South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed two aspiring radiographers to its team as part of a unique degree apprenticeship programme in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University.
The apprentices are gaining vital experience working alongside therapy radiographers at The James Cook University Hospital while carrying out distance learning via the university.
Claire Huntley, the trust’s radiotherapy clinical lead, was a member of the therapeutic radiographer apprenticeship trailblazer group and was involved in writing the apprenticeship standards.
Development and progression
She said: “Therapeutic radiography is a very varied role with many different routes for development and progression, so this programme will develop their skill set and knowledge in preparation for this.
“Therapeutic radiography is a recognised ‘at risk profession’, so to be able to contribute to developing more therapeutic radiographers in the region is important to me.”
She added: “There was a huge amount of interest in the post, which was wonderful and there were some very strong applications.
“I am excited to see this continue, and I would encourage anyone who would be interested in a career in therapeutic radiography to come and visit us, either by work experience or by volunteering in the department of radiotherapy and oncology, both of which can be arranged through the trust to find out if this is a career for you.”
Both Natasha and Piers previously worked within the trust and decided to apply for the apprenticeship to allow them to further develop their skills.
They are learning about anatomy and physics, image matching, how to plan and deliver radiotherapy to cancer patients and discovering other cancer treatment modalities.
Natasha said: “I decided to sign up to the apprenticeship after having previous experience working with patients who were diagnosed with cancer.
I wanted to take the opportunity to positively contribute to patient experience, being there for people, at what can be the most difficult time in their lives.
“I’m really enjoying learning a new profession in depth, meeting the team and everyone involved in a patient’s diagnosis and treatment.
“It feels exciting and daunting all at the same time. I’m excited to see how we will progress throughout the three years as part of the team and I’m happy to be part of our patient’s experience from day one.”
Piers added: “James Cook has shaped me into the person I am today, I started off my working life here and I cannot wait to develop my skills and achieving my degree in therapeutic radiotherapy.
“I have learnt vital interpersonal skills along with radiotherapy specific skills so far, but I still have a lot of learning to do. I cannot wait to develop these skills further and see what the next three years have in store for me.“