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Hospital visits inspire schoolgirls to healthcare and research careers

PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 August 2019

Emily Read leading an I Can Be session with Smithy Street Primary School girls in the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at Guy’s Hospital. Picture: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Emily Read leading an I Can Be session with Smithy Street Primary School girls in the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at Guy's Hospital. Picture: Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

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Schoolgirls have been visiting hospital staff to learn about healthcare and research careers.

St John’s CE Primary School girls practising measuring head circumference using models in the neonatal unit. Picture: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation TrustSt John’s CE Primary School girls practising measuring head circumference using models in the neonatal unit. Picture: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

In partnership with charity I Can Be, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust staff have hosted 24 visits from children aged seven and eight to help inspire young people to work in science fields.

Sessions have focused on a range of roles and subjects, including statistics, cells and bacteria, and speech and language therapy.

Girls from Smithy Street Primary School in Stepney Green and St John's Primary in Bethnal Green were among those who took part.

Guy's and St Thomas' research nurse Jakki Brandon has led sessions showing girls how she prepares newborns for MRI scans.

She said: "I wanted to get involved with I Can Be, not only because I feel strongly about providing opportunities for children and young people to learn about potential careers, but also because I'm passionate about my job.

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"I feel really privileged to be in a role and a team which contributes to valuable research and healthcare.

"I felt that if I could help to spread that message in any way to children and young people then that would be hugely rewarding."

On another visit, researcher Emily Read taught girls about cells and bacteria by making Petri dish art.

I Can Be brings children into the world of work to introduce them to inspiring people and help them discover career opportunities, with a particular emphasis on science careers, where women are underrepresented.

Founding director Anastasia de Waal said: "That so many professionals, with important and busy jobs, wanted to give their time to inspire girls was overwhelming, and not something we've seen in many of the industries we work within.

"The staff have planned exciting and imaginative activities for the children, finding practical ways to teach them about complex things.

"The hands-on approach the volunteers have taken, and the time spent carefully planning these activities, makes the visits really special.

"The volunteers are having a big impact on the children and making such an impression that many now want to follow in their footsteps."

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