Ben Guan – BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Physiological Sciences)

Current employer: Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Current job title: Senior Clinical Respiratory and Sleep Physiologist

Current location: Churchill Hospital, Oxford

“I would definitely recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University. It has truly been a fantastic and life changing experience.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Before I graduated, I attended a job interview with the NHS, where I actually misread the experience required! It was being advertised for a senior post, so you can imagine what my thoughts were when they mentioned during the interview that it was for a senior post! However, it seems they were impressed by me as I got the job. Since then, I’ve worked as a locum around the UK, finally settling down in Oxfordshire with my current Band 6 permanent post. I am hoping that by next year (2017) I’ll be on the Scientist Training Programme.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

My degree has given me many opportunities to expand my skills, opening many doors in what I’d like to specialise in further. The degree has also given me the opportunity to go into further training and study in the healthcare sciences masters programme, which I intend to apply for in January.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The most difficult thing has definitely been taking on the role of Acting Manager, as we faced some issues with staffing problems. I had additional responsibilities as well as my own, but it was certainly an experience that I learnt a great deal from.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

One of the best experiences was an outing sponsored by one of the pharmaceutical representatives who was keen to supply our department at the time; they had organised a night out to a restaurant with music, food and drink – all paid for! Certainly a good evening to remember!  

Imagine you were about to start university again – with the benefit of hindsight – what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

I’d probably tell myself to go further with my studies and to look into other areas, adding to my level of knowledge and experience. I’d probably also look at other clubs and societies to join, to try something different and pursue those interests.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

I’d tell them to study hard and to learn the skills involved as it requires excellent communication skills as well as being able to work under pressure. I’d also tell them to further their knowledge in the job at hand, picking up additional skills and ideas to improve one’s competency. And, finally, also to have fun!

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

At the time, the course was relatively new. I jumped at the opportunity to work and study in a healthcare related degree and I haven’t looked back since. I also loved the surrounding area of Plymouth, with the national park (Dartmoor) nearby to explore as well as the beautiful harbourside (The Barbican) to enjoy. Overall, it has been a fantastic experience and definitely rewarding.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

The degree gave me many opportunities to improve my skill set, such as developing my communication and teamwork skills. As the course was related to healthcare and working with the NHS, it was important to develop those skills alongside others such as timekeeping and organisation. Communication is definitely a key skill to have, as I often deal with patients and other clinicians on a daily basis. The course has certainly made me more confident in myself.

Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?

The degree gave me 50 weeks spread across three years working in a hospital, which I feel was really beneficial to my overall development; it gave me the chance to observe other physiologists at work and also to improve my own skills whilst working with patients. The clinical tutors I had all made me feel very welcome and supported me throughout the time I spent with them, making my experience certainly more enjoyable.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

My favourite memory is of my graduation ceremony and afterwards. The day started really well with beautiful weather and the graduation was held overlooking the Barbican, with gorgeous views of the sea. The best moment was certainly thanking and praising my tutors, both from the University and my clinical placement tutors for their support throughout the three years.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

I would definitely recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University. It has truly been a fantastic and life changing experience. From my first year to my third year, I feel that I have developed into a more mature person.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

I’d tell them to study hard as it’ll be worthwhile, even when you don’t think it’s worth it. Knowledge is truly a gift for those who look for it. But above all, enjoy the time you spend there: university is a great time to learn, develop, and to have fun!

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying healthcare science, please visit our BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Physiological Sciences) course page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences, please visit the school page.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other alumni from the School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences are currently doing, please visit the medicine and dentistry interest area.