Mariam is studying BSc (Hons) Radiography (Radiotherapy and Oncology), and describes it as “the most amazing degree to do.”
How did you develop an interest in Radiotherapy, and why did you choose to study it at City, University of London?
Healthcare and technology have always been an interest of mine and what I love most about Radiotherapy is that we are able to learn not only about the medical aspects of the field but also the physics and machinery that drives it. There is so much research going into Radiotherapy, and learning about how far it has come makes it exciting for me as well. The practical skills we learn as students such as care, compassion, problem-solving and analytical skills combined with the knowledge in anatomy and oncology, really make radiotherapy a unique degree and one that keeps you on your feet.
What drew me most to City was the comfortable and warm atmosphere. Its faculty and students are incredibly friendly and immensely supportive. The facilities offered and resources available are incomparable to what I have seen elsewhere. You really feel part of a community here!
What have you enjoyed most about your course and your time at City?
My favourite module would definitely be Oncology. It is all about cancer - what causes it, the signs and symptoms and what investigations are carried out to diagnose it. Oncology is incredibly interesting and I really enjoy reading around it.
As cliché as it sounds, I really think I’ve made friends for life here. Being able to meet such kind and like-minded people has really made my time here enjoyable.
How have you found the teaching on your course, and the facilities available at City?
The teaching here is brilliant. As well as lectures and tutorials, we have many pre-clinical sessions to equip us for our time in placement. This way we know what to expect for our times in the hospital.
The clinical skills centres are incredibly useful. Placements in the hospitals are very different to anything we have ever experienced. These clinical sessions ensure that we are prepared for them by allowing us to practise skills we need in the hospitals. The VERT sessions allow us to practise using the equipment in a virtual setting and get comfortable with the controls so it’s not all a shock during placement.
Could you tell us about your placements?
My placement so far has been incredibly positive. Nothing beats seeing the actual theory in practise. We get really stuck in from the get go and get to know our patients very well. It’s definitely been one of the most honouring experiences, as these patients never hesitate to make us feel appreciated and comfort us with their words of encouragement. It reminds me of why I went into this course in the first place, and that is to have an impact on others, big or small. The Therapeutic Radiographers are very warm and friendly and make us feel at ease to ask them questions.
The hardest thing would have to be balancing revision whilst on placements and work. We work 4 days a week at the hospital and I spend the weekends at a part-time job. It can be overwhelming as second year means an increased workload but I feel well supported by my friends on my course as well as the lecturers who are always happy to explain any concepts I am struggling with. The first week of placement for me personally was a bit difficult as it’s nothing like you are used to. Actually seeing the patients can be a bit daunting because you do not want to say the wrong things and come across as insensitive. However, we have weekly visits from our link lecturers at the hospitals who are always there to listen to any things we struggle with and offer us advice and support.
How will your placement experiences help you with your future career?
Placement will definitely play a massive part in my future role as a qualified Therapeutic Radiographer. There are some things that you can only learn by witnessing and experiencing and this is one of them. The skills you gain whilst on placement build you up and make you mature a lot quicker. I remain eternally grateful that I was given a place on this course as I can’t imagine myself loving anything more.
What has been your biggest challenge whilst studying at City?
As mentioned before, it is the workload combined with placement. Another thing would be that healthcare students’ timetables are a bit longer than other students which means there were points in the year where other students were on holiday but we were still at university. The only pro to that is that you could actually find a seat in the library! I feel also, as healthcare students, you grow up a lot quicker as you’ve got more responsibly in a way and a professional conduct to maintain.
What would be your advice to anyone considering studying the BSc Radiography course?
Go for it, definitely! It offers so much mental stimulation you just can’t find in other courses. As biased as it sounds I would say it is the most amazing degree to do. Not just because of what a fast-paced job it is but also because of the phenomenal impact you have on patient’s lives. I’ve seen some patients who revisit the department just to say hello to the staff and thank them for what they did. If that’s not a reason to do the course, I don’t know what is.
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Ideally work as a Therapeutic Radiographer but I would love to be involved in research as well, in Oncology - maybe try to cure cancer once and for all. You never know…
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