So I recently got some women from the social club (PowerQueens) that I’m part of to ask me a few questions and decided to also share the questions and my response in this week’s post.
But before we get into the post and all that good stuff…are you a young lady living in London, are you free every fortnight on Wednesdays?
Are you looking for like-minded, ambitious and eloquent women or a new sisterhood to socialise with? Then drop me a comment in the comment section and I’ll happily connect you.
Who is a therapeutic radiographer or what does It involve?
They are qualified healthcare professionals that treat people with cancer using radiation, and it takes three years of both academic study and clinical training alongside a range of clinical competencies before one can become a qualified radiotherapist. Working as a radiotherapist is one of the most gratifying and fulfilling professions out there, knowing that you are helping people, making them laugh or smile in one of the most difficult journeys in their life.
We see patients with their other half or families from the time they are informed of their cancer diagnosis to their first appointment for pre-treatment chat/scan up to the last day of treatment. Meeting these patients enables us to not only build a bond but almost a friendship with a short expiration date. A friendship that is inevitable from seeing someone Monday to Friday for four to seven and half weeks depending on the type of treatment they are having.
What would you consider as the “highs” in your role as a radiographer?
- Seeing patients who I have been involved with, in their treatment either heavily or sparingly after treatment, and coming in for their follow-up appointment; and they look refreshed, healthier and even happier
- From the moment the patient receives the “all clear” from their consultant, that moment of joy as well as the warm embrace shared with their loved ones or families is simply indescribable
- The moments shared with each patient is unique and different in their own particular way; for example treating and interacting with a breast cancer patient who will be walking down the aisle in a few months, or a cervical cancer patient who is about to become a grandma for the first time or a prostate cancer patient who will be starting a new career and many more
- Hearing feedback within multidisciplinary meetings, receiving compliments of how much the service rendered has helped and how our short interaction has helped them fight each and everyday is unquantifiable
- Being able to identify different types of chocolate received by patients either Quality Street, Lindt, Roses, Heroes, Celebration and many more whilst wearing a blindfold or covering your eyes…..seriously are you even a radiographer if you cannot identify the different types of chocolates? Lol!!!
What would you consider as the “lows” in your role as a radiographer?
- Meeting a patient who has been treated previously, having been diagnosed with metastases is one of the most heart-breaking moments of the job, especially patients that are younger. This is an aspect of the job which no one ever prepares you for or could even prepare you enough for. However, I do believe that this part of the job should be discussed more within the course as a student to at least prepare them mentally and emotional. Likewise, professionals should be given adequate support such as counselling and mindfulness to ensure everyone understands the importance of expressing emotions rather than suppressing them.
- Supporting and encouraging palliative patients through treatment(s) despite how dejected and disheartened they may feel.
Overall, as mentioned earlier, dealing with cancer patients can never be an easy job but it is satisfying and rewarding in knowing that our acts of service are making a difference to someone’s day, life and family. Although patients can easily be made to feel like just another number in the queue, I am a firm believer that patients should be treated more than their diagnosis, they are just not another breast, prostate or any other diagnosis with which I am sure every healthcare professional upholds. However, this can also be easily done due to the workload and pressure of treating patients on time and dealing with any other issues that may arise such as machine breakdown and staffing issues.
These patients must always be at the core focus of our duties; they are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles, grandma, grandpa, daughter, son first before their cancer diagnosis and should always be treated as such.