The Application Process
To apply for histopathology training you need to have completed a medical degree (MBChB, MBBS, or similar) and have either a completed FACD 5.2 form or be due to successfully complete a foundation years training programme. In 2015 approximately one third of successful applicants came directly from foundation years training. The remaining two thirds had some form of medical/ surgical post (core speciality training or a stand alone post) before applying for histopathology training. Ten per cent of new trainees already had a national training number (NTN) in another speciality and chose to change careers to histopathology. In 2019 the competition ratio for histopathology applications was 2.09.
Applications for histopathology usually open in November and are co-ordinated online through the Oriel recruitment portal. Candidates must complete an online application form; those that demonstrate the competencies described in the person specification then proceed to an interview in January-March. Take a look at this recent BMJ Careers article ‘How to succeed in your histopathology application’.
The best way to prepare yourself for the application and interview is to get experience of histopathology through a taster week, get involved with a histopathology audit or research project and speak to consultant and trainee histopathologists.
LaSE now have a new applicant support portal https://hee.freshdesk.com/support/home, which also contains a large number of FAQs.
The national specialty recruitment 2020 timeline and applicant handbook have now been published and are available at https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/Recruitment/Recruitment-timelines. Here you will find details such as when applications are open.
The Application Form
Competencies are assessed via free text boxes that ask you to describe your understanding of a career in pathology, any experience you may have of the speciality (e.g. taster weeks, medical school placements), your experience of how pathology contributes to patient care and any relevant audit/ research projects you have undertaken.
The Interview Process
Interviews are coordinated by LaSE and take place at a central London location. The interview is 2-3 hours long and takes the format of multiple stations. The stations assess a wide range of skills and attitudes including communication skills, understanding of the role of the pathologist, teamwork, clinico-pathological correlation and presentation/ communication skills. Details about what to expect from the interview are sent to all applicants at the time of invitation.