Diagnostic Radiography Student Story

Beatrice McCabe

Before joining Suffolk, I was working as an assistant in the Radiology department of my local hospital. I’d been doing this for a few years and decided I wanted to further my career and become a Radiographer myself. I completed an Access to Higher Education diploma first then secured my place on the Diagnostic Radiography degree.

The fact that the University of Suffolk offers more time in placement than other universities really attracted me. I’d also worked with students and graduates of the University in my previous job, who all recommended it to me.

Another reason why Suffolk appealed to me was the ability to take advantage of the countryside, beaches and local towns and cities that are all nearby. The campus is only a short walk from the town centre where there are many lovely independent shops and bars.

I’ve enjoyed the anatomy and physiology modules the most as I’ve always been interested in the human body. Learning all the new terminology of the profession and being able to understand what I saw on a radiograph has been amazing.

For me, being able to put what we learn in lectures into practice whilst on placement is so rewarding; the course is really well organised so that you learn theory in chunks then get to experience it in the clinical setting so you don’t feel overwhelmed with information as you can learn gradually.

The support I have received from the lecturers and wider team has been so important and helpful to me. Once I’d accessed the library services that are available, I felt much more able to undertake my academic work.


David Gammell

I had an accident in 2002 falling off a container ship at Ipswich docks. Before that I was in the military. I left the military one month before I had the accident and the accident actually caused a subdural haematoma in my brain which is a small bleed. After that for many years I had 5 operations on my head. It took probably about 6 years to walk and talk again and it left me with partial sight and partial hearing and a big metal plate in my head.

For me the reason I applied to go to university was because I was out of work for so long with lots of operations on my head. I remember one day I had an x-ray done on my head and it was done by a student and that’s when the penny dropped and I thought I would quite like to do this. The experience applying for the degree was quite challenging but fairly straightforward and there is a lot of help there if you need it. For me because I left school and joined the military I didn’t do any further education so I had to do an additional year to give me qualifications to apply for university.

The course itself is very challenging, and anybody who thinks it is like a normal degree, it’s really almost like an apprenticeship. You are working full time and I enjoyed that aspect of it. Straightaway you are hands on with patients after your academic blocks so it was very challenging but very worthwhile. I am now actually working at James Paget Hospital as a Radiographer so it’s fantastic. I’m qualified and now with the patients, treating them.

As we all know now we have an ageing population so we get a lot of older people down for x-rays and things who have spent a long time in hospital so I can empathise with them because I have been there. It helps with my communication. I will never forget my time in hospital. Hopefully I will always be able to carry that on to improve the patient’s experience.

The support from the university was fantastic; from the lecturers, such as Ruth Strudwick and people like that, are fantastic because they always appreciate I can’t see things like on the board so they go the extra mile for me. They’ve all been very supportive.

For students who might be in the same position as myself, they might have some disabilities, don’t let that hold you back. With the support of the university they will help to get you to your goal, there’s nothing that should hold you back. Looking back on it now, I was young so that’s what helped me and I think its human nature for us to fight against disabilities and things like that. I think for myself I can’t ever say that the disabilities held me back because when I couldn’t walk I would just try more and walk more and try harder and harder.

At my graduation I felt very proud and nervous actually. It’s been a long journey for me; 12 years since I had my accident and now it’s gone full circle and I’m now a fully qualified radiographer. I am still living with the consequences, I have just adapted, I wear a hearing aid and I move slowly through crowds.

If someone is thinking of studying here I would say come, it is an excellent, friendly university. It isn’t something like a big, big university where you might get swept away. All the staff are very approachable from day one so if you need any help with anything, the library staff are fantastic, the facilities are top notch and by the look of it they are only going to get better with new buildings and things. I would say to anyone thinking of studying here you should definitely come and do it.


Andrew Lim

I’m from Basildon in Essex originally and before I came to University I was working as an administration assistant at the nuclear medicine department in UCLH. The University of Suffolk was recommended to me by a former work colleague of mine who had studied there previously. I wanted a career which combined health care and science, and wanted to work in a profession which gives a challenge and is constantly advancing in terms of technology, techniques and discoveries.

The best part of my degree was that as trainee radiographers, we had three years of both the academic component with the practise component where we were exposed to real patients and had to use knowledge and skills learnt in the classroom at our hospital sites.

I really enjoyed studying in Suffolk. The local villages and towns give a sense of peacefulness and beauty. I’d recommend taking a day trip to nearby Bury St. Edmunds with its beautiful Cathedral and market or visit Woodbridge; both were highlights for me.

I would thoroughly recommend studying radiography at the University of Suffolk. The training you get as a student is excellent, and the opportunity of the ERASMUS student exchange is an extraordinary experience. I was based in the beautiful city of Bergen in Norway where we were paired up with Bergen University College.

During my three months in Bergen, we learnt about how the Norwegian Healthcare system works, specifically in the field of radiography. I was also given basic Norwegian lessons and was introduced to Norwegian culture. I was given an internship in Bergen’s biggest hospital covering Computed Tomography (CT) and general radiography for seven weeks. Whilst I was there, I did many activities such as alpine skiing, hiking the seven mountains of Bergen and CrossFit, which made me realise how active most Norwegians are.

I truly believe that the ERASMUS programme has increased both my knowledge and confidence in my practise as a radiographer. Also as a result of the programme, I have made many friends across Europe and beyond whom I have visited in their home countries as well as them coming over to visit me here in England.

Since graduating, I am now working as a Radiographer at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. My degree helped me by providing me with great knowledge and instilling in me confidence.

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