My Placement Experience: Meghan Williams

Posted on: 7 February 2023 by Samantha Riella in Student experiences

Meghan Williams tells us more about her placement experience in the Neurology Labs in the Walton Centre in Fazakerley, Liverpool.

Introduce yourself!

My name is Meghan Williams and I study Biological and Medical Sciences MBiolSci. I am currently in my integrated master’s year looking for postgraduate opportunities and enjoying my final few months as a student in Liverpool. I have a huge interest in science communications and clinical science. The LIFE701 module helped me gain valuable insight into the clinical science industry and gave me the opportunity to develop my skill set with evidence of how I have done this for my CV and personal statements. It prepared me for what the role of a clinical scientist encompasses, allowed me to network and introduced me to some amazing people that have given me valuable advice about career progression.

Where was your internship and what did you do?

My internship was based at The Walton Centre in Fazakerley, Liverpool. I spent my time in the Neurology Labs with my main tasks being to conduct service evaluations of two diagnostic methods employed at The Walton Centre. This is a common clinical audit task as it ensures the efficacy of the laboratory techniques used to analyse patient samples in order to reach a diagnosis. I reviewed test requests and results for anti-glycolipid ELISA assays and indirect immunofluorescence for anti-NMDAR detection as well as the clinical data of both a positive and negative group of patients. Through comparison of clinical and test data, I was able to reach a decision of how many patient results were ‘expected’ (or concordant) and how many were unexpected. As well as these tasks, I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time observing diagnostic techniques and analysing their results in the neuropathology, neurobiochemistry and neuroimmunology labs. Part of this experience included watching the post-mortem cut of a human brain to assess the cause of death, which was an experience I will probably never get again. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to independently revalidate a mass spectrometry method for anti-epileptic drug detection, which was very fun and allowed me to develop my lab skills independently.

How did you find the internship experience and what did you learn?

This experience was emotionally demanding at times and it helped me understand why quality control and accuracy is so vital when conducting diagnostic tests on patient samples. Despite this, it was incredibly rewarding knowing my work would positively impact both the staff and patients at The Walton Centre. After this process, I am sure of the fact that I want to pursue a clinical scientist career in order to bridge the gap between lab-based science and patient facing clinical work and I have applied to the NHS scientist training programme resultantly.

What are some top skills you’ve picked up during the internship?

Organisation, problem solving, self-motivation, reflection skills, resilience, teamwork, communication, data analysis and scientific writing.

How did you find the support available while you secured your work experience?

I could not fault it whatsoever. My module leader Dr Raheela Awais helped organise my internship and there were a multitude of opportunities available on Handshake and LinkedIn.

What is next for you?

As mentioned, I am looking for postgraduate positions and have applied for the NHS STP. I am very aware whilst applying how much of an advantage this placement has been in terms of evidencing the skills I claim that I have, as well as providing me with great references and impressive experience.

I feel much more confident finishing my degree since having done a placement.

What is your top tip for students currently looking for work experience?

Think about the skills you could gain in certain work experience settings and decide which one you would like based on this. Also, choose one you will enjoy as this is essential for making the most of it!