Posted Thursday 8 November 2012
A group of trainee radiographers from Kingston University and St George's, University of London has taken to the road to spread the word about the profession and inspire the capital's youngsters to consider it as a future career.
The students have been speaking to young people at further education colleges across London about their training as part of activities to mark World Radiography Day. They have also been hard at work raising money for a local cancer charity after rustling up a range of treats for a cake stall at Kingston University.
The activities were the brainchild of second year radiography student David Roberts. "Not many people know what we do," the 34 year old from Southport said. "I think it's really important more young people consider working as radiographers and World Radiography Day seemed like an ideal time for us to really get involved in raising awareness about our specialist subject."
David persuaded some of his course mates to join him visiting sixth form colleges around London to talk to young people studying access to science courses. He is studying therapeutic radiography and, once qualified, will treat cancer patients needing radiotherapy. "An increasing number of people are affected by cancer, so I believe it's vital to make sure there are the specialists needed to support them," he said.
Lydia Purcell accompanied David on a visit to Lambeth College, where they spoke to a group of young people about the world of imaging and radiotherapy. As a diagnostic radiography student, Lydia is learning to use a range of techniques to look at injuries and disease and monitor changes inside the body.
"I always knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare field, but didn't know exactly what," Lydia, 28, from Wood Green in North London, explained. "I spent a day shadowing a radiographer at my local hospital, the Whittington, and absolutely loved it." Lydia went on to secure a place to study diagnostic radiography at the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, run jointly by Kingston University and St George's, University of London.
The subject is also something very important to her personally. "My Dad is ill and has regular sessions of radiotherapy," Lydia said. "Learning about his treatment helps me understand how he might be feeling. It also helps me explain to him what's going on. Sometimes it's hard to take in what doctors tell you - it's much easier to talk things through with family or friends, especially if they know a little bit about what is happening."
All told, 10 students from the Faculty's Radiography Society visited five further education colleges in London. Meanwhile, proceeds from their Kingston University cake sale will be donated to Emma's Bubble Trust, which supports teenage cancer patients at the Royal Marsden in Sutton.