A student's experience of the Radiotherapy and Oncology course

"I am so happy as it's so great to be doing something I enjoy."

Dawn - Radiotherapy and Oncology

Why Radiotherapy and Oncology?

It was radiography I was initially interested in. I did think of doing the diagnostic imaging and it was only when I did some work experience and I saw the radiotherapy unit that I really felt that was definitely the route I wanted to go. With the diagnostic imaging you are working on your own much more whereas in radiotherapy it's team work.

You've got that patient continuity, seeing the patients almost every day and you can see people do build up a relationship with the patients.

I think things are changing a lot and there are more mature people having career changes and when I did some research there were a couple of profiles of people who had been in banking who had decided to have a career change.

Changing career

It was the hardest decision to give up full-time employment.  To go from knowing exactly what salary you're earning, to applying for grants and not knowing what you're going to get was really difficult.

With the foundation year I got part of the UWE grant towards tuition fees and I had to pay the rest of the tuition fees and the small grant and had the loan. With the NHS grant that really makes a huge difference and having children and being a mature student you get much better grants.

The importance of work experience

I must admit that it was the best thing to go off and do work experience and that made me realise I definitely wanted to go into radiotherapy.

Learning experience

We have such a nice group in radiotherapy, we're quite small and do tend to help each other out and you know there is a really good interaction between students. I've made some really good friends and it’s lovely, it's a good mixture of people.

There is a variety of ages in my class; it's a good balance with eighteen year olds, students in their twenties, early thirties and a couple in their forties.

The lecturers

I have found the lecturers very approachable, always happy to answer any questions. I've got a really nice tutor who is really supportive. Particularly the radiotherapy lectures are excellent, we are quite lucky as it's a small group so it's a little bit more informal.

The facilities

Glenside has a really good library, there's a lot of help there if you need to learn how to use database searches and there are always new books coming in.

My advice

I am so happy as it's so great to be doing something I enjoy because thinking about doing something to the actual reality of it and being hands on is completely different. But it's fantastic and so interesting.

I guess the thing you have to realise is that you usually think your job was the be all and end all, but when you come back to university and study again, it's like a new lease of life.

It's very positive and you can see what a difference a good radiographer can make to a patient, just helping them through their treatment.

You get a good combination of caring for patients but also you've got the technical role. For me I can't think of a better job. At the end of the day it's a career I want to get in to rather than the mundane 9 to 5, I'd hate to go back.

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