Pursuing an Education in Radiography
An inside look at earning a medical imaging degree in Australia.
A day in the life of a student has its ups and downs, but overall, my life as a radiography student is a dream come true. I love the courses I am taking, and what I am doing.
I remember being asked all through high school about what I wanted to be when I was older. It is hard to know in your teens what you want to do for the rest of your life! But then a shoulder injury led me to my answer. After having the imaging exam, I thought, “now this would be an amazing job – having the expertise to help people who are injured or sick.”
Today, I am halfway through my third year in a four-year Bachelor Degree program in Medical Imaging at Deakin University in Australia. I love expanding my knowledge of pathologies. The more I can learn, the more I can help show the pathologies in the images, and help in the patient’s road to recovery.
Medical imaging is a challenging course of study
In order to be accepted into the Medical Imaging program at Deakin University, I was required to achieve certain scores in English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math Methods. I undertook all of these except Physics as a Year-12 student. Also, I was required to achieve a certain overall score.
In my current studies, there is no “typical day” for me. One day might be filled with classes. Another day will be free of classes and I use the time to study and do my assignments.
Each year, we complete two blocks of field placements. The placements last three to six weeks each semester, and we work for eight hours a day. The university gives us a large range of placements to further our studies. So far, I have had placements at rural, regional, and interstate sites. I have liked them all, although I enjoy the rural placements the most. I grew up in the country before moving to Geelong for university so I enjoy the atmosphere there.
It has been interesting to see the differences in the placements. The main difference is the variation in protocols. Also, the workload varies. Metropolitan hospitals can be a lot busier at times than the other sites. My firsthand experiences at the placements helped me learn an important lesson. I realized that having an imaging exam can be daunting to many patients. I know that seeing a radiographer with a fresh, happy face will make their day easier.
Learning different imaging modalities
When I first started my degree, I didn’t realize how much knowledge is required to take X-rays and work with other imaging modalities. I really enjoy the challenge of the more complex modalities of radiology. I would like to pursue more training in CT, MRI, and Mammography after I graduate. It is important to me to challenge myself. I believe it helps me expand my knowledge and makes me a better radiographer. My next step in my education is to get an internship and finish my degree at the end of next year.
If you are thinking about pursuing a career in radiology, my advice is – do it! And if you’re not sure, talk to a radiographer to learn more.
Ashlee Heap is a third-year medical-imaging student at Deakin University in Australia.