Longer Days & Brighter Ways

Every year, I write about the joy I feel at no longer arriving at work in the dark to leave in the afternoon once again to the darkness. I’ve nothing against night, or the dark, as far as I know but it does feel unnatural to not see any kind of sunlight for any of the midweek. It is largely my own laziness, they do let me leave the basement should I so wish to do so, I just often feel no need to leave in my lunch when I could sit down and have a cup of tea.

Across the country, those in the death industry are noticing things calming down and the work resuming to normal levels. Or if anything, actually still not entirely normal but certainly more manageable than January or February. We are also feeling this across our team as those helping us out have nearly all returned to their own departments and there are far less living people in the mortuary. On Friday we had a little final feast before we said farewell to our latest helper who is returning to their usual work. It’s really bittersweet to see people we love working with leave, especially when they have really enjoyed their time with us. It does seem strange to go through this all again too, it wasn’t that long ago we thought we would not see people redeployed to us again only to have them back a mere six months later.

With the warmer, brighter weather comes a lot of optimism and hope for the future. I find myself wondering what direction I am moving in and what comes next in the MortuaryGem journey I am on. I have one project I am working on which I still cannot yet talk about, but I am hoping will move forward in the coming months. Alongside that, I am helping with our trainee’s assignments and exam revision over the coming year as they train to qualify in 2022. There is another qualification that I can undertake which I do hope to do either next year or the year after depending on availability and some other factors, in the meantime I want to focus on putting together my evidence and application for registration. I certainly am not short of things to keep me occupied as ever.

Registration is something that is very important to me and I would like to explain why. In the UK, there is no compulsory registration for APTs although it can be completed on a voluntary basis with the AHCS (Academy for Healthcare Science) or the Science Council. What this means is you are part of an organisation and agree to follow their guidelines and principles, like their Code of Conduct. By being registered you show that you take your profession very seriously and are committed to being as up to date as possible with your training alongside working to a set of standards. In the past, the mortuary technician role was not seen as requiring this level of monitoring which surprises a lot of people I speak to. With the growing Healthcare Science sector, and the role of the APT being developed, the qualifications for APTs became more complex to align with other healthcare science roles. In this way, the role of APT should be protected in order for it to be seen as a profession akin to a Biomedical scientist, for example. Not only would this be beneficial to APTs who would be protected in their roles and know that they are working to standards that are set universally, but it would also mean the roles sitting at higher levels. Currently, trainee APT roles can be at a Band 2 or 3 in the NHS scheme which puts them on par with porter staff and healthcare assistants. We work closely with staff from a number of areas who see the work that trainees do and are always surprised that they sit at this level as it seems out of alignment with other healthcare science roles. In theory, without this you could have people not fit for the role working in mortuaries and this would be unfair to the deceased in their care and their families.

I hope that in the future most people will have heard of an APT and be familiar with what that is and what it means. There is no reason why this cannot happen. For now, you’ll just have to settle for me telling literally everyone I meet what it is and what I do!

Looking in the less distant future, I have some time off soon so I do feel a bit like I am just slowly crawling towards that feeling the burnout from the last few months. I have still been attending a number of online talks each week which is great, I still love that I can do that from the comfort of my own home. There is a very peaceful feeling to life for me at the moment, in which I am finally feeling like I have as much time as I need to do the things I want to do. For as long as that lasts, I will never take that for granted,

MG x

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