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Therapeutic Radiography case study

What does a Therapeutic radiographer do?

Therapeutic Radiographers (or Therapy Radiographers) work in large hospitals within Radiotherapy departments.  They care mainly for cancer patients, planning and delivering radiotherapy, operating complex and highly technical equipment.  It is vital that exactly the right amount of radiation is targeted at the sight of disease.  This is achieved by ensuring a high degree of accuracy throughout the radiotherapy process.  Some Therapeutic Radiographers also see patients in clinics, helping them to manage any potential side-effects of radiotherapy and the psychosocial impact of their treatment and/or disease.  Therapeutic Radiographers can get to know their patients quite well, as regular treatment is often required.

Hear from Ahaab, a therapeutic radiographer at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Brief description of my role: In radiotherapy we provide a Radiographer-led, specialist service requiring expertise across a spectrum of disciplines. As such, the role of a therapeutic radiographer is varied and wide ranging. Therapeutic radiographers fulfil key roles throughout  patient pathway, from planning individual courses of treatment in collaboration with clinical oncologists and medical physicists, to calculating appropriate radiation doses and dosimetry, administering accurate and safe treatment, providing specialist review support, coordinating care as part of a multi-disciplinary team, and engaging in quality assurance and service development. A senior radiographer may be involved directly in any number of these aspects, providing their expertise as well as acting in a supervisory capacity, supporting their peers and engaging in continuing professional development in what is a fast moving profession.  My primary role as a treatment radiographer relies upon strong communication skills to pool resources in order to facilitate the best care for individual patients on a case-by-case and day-to-day basis.

Where/how long I trained: The BSc (Hons) Therapeutic Radiography lasts three years full time (four years in Scotland), with a six-year part-time option available. I completed my course at the University of Hertfordshire.

Hear from Ahaab, a therapeutic radiographer at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Happy healthy people providing excellent compassionate care

Career progression and experience so far:

  • Continual development in my scope of practice, from Therapeutic Radiographer, to Senior and now building to Lead.
  • Enrolled onto Msc Health Professions Education at the University of Glasgow.
  • Working as the Union Learning and Education Representative – Collaborating with management to develop and improve CPD within the department.
  • Development of CT and Treatment Planning skills to deliver emergency on-call treatments.
  • Running pre-assessment clinics for new patients diagnosed with prostate cancer and administering drugs under PGD.

What I enjoy about my job:

As well as embodying a comprehensive, multifaceted appreciation of the many factors contributing to radiotherapy treatment and care, Therapeutic radiographers are in the somewhat unique position of seeing their patients on a daily basis over an extended period, often spanning several weeks. This makes Therapeutic Radiographers ideally positioned to advocate on behalf of their patients and manage their care in way that is responsive to their needs. It’s hugely gratifying to be able to work with your patients and peers in order to implement the most appropriate interventions and deliver the care our patients deserve at a challenging time in their lives.