Fireside Chat: Katherine Collins (Howe 1999)

Fireside Chat: Katherine Collins (Howe 1999) Cardiac Physiologist, Scientist and Educator

Fireside Chats at RHS are designed to encourage our pupils to gain valuable insights from alumni who are leaders in their fields. So far over 200 pupils have attended these events normally hosted by the Headmaster over at Holbrook House. Pupils have engaged with pioneers of entrepreneurship, technology, film, science and health care, finance, aviation, and civil society.

Most recently the Headmaster and pupils were thrilled to have a 'heart to heart' with Cardiac Physiologist Katherine Collins (Howe 1999). Katherine shared her RHS journey from Science nerd, Chorister, and Head of Howe to the chance discovery that led to a successful career in Healthcare Science (and now a Fellow of the British Society of Echocardiography holding the impressive Twitter handle: The Echo Nerd).

Katherine, an Echocardiographer, scientist and educator explored with pupils the little understood pathways to nearly 50 Healthcare Science specialisms – really important roles that need to be filled in our healthcare system. Pupils learnt that whilst Healthcare Scientists represent just under 5% of the medical profession, they contribute towards over 80% of patient care. It was a great insight into the professionals who play a vital role in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a huge number of medical conditions. Pupils' preconceptions about the standard doctor or nurse route to healthcare were also challenged as well as the working environments that range from direct patient care, to academic research to application in commerce and industry.

In terms of Echocardiography pupils learnt that 'no two hearts are the same' - Katherine would know as she has examined 25,000 of them! Pupils learnt that curiosity and a passion for helping people, qualities that come naturally to RHS pupils, can transform patients' lives. Talking of scanning – pupils had fun themselves on the (very expensive!) ultrasound machine.

Reflecting on the ethos and values of RHS, Katherine cited the diversity, confidence and backbone of an RHS education as a major factor in her success and commitment to serving others. Katherine reflected on the ups and downs of her RHS experience and shared some sage advice from her father given to her when she initially performed badly in exams "you only fail when you give up".

We are grateful to Katherine and all our alumni who give their time to come back and inspire the next generation.


To suggest a speaker or to find out more about the programme please contact Simon Marsh in the Alumni and Development Office ( /01473 326150).