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Spotlight: Elizabeth Bate, Senior Radiographer at Princess Alexandra Hospital

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I use to be a British Judo Champion and trained with the GB Judo team when I was 16/17 years old.

Tell us about your career journey so far

After working in Neuropharmacology research and sales after University I wanted a change. I got talking to a mammographer on my daily train commute and we discussed radiography. I went straight home and applied for a Radiography degree course in Ipswich, and amazingly got accepted. I handed in my notice at work and moved from Nottingham to Ipswich to become a student again. Living in Ipswich for the lectures and spending 3 months each year on placement at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge. Qualified after 3 years and immediately got a job as a Radiographer in Harlow. I have been at the same hospital ever since, working my way to a Senior Radiographer and this year I passed my exams to become a Reporting Radiographer. Still so much to learn and do and I love my variable job. I really wish I had heard of radiography sooner in my life.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

I loved sports of all kinds, being able to work in a team and communicate effectively in order to win. I also loved Biology. Fascinated about the inner workings of the human body, especially the mystery of our brain, problem solving with classmates during experiments.

What subjects/qualifications are useful in your role?

English – communication between colleagues as well as patients and cares;

Mathematics – angles are important between the X-ray tube and the anatomy to get the correct diagnostic image;

Biology – understanding and interpreting human anatomy and physiology in x-ray images to diagnose pathologies and fractures;

Physics – understanding and working safely with radiation.

Radiography Degree to be recognised by the HCPC and able to work as a Radiographer in the UK and abroad;

PgC in Image Interpretation in order to work as a Reporting Radiographer where you can report on x-rays (these go direct to doctors to manage the patient).




Empathy & Sensitivity

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Every day is different, you have to constantly think on your feet and adapt to the patient and the situation. I got to go to a conference in Vienna and present to a large room of radiographers and consultants about my work on improving the image quality whilst lowering the dose in CT heads.

What is a normal day in your role like?

Every day is different, you have to constantly think on your feet and adapt to the patient and the situation. I could be x-raying trauma patients in The Emergency Department; walk-in GP patients at our main hospital or at a local community hospital; Inpatients that come down to our x-ray rooms in their beds or are too unwell and I have to take our mobile x-ray machine to them on the ward; Computed Tomography (CT); Fluoroscopy where we do live x-rays with our machines in Theatres during operations; In a dark room looking at x-rays and reporting the pathologies and fractures seen, along with Radiologists.

And what does your job title mean?

Being a diagnostic radiographer I get to image every patient that comes into the hospital. Without x-rays and CTs a doctor cannot fully assess what is wrong with the patient and manage their treatment. Whether it’s treating their disease or fixing a broken bone and then checking on the patient to make sure the treatment is working or the bone is healing.

As a senior radiographer I manage the team of radiographers to make sure patients are prioritised according to their requests, the images are taken quickly but efficiently and that patient care is a priority. Also make sure newly qualified and students get the right training to gain confidence in all areas. I also work different shifts, including night shifts, and undertake more specialist scanning protocols in CT, I.e. cardiac, biopsies etc.

As a reporting radiographer I help to improve image quality in the department, by teaching and involving all radiographers and radiologists in improvements.

Suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

Labelling human bones and building a human skeleton.


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