Amanda Dickie, one of our first year students tell us about her experiences as a volunteer at the UKRCO
My motivation to volunteer for the UKRCO was to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the career options available within radiography and specialisms after graduation.
I knew there would be representatives from many companies associated with medical imaging attending and this was a great opportunity to find out what was out there. I was also able to sit in some of the talks and it was interesting to hear what was important to professionals working in the field right now.
On the first day I manned the front desk, handing out passes and programmes and directing exhibitors and speakers. In the afternoon I was able to attend a talk on imaging head and neck disease. Later, I was a model for the MSK Ultrasound session. Consultant Radiologists would explain and demonstrate neck ultrasound scans and delegates had the opportunity to have a go themselves also.
The purpose of the scans were to allow delegates to identify normal variants, for example I have ‘abnormally large vessels’ – I was assured this was nothing to worry about though! After this I had the chance to visit the stands, chat to the exhibitors and do the obligatory freebie sweep!
On day two I was scanning passes in the entrance hall as the delegates and exhibitors arrived. Once everyone was in I was able to listen to a session that covered advances in PACs systems, clinical networking and neonatal radiography which I found particularly interesting. This was delivered by a Danish radiographer and it was fascinating to hear the differences in how they perform neonatal imaging. It was also dose awareness day so there were numerous sessions and posters throughout the hall exploring dose optimisation and awareness of the upcoming regulations.
In the afternoon I listened to a session on MR imaging for clinicians, physicists and radiographers which covered imaging parameters, image weighting, pulse sequences and reduction of artefacts. After this I was showing visitors around the various posters that had been produced for the exhibition.
I was then modelling again for the MSK Ultrasound session. This time I had to get my pasty Scottish legs out as they were scanning feet, ankles and the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the lower limbs to identify healthy and scar tissues. Dr Hughes who was delivering the session was once a keen runner, but after numerous injuries had plenty of his own muscle tears and scarring to compare with my legs.
I ended the day with another wander around the exhibits. It was useful to find out what options there are after graduation. I had assumed I would go straight into the NHS, but there are also many private companies offering graduate programmes to put you through specialised training that I hadn’t even considered.
- The days were long and tiring, but it was well worth it.
- Being able to listen to professionals at the top of their game was a great bonus.
- Mingling with students from other universities was interesting and good fun.
- I’d highly recommend volunteering if you get the chance.
- I got to experience a lot and now have enough pens now to see me through until graduation!