Case study

Diagnostic radiographer — CK

CK studied diagnostic radiography at the University of Leeds and has been working through the COVID-19 pandemic as a diagnostic radiographer in various hospitals across central London

How did you become a diagnostic radiographer?

I studied Biology, Religious Studies and Technology at A-Level and I felt diagnostic radiography as a vocational degree encompassed those three subjects. I then did a placement at the Royal Victoria Children's Hospital in Belfast to gain more knowledge of radiography and then I applied to two universities.

What was the recruitment process like?

I had a panel interview that consisted of scenario based questions, anatomy evaluation, reject analysis and focus on radiation protection and infection control.

What's a typical day like as a diagnostic radiographer?

If you're in A&E the radiographer takes a handover from the night shift team, cleans and stocks the department ready for the day and carries out quality assurance checks on the equipment. If you're allocated to theatre you would check the theatre list, check in with the theatre team see what is required and when, navigate image intensifiers (theatre X-ray machines) into each theatre and prepare for the theatre lists. The patients and procedures are varied throughout the day but radiation protection, infection control and patient care and safety are always imperative.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy patient-centred care and the different examinations I encounter as well as the teamwork, I love being part of a multidisciplinary team.

What are the challenges?

The out of hours shifts can be a challenge but I also feel that this is where I gain the most experience.

What are the top three skills that diagnostic radiographers need?

Enthusiasm, communication and dedication.

How is your degree relevant?

My degree taught me the skills I needed to apply in practice. My course structure equated to 23 weeks placement and 23 weeks classroom - so I got to apply the practical in quick concession of the theory.

How has COVID-19 affected your role?

I had the opportunity of working at the Nightingale hospital and being on the frontline allowed me to gain the necessary training required to treat COVID-19 patients. We all wear masks, we have PPE available, we follow the guidance and social distance where possible. I am grateful for the team being part of my bubble and it is humbling and heartwarming to see the response of everyone uniting to deal with a very difficult situation.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to become a diagnostic radiographer?

Try to get a visit or a placement sorted in a local hospital and speak to staff in their roles to gain a better understanding of being a radiographer. Also look into various universities and their recruitment processes and the structure in which they deliver the course as many vary and it's important to align with your needs.

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