At 18 years old and having just completed my A Levels, I was unsure as to what I wanted to do next. I had a keen interest in Human Biology and the theoretical side of Physical Education, but couldn’t decide how to use these in a future career. I was reluctant to apply for a University course without knowing what career I wanted to go into.
Whilst working in a retail job, I saw an advert for a “Radiology Department Assistant (RDA)” with training prospects at my local hospital, Macclesfield District General. This piqued my interest, as I had never even heard of Radiology! I visited the department and was amazed at the variety of work the Radiology Department undertakes. I was successful at interview and commenced my employment in 2005.
The in-house training post enabled me to complete NVQ Levels 2 and 3. Undertaking the NVQs allowed me to socialise with other NHS staff whilst learning about health and communication within the wider healthcare setting. I enjoyed my role as an RDA and for once, I enjoyed coming into a job, where I knew every day would be different.
Due to the development of roles within Radiology, a new and exciting role became available, called an Assistant Practitioner (AP) in Radiography. The role was a Band 4 position and allowed APs to produce radiographs within a refined scope of practice under the supervision of qualified Radiographers. I had seen qualified Radiographers undertaking their day to day work using their fancy x-ray machines to produce radiographs and thought this is my chance to do the same! The training role also meant I would be able to undertake a Foundation Degree at Liverpool John Moore University, which was funded by the trust and undertook in-house training working alongside qualified Radiographers. I worked hard and after attaining a Distinction, I commenced my role as an Assistant Practitioner in 2010.
After 20 months in this role, I decided to convert my Foundation Degree into BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography by applying for a second year entry onto the degree course. I undertook this at the University of Salford as this university is affiliated with the Radiology Department at East Cheshire NHS Trust, it also meant that I could continue my clinical placements at Macclesfield. I qualified with a 2:1 BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography in 2013.
The year that I qualified, an in-house and funded training opportunity for a Reporting Radiographer became available, which would involve undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Medical Imaging. General Radiography and Reporting were areas that I was most interested in, so this role was the perfect opportunity. I was successful at interview and off to University I went again for another year!
And so here I am today, as a Band 7 Reporting Radiographer. I have worked in pretty much every area of East Cheshire NHS Trust’s Radiology department in my progression from RDA to Advanced Radiographer Practitioner and have loved every minute of it. As well as reporting, I also have completed Computed Tomography (CT) training, but there are other avenues to go down including Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Radiology is a constantly advancing area and due to advances in science and technology, the role of the Radiographer is ever expanding. There is never a dull day! Working in the NHS has many benefits and I have had the opportunity to develop my experience, skills and knowledge to progress.