Year 2 student Michael Allen tell us about his experiences of the student conference held in Liverpool.
Did any other year 2 students attend from Salford and how many attended in total from other universities?
Four of us from Salford attended in total including Lucy Appleton, Amanda Dickie, and Shaun Dorey. The conference attracted around 85 students from over a dozen different universities. It also had a few stands from some NHS hospitals and a representative from “Work the World”.
Tell us about the conference and the presentations you saw during the morning session
The conference began with a welcome talk, followed by Society of Radiographer (SoR) presidents address from Gareth Thomas. Next up was 3 short presentations (approximately 10 mins) by student CoRIPS award winners:
- The feasibility of using automatic contour propagation to identify the rectum during MR-guided adaptive radiotherapy to the pelvis.
- Tattoo avoidance in breast cancer radiotherapy: the TACT study.
- Image quality optimisation in the cervical spine C1/C2 open mouth odontoid peg projection.
The talks were interesting, especially as I could now relate to the topics covered, after recent clinical experience and current lectures. The third topic was especially interesting as it had a similarity of the RiTe weeks, here at Salford. I had an opportunity to compare the presentation given, with the our RiTe presentation given by our groups last year.
The next talk was given by Jason Brook from Teeside university, who was lucky enough to win last year’s “Work the World” competition. He gave us a fascinating overview of this time in Peru. There were some interesting images of patients being x-rayed whilst their parents stood by watching in the same room. The idea of x-ray safety and infection control seemed lower down the priority list than here in the UK.
After a coffee break at midday, the afternoon kicked off with another three talks:
- Going into work,
- Experience as a SCoR Student observer to UK council a
- Person-centredness for radiography.
Marie Lloyd (SoR) gave a short talk about what we should consider when we take up our first post after qualifying. She explained that it was not about accepting the first job you are offered (“yes I got a job”), but you should consider how the NHS trust itself works – Is there career progression? Will there be opportunities to specialise? How do you get to the next pay band? If you are considering private companies, there are possible pitfalls with training contracts. She gave examples of contracts were the radiographer had to pay training penalties of £25k, if they left before their contract period finished to cover training costs. Quite an eye opener!
Sophie Hughan from University of London, gave her account of being a student observer to the UK council, how she spent time attending meetings and going to various events as part of this role. It showed there are lots of opportunities for students to get involved.
Gareth Hill from Queen Margaret University, gave a talk on patient-centredness, particularly about his study on LGB patients, how we should all consider how we phrase our questions to patients, for example, “Would you like bring your husband with you?” or “Would you like bring your partner with you?”. I don’t think any radiographer deliberately goes out to offend people, but it does make you think are we phrasing our questions to the patient sensitively enough.
That sounds very interesting! Did you have time for lunch?
Yes! We had a three course lunch which was included in the conference fee as well as the chance to chat with other attendees.
Good! OK so what did you get up in the afternoon?
In the afternoon, we were given the chance to attend 1 of 3 workshops:
- Making research happen
- Student involvement in SoR
- Professional ethics.
I chose number 3. I was with a group of about 20 people and we discussed the differences between ethics and morality. Should personal morals get in the way of ethics? Should you carry out your role if it conflicts with your personal morality?
We had some very interesting discussions, with a student example of a patient, that was scheduled to have an abortion in a weeks’ time who was rushed for an emergency adbomen x-ray, and the radiographer refused to x-ray, saying the fetus would receive a dose.
The day finished with an opportunity to ask any questions to representatives of the Society of radiographers.
So would you recommend other students to attend?
Most definitely yes! It wasn’t cheap at £60 plus travel. However, you were fed and watered all day and given the obligatory conference freebies 🙂
It was also interesting to see what other students are doing. There are plenty of opportunities as a student to get involved with the SoR outside the university such as student research and overseas placements.
All things considered, it was a very enjoyable day!
So why not put next year’s conference date in your diary!