Opportunities for Radiography Assistants highlighted as outstanding

Release Date: 08/04/2019

Opportunities for Radiography Assistants highlighted as outstanding

Radiography Department Assistants (RDAs) at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital have the opportunity to progress their careers to fully qualified Radiographers with the Trainee Assistant Practitioner programme.

The programme was highlighted as outstanding practice by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), in their report published after their latest inspection of the Oswestry-based hospital.

Victoria Higgins is the latest Trainee Assistant Practitioner in the department and started this two year role back in September 2018.

Victoria said: “I’ve been part of the Radiography team since 2001 - I started the department in an admin role and then progressed onto becoming an RDA in 2008, before landing my current position.

“Being a Trainee Assistant Practitioner is an extremely hands on job and I have the opportunity to learn from the Radiographers – they oversee every patient I take x-rays of to ensure the best possible quality.

“I’ve also had the opportunity to work in Theatres at RJAH, and also the Minor Injuries Unit in Oswestry, which has given me real variety.”

As part of her role, Victoria also attends Birmingham City University (BCU) once a week where she completes a Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care specialising in Diagnostic Radiography. 

She added: “So far in the first year, we’ve covered topics such as anatomy and physiology, diagnostic radiography and physics for radiography practitioners.

“Once I’ve completed this programme, I’m planning to go on to complete my degree in Radiography to become a fully-qualified Radiographer.”

Sara Jew, Lecturer and Foundation Degree Lead, Radiography Pathway at BCU, said: “We’re very proud of the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care Radiography programme.

“The pathway of Assistant Practitioner in Diagnostic Imaging allows those that would not have had access to university to gain a higher level qualification whilst working in an imaging department.

“The pathways were developed in collaboration with employers to enable the development of the NHS workforce, giving NHS staff opportunities to further their career.  

“Employers work alongside academic staff at BCU, both providing lots of encouragement and support to the individual throughout their journey, to help them build confidence as well as knowledge and skills.

“Once the individual has successfully gained their Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care Radiography, and is working as an Assistant Practitioner, they then have the chance to join the Bachelor of Science (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography course continue their career and their educational journey.”

Victoria added: “As a mum-of-three, I wouldn’t have been able to further my career without this opportunity, so I’m really grateful.

“The whole team in Radiography have been really supportive of me completing this and always do their best to help me as much as they can.”

Connor Hodgetts, Interim Superintendent Radiographer, said: “The Trainee Assistant Practitioner roles are a great way for our RDAs to take the first step to become a qualified Radiographer.

“Victoria is doing great - I’m very proud to see the progress she’s making and to see her confidence growing more and more.”

Mark Brandreth, Chief Executive, said: “I always say we have the best staff in the NHS and to see one of our departments supporting and nurturing members of the team to further their career is fantastic.

“I’m delighted the CQC have highlighted this piece of work as outstanding practice and I wish Victoria the best in the rest of her studies.”

Photo caption: Radiographers Kate Herbert and Lou Collins with Trainee Assistant Practitioner Victoria Higgins (centre).

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