A student's experience of the Diagnostic Radiography course
"It gives me a buzz knowing that when I qualify, I will be part of a team that the hospital will depend on to provide an essential service."
Harry - Diagnostic Radiography
Why Diagnostic Radiography?
I’ve always been interested in health care since I was very young and diagnostic radiography ticked all the right boxes. I wanted to work in all different parts of a hospital and with Diagnostic Radiography you get to rotate through all different areas and also have the opportunity to work with the trauma team, A&E and in theatre.
Diagnostic Radiography filled the right criteria for me. I found out about Diagnostic Radiography at a career convention at our school and some radiographers from our local hospital came in and talked about it. It was the one that appealed to me the most out of all the allied health professions, so I looked into it more and I ended up doing a week work experience at a hospital. I recommend doing at least a week in a DI dept, it gives you the best flavour of what goes on. It’s a vocational course so you have to make sure it’s the right one for you before going into it.
The doors that open
What I like about diagnostic radiography is that you can branch out and specialise in all different areas.
My personal preference is paediatric radiography, I see it presents more of a challenge; but you can specialise in ultrasound, nuclear medicine, amongst other things.
Also when you have a qualification, you can pretty much travel the world with it, it is a very sought after qualification and a lot of countries are very interested once you qualify, especially from a British establishment who are regarded as the best trained radiographers in the world.
I also like the different opportunities: you can go into armed forces and industrial radiography. There are lots of different doors that a radiography degree can open.
It gives me a buzz knowing when I qualify, I will be part of a team that the hospital will depend on to provide an essential service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
With lots of developments, Diagnostic Radiography is a very fast leading profession. It’s very exciting to be involved in it at the moment, what with advances in technology and training and what we are permitted to do now, it’s developing at quite a fast rate.
The learning experience
I really liked UWE after coming to an open day and that’s what influenced my decision. The course as a whole is very well structured and lecturers are very friendly.
I really enjoy being on Glenside and being amongst other Health Care students who also understand when you’re on placement and have similar schedules. It is like a small community, it is a lovely campus.
With a varying timetable each week and a good variety on placements means you get the best experience before graduating, so no two weeks are the same.
The Imaging Suite at Glenside we used every week before placement last year making sure that we were completely competent with the basic radiographic skills before we went on placement. This was also backed up by 2nd year students who would also help us in evening sessions answering questions and commenting on our technique in a quite relaxed and informal setting.
The placement experience
So far I’ve done one 14 week placement where I was at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and it’s introducing you to the role of a radiographer. I really enjoyed it because it’s a major trauma centre for Bristol so there is a lot of eye opening trauma. We have a visiting lecturer who sees us 3 times each placement over 14 weeks, to check up on our progress and ensure that we are achieving our maximum potential whilst on placement. We have a 14 week placement every year.
We have a good flavour of what it will be like to work as a radiographer and we are very well supported on placement with visiting lecturers and all the hospitals work very closely with UWE to ensure we are getting the best of our placement.
All hospitals are very different, in the 1st year we have a taste of everything involved with radiography but in the 2nd year it’s more specialist, concentrating on certain parts like the CAT and MRI modalities to make sure you’re perfectly competent with them.
The UWE Bristol difference
In my spare time I’m part of the UWE sailing club, where you get to mix with other students. It was the best decision! I usually go every Wednesday afternoon to Chew Valley Lake, which is about half an hour away. I would recommend to anyone to sign up for a club.
In my second year I have worked as a UWE student ambassador and also with Aimhigher doing road shows and it’s brilliant as it is non contractual and you can pick and choose to do as little or as much as you want.
With Aimhigher we go to schools and present road shows to students and it’s all about giving the school a taste of what health care professions are.
The Bristol Royal Infirmary certainly have a majority of radiographers from UWE and I think the placements give you a good variety of different trauma in different warps of life and that’s extremely useful when you graduate. You know that you experience pretty much everything over 3 years which puts you in a good setting when you want to get a job.
Hopefully, due to the placements in different hospitals and clinical settings that I will have completed at the end of my degree, I will have made a good enough impression to help me find a good job when I graduate.