The Student Room Group

Is Diagnostic Radiography worth it?

Hi I’ve been really stressed out with my application for uni + my deadline is creeping up fast and I’m worried that I will end up picking the wrong subject. My family don’t really want me to do radiography as they apparently think I could do better but I’ve always had an interest for it. Is it worth my time and will it benefit me in the future once I’m done with my degree? Also is there a higher female:male ratio in this industry?

If there’s anyone that can reply I would really appreciate it as I need someone that I can talk to about it as no one else is helping

Thanks :smile:
Original post by Amaan202
Hi I’ve been really stressed out with my application for uni + my deadline is creeping up fast and I’m worried that I will end up picking the wrong subject. My family don’t really want me to do radiography as they apparently think I could do better but I’ve always had an interest for it. Is it worth my time and will it benefit me in the future once I’m done with my degree? Also is there a higher female:male ratio in this industry?

If there’s anyone that can reply I would really appreciate it as I need someone that I can talk to about it as no one else is helping

Thanks :smile:


I don't work in radiography but in terms of your question 'Is it worth my time and will it benefit me in the future once I’m done with my degree?', then yes it is worth your time. There is a national shortage of radiographers so you are pretty much guaranteed a job on graduation with the NHS. Radiographers enter the NHS on salary band 5, which is currently £28,407 per year (a bit more in London). There are opportunities for progression with experience and you can specialise in certain areas. The following is a good thread to have a read through that was started by a qualified radiographer and they still pop in to answer questions from time to time:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=5978982

https://www.nhsemployers.org/articles/pay-scales-202324
Original post by normaw


I don't work in radiography but in terms of your question 'Is it worth my time and will it benefit me in the future once I’m done with my degree?', then yes it is worth your time. There is a national shortage of radiographers so you are pretty much guaranteed a job on graduation with the NHS. Radiographers enter the NHS on salary band 5, which is currently £28,407 per year (a bit more in London). There are opportunities for progression with experience and you can specialise in certain areas. The following is a good thread to have a read through that was started by a qualified radiographer and they still pop in to answer questions from time to time:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=5978982

https://www.nhsemployers.org/articles/pay-scales-202324


Thanks this helped 🙂
Hey,

If you are passionate and interested in Diagnostic Radiography go for it no matter what other people say!

Diagnostic Radiography is a great career with lots of opportunities.

Here are some pro's and con's for a diagnostic radiography career that may be able to help your decision:

Pros:

Diagnose broken bones

Discover uncovered illness

Work anywhere in the world

Good salary opportunities

Rewarding career


Cons:

Paperwork

Can be hard to gain work experience

Demanding days (lots of standing)

Demanding schedules


Watch this video to find out more about life as a Diagnostic Radiographer: https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/allied-health-professionals/roles-allied-health-professions/roles-allied-health-professions/diagnostic-radiographer

I hope this helps your decision :smile:
Reply 4
Warning: doom and gloom

I've worked as a radiographer for over 11 years and cannot recommend the job anymore

To lay out some positives, yes it is interesting, yes it is an important job, yes you absolutely can make a difference to patient's experiences, and yes it's a very secure job with lifelong career prospects - and a decent pension if you go NHS.

And now for the but...

There's no care for quality of work. It's all about getting as many patients in and out of the room as quickly as possible. My colleague's interest in the technical and pathology side of things has disappeared, and there's no opportunity for CPD as there are too many patients to see. Demand ever increases, waiting time targets get ever tighter, and inevitably you cut corners to keep up.

If you work somewhere that requires nights, the shift patterns can be awful. Quite often people where I work will get 3 nights and then immediately back into day shifts. No chance to recover and they feel dreadful all week, often coming down ill at the end.

You get paid less every year. There are increments in each band and generally getting to band 6 is quite straightforward after two years. However once you reach the top of the band you get below inflation pay rises every year, which means you are paid less the longer you work, even if you pick up more skills.

In spite of this, registration fees go up consistently above inflation. We've just had HCPC renewals come through and need to pay £232 for the privilege of continuing to work. This is over double what I paid when I first started and yet the bottom of band 5 has only gone from 21k to 28k in that time. One of the conditions of registration is you have indemnity insurance. The Society of Radiographers offers this and is the main union for radiographers in the UK. They take £25 a month and are absolutely useless. They consistently fail to represent radiographers or promote radiography but I have to pay them in order to stay registered. Their Facebook page routinely advertises for radiographers to move to New Zealand!

I work in MRI and CT and there's a general push to run scanners with 1 radiographer and an assistant rather than 2 radiographers. This means you have to work harder with more stress, shoulder more responsibility, and there are certain things an assistant can never do, which means you never have the opportunity to train colleagues to make the work more level. And of course you don't get paid any more for doing this.

I work in an acute hospital setting. Thanks to the brilliant idea of opening up community diagnostic centres (CDCs), lots of radiographers have left the acute setting to see easier patients. 95% of the patients I see now are more complex - either in their presentation (physical disability, learning disability, dementia, etc) or in the type of imaging they require. I enjoy the more complex imaging which is why I stay, but I don't get paid any more for doing it - I could work 3 days on a van scanning spines and knees and turning away anyone that requires extra help, but I don't think this is right and would not want to be in that situation. If we all wanted an easy life the tricky patients wouldn't have anyone to see them.

Nursing and other AHP collegues have no idea what we do. When I went to uni I spent 2 weeks working with nurses to see what they do day to day. It was interesting. Do nurses spend any time in radiology when they train? No, and they have absolutely no understanding of why we ask for certain things when their patients need to come for imaging. It is a constant argument and we are regularly accused of being obstructive. This is very demoralising when all we are trying to do is the best for patients.

There is a ceiling to how far you can progress. This varies from very low to half decent, depending on where your interests lie and what you are good at, but the most money comes from management and sales, neither of which you need a radiography degree or clinical experience to do.

It is phyically taxing and you spend a lot of time moving overweight patients, dodgy hospital beds, and ancient x-ray kit around. Bad backs are commonplace.

Doom and gloom over. Maybe I'll come back on another day and change my mind, but the downhill trend has been going on a while and now sign of slowing down
Original post by FXX
Warning: doom and gloom

I've worked as a radiographer for over 11 years and cannot recommend the job anymore

To lay out some positives, yes it is interesting, yes it is an important job, yes you absolutely can make a difference to patient's experiences, and yes it's a very secure job with lifelong career prospects - and a decent pension if you go NHS.

And now for the but...

There's no care for quality of work. It's all about getting as many patients in and out of the room as quickly as possible. My colleague's interest in the technical and pathology side of things has disappeared, and there's no opportunity for CPD as there are too many patients to see. Demand ever increases, waiting time targets get ever tighter, and inevitably you cut corners to keep up.

If you work somewhere that requires nights, the shift patterns can be awful. Quite often people where I work will get 3 nights and then immediately back into day shifts. No chance to recover and they feel dreadful all week, often coming down ill at the end.

You get paid less every year. There are increments in each band and generally getting to band 6 is quite straightforward after two years. However once you reach the top of the band you get below inflation pay rises every year, which means you are paid less the longer you work, even if you pick up more skills.

In spite of this, registration fees go up consistently above inflation. We've just had HCPC renewals come through and need to pay £232 for the privilege of continuing to work. This is over double what I paid when I first started and yet the bottom of band 5 has only gone from 21k to 28k in that time. One of the conditions of registration is you have indemnity insurance. The Society of Radiographers offers this and is the main union for radiographers in the UK. They take £25 a month and are absolutely useless. They consistently fail to represent radiographers or promote radiography but I have to pay them in order to stay registered. Their Facebook page routinely advertises for radiographers to move to New Zealand!

I work in MRI and CT and there's a general push to run scanners with 1 radiographer and an assistant rather than 2 radiographers. This means you have to work harder with more stress, shoulder more responsibility, and there are certain things an assistant can never do, which means you never have the opportunity to train colleagues to make the work more level. And of course you don't get paid any more for doing this.

I work in an acute hospital setting. Thanks to the brilliant idea of opening up community diagnostic centres (CDCs), lots of radiographers have left the acute setting to see easier patients. 95% of the patients I see now are more complex - either in their presentation (physical disability, learning disability, dementia, etc) or in the type of imaging they require. I enjoy the more complex imaging which is why I stay, but I don't get paid any more for doing it - I could work 3 days on a van scanning spines and knees and turning away anyone that requires extra help, but I don't think this is right and would not want to be in that situation. If we all wanted an easy life the tricky patients wouldn't have anyone to see them.

Nursing and other AHP collegues have no idea what we do. When I went to uni I spent 2 weeks working with nurses to see what they do day to day. It was interesting. Do nurses spend any time in radiology when they train? No, and they have absolutely no understanding of why we ask for certain things when their patients need to come for imaging. It is a constant argument and we are regularly accused of being obstructive. This is very demoralising when all we are trying to do is the best for patients.

There is a ceiling to how far you can progress. This varies from very low to half decent, depending on where your interests lie and what you are good at, but the most money comes from management and sales, neither of which you need a radiography degree or clinical experience to do.

It is phyically taxing and you spend a lot of time moving overweight patients, dodgy hospital beds, and ancient x-ray kit around. Bad backs are commonplace.

Doom and gloom over. Maybe I'll come back on another day and change my mind, but the downhill trend has been going on a while and now sign of slowing down


Woah that’s opened my eyes. I’ve heard and seen some experiences from people and on online which were mainly bad. It’s pretty much the main reason my family doesn’t recommend it, my cousin is a radiographer, but don’t think she’s a fan of it because of how draining it can be. I think she’s going into teaching instead. However no one’s told me how bad it can be, until I seen this!!

By the sounds of the things it’s almost as though radiographers are not appreciated enough which is quite sad, with all the grafting they have to put in. Sorry to hear that for you. But appreciate the honesty. I will definitely take this into account. Thank you
Reply 6
Symptomatic radiographers are vital in the realm of medical services. Specialists need exact radiography tests to guarantee illnesses are trapped in time and patients get the most ideal treatment.
Reply 7
yes, honestly radiography is the only degree i have seen people enjoy
Reply 8
I would argue too much doom and gloom. Though, you do sound like many I work with so perhaps it's me!

I would counter:

Quality of work depends on what you put in to it. I too work on an acute site where ambulances spend more time parked up outside than they do on the road. I too have stroke nurses trying to get in ct heads, surgeons demanding ct abdo mr spines out of hours and medics with endless ctpa requests but managing and balancing those priorities has always been part of the job.

CPD depends on where you work and how much you fight. Where I work is quite good. Stoke and the JR Oxford are good in this regard too as are some London trusts.

Agreed to crappy staffing and silly shift patterns.

Having worked on the otherside of the fence, I would argue that it is radiographers who don't appreciate the bigger picture. We don't have to juggle 5 dementia patients at once like RNs do on acute medical wards. We don't have to manage 20+ different patients all with long complex medical and social needs on a 12hr shift (when there is flow). Just as you get the nursing pack and introduce yourself to the patient, the ward sister asks you to handover to another ward etc. So when your patient comes to dept without cannula for iv contrast or without the competence to answer mr safety questions, spare a thought for the nursing staff.

Despite all that we still have the nerve to piggy back of their unions/their voice when it comes to agenda for change because as you rightly state, neither the SoR or radiographers on the whole have any testicular fortitude!

Good and bad days in any job.

In the context of the nhs and healthcare, radiographers have one of the easier jobs.
(edited 4 weeks ago)

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