The Student Room Group

Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiography the forgotten NHS degrees

Students know what Doctors, Nurses, Midwives and Physiotherapists do generally. Why when most people have also had an Xray in their life, or know someone who has, do students not think of Diagnostic or Therapeutic Radiography as a career path when applying for University?
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by University of Suffolk student
Students know what Doctors, Nurses, Midwives and Physiotherapists do generally. Why when most people have also had an Xray in their life, or know someone who has, do students not think of Radiography as a career path when applying for University?

The thread title refers to a radiology degree - radiology is a specialism for qualified medics. It isn't a stand-alone degree.

Are you referring to diagnostic radiography or therapeutic radiography/radiotherapy?

There are a lot of Diagnostic Radiography applicants chatting on this thread:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7274751

Admittedly, not many applicants chatting on the Therapeutic Radiography thread:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7274753
Original post by University of Suffolk student
Students know what Doctors, Nurses, Midwives and Physiotherapists do generally. Why when most people have also had an Xray in their life, or know someone who has, do students not think of Diagnostic or Therapeutic Radiography as a career path when applying for University?


Several issues to unpack here.

First of all, according to the media (both news media and TV dramas, soaps, documentaries etc) there are just two jobs in the NHS - doctors and nurses. Who are occasionally helped by midwives and paramedics. This lack of visibility contributes to the lack of awareness of radiography. Everyone knows what a nurse does, very few people know what a Therapeutic Radiographer does (and many of our patients assume we are nurses).

Secondly, Radiography is a technical, scientific role with "lots of physics". This is very off-putting and scary to a lot of the types people who typically go into nursing etc who are doing those roles primarily because they want to care for others. In contrast, sciency people who are interested in medical type stuff tend to do degrees in subjects like biochemistry or biomedicine leading to non-patient facing roles (often intentionally).

I've had to do a *lot* of personality tests in my interprofessional modules at uni. Almost all nurses have the same 2 or 3 "caring" personality types. Radiographers stick out like a sore thumb with our technical, problem solving personalities :biggrin: The required combo of a "science" brain, with good communication skills and the desire to care for very ill people is rare. When I used to work in a lab, everyone had the first, a few had the second, and almost none had the latter

Thirdly, certainly for Radiotherapy, the thought of working in an Oncology department and dealing all day every day with people who have cancer is nightmare fuel for many people, even those who already work in other areas of the NHS. "Oh, I couldn't work in oncology, too upsetting". "Oh, all those poorly people, I couldn't cope". You have to want to do it. Many Therapeutic Radiographers end up there because of a family member who had cancer, its very personal to them, and they intentionally choose to work in oncology, like a policeman runs towards the sound of gunfire.

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