Explore: Healthcare

Radiographer (diagnostic)
Addenbrookes Hospital

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Emma J

00:00:01 My name’s Emma J, and I’m a Radiographer. A Radiographer generates images of patients to help doctors make a diagnosis, and to treat patients with different diseases and conditions. I’ve been training for three years, I qualified five weeks ago. I decided that I’d like a job where I worked in a hospital environment, and where I got to meet lots of people. ‘Cause I used to work in a lab, on my own, with bacteria. (LAUGHS)

00:00:28 I think I was quite Goody Two Shoes at school. I didn’t work particularly hard but I enjoyed it and I behaved myself. I always enjoyed science, it was one of my favourite subjects when I was at school. I knew that that’s what I wanted to do, so I started off on a Biological Sciences degree, and I sort of veered into Microbiology because I found the modules the most enjoyable. Microbiology’s an umbrella term which basically means the study of bacteria and other organisms. So when I graduated with a Microbiology degree, I just applied for various different jobs, and I got a research job and I worked in a dental hospital in London. I knew that I wasn’t particularly enjoying my job. The science was interesting, but my day to day routine wasn’t.

00:01:10 So although I was a bit nervous about leaving all that behind, I was sort of quite excited that I was going in to something that I found more interesting and more rewarding. Most people were quite supportive, but some were sort of – well why are you doing that when you’ve spent all that time and money in training as a Microbiologist? I didn’t know what I was going to do, and I just got a job as a cleaner and I thought well, I’ll see how things go, and I’ll decide what I’m going to do in the future. And it was – it was OK, it was quite strange ’cause I was cleaning at a big Science Facility round here, cleaning up after other researchers. But I didn’t mind it, I mean I wasn’t unhappy in what I was doing and it gave me a chance to, you know, sort myself out and really decide what I wanted to do.

00:02:00 And then I got a job at a small manufacturing company where I made pumps that they used to introduce medicine into animals’ feed and water, which is quite a diversion from what I’d done before. And the job was actually quite interesting, it was quite technical, I had to build things and test things and service things. It was while I was doing that that I started researching what I actually wanted to do as a career.

00:02:23 When I decided that I wanted to look for a job in a hospital environment, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do, and I started researching the different jobs that were about. I did a Google search on Radiography, and I found the Society of Radiographers website. And I also looked at the local hospitals in my area, and rang a department and asked if I could have a visit. And they were quite open to me visiting. The variety of Radiography definitely attracted me, because the variety was what was lacking in the job that I did before. So I was attracted to the fact that I’d be using different sorts of equipment, and performing different imaging procedures, and meeting different patients with different needs.

00:03:09 I don’t think that I’m displeased at how I’ve ended up being a Radiographer, because I think you make certain decisions at the time based on how you feel, and the knowledge that you have. So I’m glad I took the route I did ’cause that’s just how my life sort of happened. Now I’ve retrained as a Radiographer, I’d like to see how I get on in this hospital, how the sort of early part of my new career goes, but hopefully I’ll have quite a long career here

00:03:08 ENDS


Emma J used to “work in a lab, on my own, with bacteria”, realising that this was not the environment to which she was best suited, she tried a number of options before becoming a radiographer. “The variety of radiography definitely attracted me, because the variety was what was lacking in the job that I did before.”

More information about Medical radiographers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

24%  male 
76%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Medical (diagnostic) radiographers operate x-ray machines, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging and other imaging devices for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, assist in the diagnosis of injuries and diseases and are involved in intervention procedures such as the removal of kidney stones. They operate under the supervision of senior staff. Therapeutic radiographers specialise in the planning and administration of radiotherapy treatment for patients with cancer.
Entrants for medical radiography possess a degree in radiography recognised by the Health Professions Council (HPC). Those with a relevant first degree may qualify by completing a pre-registration postgraduate diploma or a Masters qualification. Post-qualifying courses are available for specialist areas.
  • Uses a range of imaging devices for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes;
  • Assesses patients and interprets clinical requirements to determine appropriate radiographic treatments;
  • Verifies identity of patient and ensures that necessary preparations have been made for the examination/treatment;
  • Decides length and intensity of exposure or strength of dosage of isotope;
  • Positions patient and operates x-ray, scanning or fluoroscopic equipment;
  • Maintains records of all radiographic/therapeutic work undertaken;
  • Plans course of treatment with clinical oncologists and physicists;
  • Calculates radiation dosage and maps volume to be treated;
  • Explains treatment to patient and management of any side effects;
  • Carries out post-treatment reviews and follow-ups.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Health 19800
Public admin. & defence 4359
Residential care 1292
Retail trade 1131
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