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Christina Vinothan BSc Healthcare Science, 2016

Cardiac Physiologist at The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals

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Hi, I'm Christina Vinothan and I studied Healthcare Science at the University of Southampton.

I have gained technical knowledge through the course, in the recording systems used for cardiac investigations, including non-invasive tests such as resting ECGs, ambulatory monitors, exercise tolerance tests and more invasive procedures like angiograms and pacemaker implants.

What made you select the University of Southampton for your undergraduate study?

I really liked the facilities and the mix of practical and taught sessions. I was impressed by the placements and opportunities which ultimately made me want to study at Southampton. When I came to visit on the open day, the staff were extremely friendly and I really liked the campus and all that it had to offer. 

What is Southampton like as a place to study?

Southampton is a great place to study! Lectures for healthcare science are taught both on campus and at the hospital. The facilities are really good and as a Healthcare student, I had access to both the Hartley Library and the Health Services Library based at the hospital too, which was really useful.

What did you enjoy about the course?

I enjoyed the mixture of taught and practical sessions. It meant that I could put the theoretical knowledge into practice and made lectures more interesting.

Were there any modules that you particularly enjoyed?

I really enjoyed the 'Advanced Cardiac Physiology' module in my final year as it focused on more of the invasive procedures and pacing aspects of cardiology. It was challenging but also really interesting and prepared me for my research project and final placement.

How useful did you find your clinical placements?

I found the placements very useful as it gave me exposure to patients and the cardiac department. I was able to learn so much from the cardiac physiologist there and other members of the multi-disciplinary team when on placements. I was also able to see how different departments worked and saw a wide range of pathologies, which prepared me for when I graduated.

Did you participate in any extra-curricular activities (such as clubs, societies) that provided skills that you have used since finishing your course?

I volunteered at the student cinema, Union Films. Volunteering and also being the cinema manager, helped me grow in confidence and enhance my interpersonal skills. I had to manage my time and be organised as well as leading a team of students. I have learnt to be proactive and plan ahead, as well as being able to problem solve when necessary. Having been in a role of leadership, I have gained a lot of experience dealing with conflicts and thriving under pressure.

What is your current profession?

I currently work as a Cardiac Physiologist at The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals.

How do you feel that your course prepared you for employment?

My time as a student Cardiac Physiologist has given me a great exposure to patient care - I have had a lot of patient contact, and worked with people of all ages, ranging from paediatrics to the elderly. Being able to work as part of a multidisciplinary team has also been a great experience. I have also gained a good level of technical knowledge through the course, in the recording systems used for cardiac investigations, including non-invasive tests such as resting ECGs, ambulatory monitors, exercise tolerance tests and more invasive procedures like angiograms and pacemaker implants. This made me prepared for employment and I have been able to carry out crucial diagnostic, monitoring and analytical procedures for patients with known or suspected heart disease in addition to assisting in the interventional procedures.

Do you have any plans for your future career progression?

I would ideally like to specialise in paediatric cardiology as that has always been interesting to me.

What tips would you give to current students looking to start a career in your sector? What could they be doing now to make themselves more employable when they graduate?

I would encourage prospective students to get some exposure into healthcare whether that be in a hospital setting or in the community to make sure it is definitely what they want to do because although being a cardiac physiologist is very interesting and rewarding, it can also be quite challenging at times. I would also encourage students to volunteer and make the most of their spare time to gain new skills and experiences because they will ultimately shape the kind of practitioner you become.

What advice would you give to a student starting their undergraduate study at Southampton?

I would tell them to make the most of being at University – join societies and try new things, because this is the time to grow and become the person you what to be. I would also advice students to make sure they find ways to cope with stress and the pressures that come with being an undergraduate. I was always told University is what you make of it, so make the most of your time because Southampton is an amazing place to get your undergraduate degree!

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of all the different experiences I had while at University – both academically and in my extra-curricular activities. I will look back fondly at my time as a student at Southampton.

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