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Senior Radiographer
Addenbrookes Hospital

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Helen M

00:00:01 My name’s Helen M, I’m a Radiographer. Well there’s two branches of Radiography, one’s diagnostic, one’s therapy. I’m a diagnostic radiographer. So I use X-Rays to take images of inside of people to diagnose their illnesses. The therapy side of Radiography is treating people with cancer, using high doses of radiation. Radiotherapy Radiographers, it’s quite an intense job, you’re dealing with people who are desperately ill, possibly dying, and I think you have to be a different type of person to do each job.

00:00:35 At school my A levels were Maths, Physics and Biology. I was always going to go into something scientificky. I decided I wanted to be a Radiographer when I was about fifteen. My father was a Careers Teacher and he brought home a load of leaflets about various things one day, and one of them was Radiography. I guess I didn’t have a genetic choice, my eldest sister’s a dentist, my second sister’s a nurse, cousin’s a doctor, brother-in-law’s a Paediatrician, so we’re all – we’ve all gone into medically health profession type things.

00:01:15 There’s no one particular highlight of my career because every – every day sometimes is a highlight. There’s always some little thing during the day that makes you feel good. The thing that gives me the most pleasure from my job is someone saying thank you. Diagnostic Radiography is a sort of a mixture of Art and Science. You’re producing images and you want to produce beautiful images but you also want to produce images that help people. X-Ray images can be aesthetically pleasing, in the way that photographs can be. You can get an image, but if you get it beautifully lined up, with everything in the right place, it’s very pleasing for a Radiographer.

00:01:59 My hopes for my future career are carry on doing what I’m doing at the moment. Any level higher than where I am at the moment would mean moving into Management. I wouldn’t like to move away from the sort of personal touch, meeting the patients.

00:02:12 The lesson that I’ve learnt from my job – I’d have to say actually forgetting my troubles, because there’s always somebody who’s a lot worse off than you. Sometimes it is difficult to turn off the emotion. In a funny way it’s not so much the children that upset me who you see who are terribly ill, it’s teenagers, who should be going out, you know, messing around with their mates, and they’re trapped in this place. There isn’t a coping mechanism that I’ve really developed. You just learn to acknowledge it, and then move on.

00:02:50 There is a bit more freedom in Radiography than in the other disciplines. You can be a bit of a maverick in Radiography. You are given free rein to use your brain to get round, and maybe not do the conventional views, but invent something of your own that shows up something. It’s never occurred to me to want to do anything else

00:03:13 ENDS

 

"I'm a diagnostic radiographer so I use x rays to take images of inside of people to diagnose their illnesses. My A levels were Maths, Physics and Biology. I decided I wanted to be a radiographer at 15." Helen says of her job, "every day is a highlight, there's always some little thing during the day that makes you feel good."

More information about Medical radiographers

Check out 7 videos about this career

Data powered by LMI For All
£39,000
average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

41
average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

75%  female  25%  male 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Description

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.

Qualifications

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.

Tasks

  • 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.
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