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Student represents Therapeutic radiography as a profession

14th September 2020

Nichola Jamison is a Therapeutic radiographer student at Ulster University in Northern Ireland and here is her story…

What does it mean to be a therapeutic radiographer?

Therapeutic radiographers use high dose ionising radiation to treat cancer and its symptoms. Being at the frontline in cancer services gives me the opportunity to walk side by side with our patients through their cancer journey and to hopefully help them feel safe and positive through this difficult time.

As a student therapeutic radiographer, what leadership roles did you undertake?

I am the academic representative for my cohort and the School of Health Sciences, as well as the founder and president of the Ulster University Radiography Society. I have been a student representative for the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) and was elected Chair of the SCoR Student Representative Forum. We represent students from across the UK to action new campaigns and policies centred around improving the student experience within radiography in the UK.

My long-term passion is to improve the provision of psycho-oncology services. I recently wrote to the permanent Health Secretary of NI, outlining the need for students and new graduates to be involved in the drafting of the NI Cancer Strategy 2020. I now sit on both the Cancer Prevention and Care and Support sub-groups of this strategy and have had the privilege of contributing to the recommendations put forward in these chapters. I am also a member of the Northern Ireland Healthcare Leadership Forum which connects health students and professionals through organising topic-centred study events which focus on issues relevant to healthcare in Northern Ireland.

What is the value of leadership as a student and professional therapeutic radiographer?

Taking part in the Council of Deans of Health’s Student Leadership Programme taught me that as undergraduates and professionals, we should always be asking ourselves ‘Where am I, and what more can I do?’. This is a question I carry with me every day. I feel that if we each embrace leadership within our roles, we can only improve on what we do every day.

Constant reflection and evaluation of our practices enables us to give the best to our patients and maintain passion for our chosen career while representing our profession to the highest standard we can. Furthermore, sharing these leadership values and experiences with our colleagues is an important step in encouraging others to gain the confidence to become their own leaders.

What is your advice to other therapeutic radiography students who aspire to a leadership role?

Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. We all have our own perceptions of what leadership is, but in truth it is simply having the confidence to voice and implement your ideas and suggestions for improvement, no matter the situation. Take a moment and think about times when you’ve felt that you would have done something differently or reflected on how a situation affected you or others. You’re already a leader. And the moment you start believing it, others will too.

These are the stories of 11 students from 11 health professions. They have all come from different backgrounds and life experiences that have taken them to this point in their lives but are now excelling and leading as students in their professions.

The students featured in this publication have all taken part in the Student Leadership Programme. The Student Leadership Programme, now popularly known as #150Leaders, has been delivered by the Council of Deans of Health, supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, since 2017. The programme has so far offered leadership development to over 250 students from across the UK and from nursing, midwifery and allied health disciplines. Students participate in a year-long leadership training programme with conferences, workshops, one-to-one coaching and an online community of leadership practice.

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