Graduating and working during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Finishing our MSc in Science Communication and graduating during a pandemic and national lockdowns was not how any of us expected it to go. But despite that I managed to get a job a few months after submitting my thesis. Not only that, but what I learnt, the work I did and the experiences I had on the MSc helped me to get the role along with my previous experience working in NHS roles.

I am working as content coordinator for NHS Blood and Transplant, the organisation which is responsible for the supply of blood, organs, tissues and stem cells. Most of my role is about developing and producing content for The Donor, a newsletter which is sent to everyone who is registered as a blood donor four times per year. We share donor stories, recipient stories, updates about the donation process, information about different blood types and types of donations, how important blood and organ donations are etc. Whilst not every article is super sciency, the aim is to engage the readers and keep the donors donating to meet the constant demand for blood products.

My writing improved so much during the masters and I think that has definitely helped me get the role as I had to write an article as part of the interview process. It has also helped in my day-to-day work. I go back to the news structure we learnt in the Writing Science module again and again when writing articles at work. It’s currently on a sticky note stuck on the wall above my desk.

Starting a new job whilst working from home in lockdown wasn’t without its challenges but in the past year and a bit I have:

  • Contributed to five editions of The Donor
  • Learnt the editorial process and house style of writing; spoken to/interviewed donors, recipients and internal/external stakeholders
  • Built confidence and developed my personal style
  • Learnt about blood donation, blood components and treatments
  • Chosen supporting images, designed articles and uploaded them onto the content management system

Researched and written a new regular scientific feature called functions of blood. Each article focuses on a different key role of our blood: transport, immunity and clotting. Did you know that the body has 60,000 miles of blood vessels? This is long enough to circle the globe more than twice.

I’ve also donated blood three times so far and counting!

By Morwenna Bugg

Morwenna was a student on the MSc in Science Communication at UWE Bristol in the 2019-2020 academic year.

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