and will practice as a HCPC registered scientist.

She said:

“I’m pretty ecstatic with my double award, and I really wasn’t expecting it. I’d previously worked in a private lab looking at bacteria, a bit unsure what to do with my Biology degree from University of Portsmouth (2003) – I had even considered going into the Royal Navy as a warfare officer.

“Then, in July 2017 I saw an advert for Lab Assistant at Royal Derby Hospital, and since I’m a practical person, doing a practical role was exactly what I wanted – especially in the care sector.

“Within 12 months of joining RDH I applied for the apprenticeship route. Although I’d never heard of histology before I joined the Trust, I knew the apprenticeship would be the best way for me to learn. It was a hands-on ‘earn while you learn’ course, working alongside other biomedical scientists with over 25 years’ experience.

Histology receive samples for biopsies from different departments and then transform and examine them to allow consultants to make diagnoses

Rachel added: “Behind every sample is a patient, and behind them is a family.

“Just because you’re not in a patient-facing role as such, it doesn’t mean that the Trust’s values don’t apply – you know what a patient and their friends and family go through when they’re waiting for a diagnosis, and everything in this role is paramount to allow that to happen as quickly as possible.”

This is a key part of what made Rachael such an outstanding member of the team, according to her manager Gavin Regan, Cellular Pathology Service Manager at Derbyshire Pathology, was that he knew “the patient was always the forefront of her mind.

“She embodies the Trust’s PRIDE values, which underpins our pathology message – completing the right tests, at the right time, giving the right diagnosis to the right patient.

“Rachael is a such a great role model for the team. I can always count on her, and she has stepped up time and time again not only to help her colleagues, but also ensure she is delivering first class care to our patients within histopathology.”

Rachael said she felt “immense pride” having been one of the first Level 6 Apprentices to complete the course, which she hoped would set a high standard for all who enrol in future.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. Take on the challenge, and take yourself out of your comfort zone. This was the best decision I’ve ever made. It has progressed my career, and I’ve met some great colleagues along the way.

“You’ve got to be committed and go the extra mile every day and I’ve always tried to do that – so to have the recognition of the awards at the end of it has been a proud moment for me.”

Gavin agreed that going above and beyond was essential to the apprenticeship, but that should incentivise not discourage enrolment, and anyone thinking about taking the course should ‘go for it.’

“Don’t underestimate the time and energy required, but it couldn’t be more worth it. The course provides you with the registration and invaluable knowledge-based training required to become a biomedical scientist. Take the plunge – if you have colleagues like Rachael supporting you, there is nothing you can’t achieve.”

UHDB offers a range of apprenticeship programmes both for colleagues who are joining the Trust, and for colleagues who want to continue their learning, while receiving a salary and gaining practical experience. The Trust offers apprenticeships in lots of areas to develop and nurture colleagues and create a skilled and motivated workforce.  

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