Radiography students not being heard

Thursday 30th July 2015
An article in the Guardian has highlighted how many student radiographers are neglected and often are forgotten by the media. Image Credit: skynesher
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Sue Morgan, a diagnostic radiographer, has highlighted some of the problems of working in the NHS.

Writing an article for the Guardian, she shares concerns about how students are treated, saying they are left at "the bottom of the pile with little voice". She also says that the NHS needs to recognise these people and acknowledge the steps they can take to improve services.

The media, according to Ms Morgan, often presents the NHS as just being made of nurses and doctors, with many allied health professionals being forgotten. This is despite them seeing ten or hundreds of patients every day, with little time to build a relationship of trust to allow them to get the best images.

"It is a difficult balance to achieve but one that is vitally important. That two minute x-ray could be a life changing event; something that is easy to forget when you are x-raying the chests of over 100 people each day," she writes.

Her article suggests the right support network is not there to help student radiographers, with stories about placements making her "want to weep for the profession".

Students come in as outsiders, because they are not used to the healthcare environment, which means they often see things that experienced radiographers don't, Ms Morgan explains.

She cites two stories that she has heard from her students, where showing compassion was seemingly reprimanded. One case saw a student radiographer take time to comfort a patient who had just received a cancer diagnosis, while the other struggled to change wet sheets for a patient only to then be given negative feedback and told that it wasn't a radiographer's job.

"Not all radiographers are like this; I also hear stories from students of radiographers showing incredible compassion and courage in difficult situations. These radiographers become great role models for the students," she writes.

However, this isn't a problem that happens just in radiography departments. Ms Morgan says because of the hierarchical nature of the NHS, many concerns from students are often dismissed.

"It is time that the NHS acknowledged the contribution that students can make to improving services for both patients and staff by providing a safe, supportive environment that enables them to escalate concerns without fear of jeopardising their future career," Ms Morgan concludes.

Written by Megan Smith

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