8th November is World Radiography Day
World Radiography Day is celebrated on 8th November each year, marking the anniversary of the discovery of x-radiation by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895. Laura Kearney, Senior Rotational Radiographer (Scanning and X-ray), has worked at the RNOH for four years. Here she shares her story of what it’s like to work as a radiographer at the hospital.
I always say that it was my mum who got me into radiography. I originally went to university to study Languages and Business but I didn’t enjoy it and left in my second year. My mum worked as a receptionist in an x-ray department at the time and encouraged me to apply for a radiology assistant job that was available. I was lucky enough to be offered the position, and from there I really got to see what the job involved and soon decided it was the career I wanted to go into.
I worked as an assistant for a year before applying to study a three-year Radiography BSc degree. After graduating, I returned to the orthopaedic hospital in Oxford where I worked for a further two years before coming to the RNOH.
As this is a world renowned orthopaedic hospital, I was keen to work at the Trust and learn as much as possible from everyone. I originally started as a rotational x-ray radiographer, working at both Stanmore and Bolsover Street Outpatient Centres, then earlier this year I started a new position as a rotational radiographer working within the x-ray and scanning departments at Stanmore.
Each day is different depending on which department I’m in. I could be based in an x-ray room taking images of people for their outpatient’s appointment or inpatients who need a post-operative check, such as after a hip replacement. We have a fluoroscopy room for ‘live’ x-rays, where the radiographers work with the radiologists (doctors who specialise in imaging) on procedures such as x-ray guided injections to make sure the needle is going into the right spot! I also work in the operating theatres, again taking ‘live’ x-rays during operations so that the surgeons can make sure they are putting screws in the correct place.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is talking to patients and finding out about their experiences from around the hospital – it’s always nice to hear that they recognise what a specialist centre we are. We have patients who travel from all over the country to be here! I really enjoy the challenge of difficult x-rays too, and using my skills to obtain a certain x-ray view on a patient who isn’t necessarily very mobile – it always feels like a huge sense of achievement when I get the image. Not every patient is ‘textbook’ so we often have to adapt what we do.
Sometimes I feel like a vampire, being in a dark room for most of the day and not seeing much daylight! It can also be quite challenging when a patient’s in pain as they may not find it easy to do what we need in order to obtain a scan; however it’s very important I get a clear image so that their consultant can correctly diagnose and treat them.
My advice for anyone considering a career in radiography is to visit a radiography department for a few days to try and get a real feel for what the job entails. It’s much more than just ‘pushing a button’!
Visit the Royal College of Radiographers website to find out more about radiology as a profession.