Assistant practitioner: Ambition, determination and accreditation
A real ambition to move forward with her career and a genuine commitment to provide the very best care for her patients, are just two of the reasons that Nima Unadkat, a mammographer at North London Breast Screening Service, is 100% engaged with the SCoR’s accreditation programme for assistant practitioners.
“I am very ambitious and determined to progress - accreditation is the way forward for me to achieve my goals,” she says.
Nima has been working as an assistant practitioner since 2003 and was awarded a foundation degree in 2011. She has continuously developed professionally throughout her career to date, through accreditation and CPD Now.
“Accreditation via CPD Now is such an incentive to learn and keep abreast of everything. It keeps my knowledge of the latest technology completely up-to-date and this has helped me to progress my career and give my patients the best care I can.”
“One of the advantages of being an accredited practitioner is that I am able to attend many events and courses free of charge, which gives me a perfect opportunity to meet colleagues and other professionals. We discuss how our work is progressing, exchange knowledge and learning, how we can extend our roles and any problems we might be experiencing.”
Accreditation has also given Nima recognition at work, together with the opportunity to extend her scope of practice.
“Management are completely aware of everything I am doing to gain accreditation, so they give me extra duties. They realise that I am committed and I have had nothing but positive feedback. But the main thing is that they can see my commitment to improving myself in my role.”
Nima is now part of the QA team, collating information and inputting data into the unit’s own quality assurance systems. She is also part of the rota team, making sure that staffing is allocated to all sites, so that the three yearly round length is maintained.
“I also get to use the latest technology, such as tomosynthesis, which then gives me even more incentive to move forward and continue my education and learning.
“Additionally, ongoing learning and accreditation has made me aware that communication skills are very important; you need to positively welcome patients and be reassuring, treating everyone with respect and communicating with them appropriately for their needs.
"I see women who have been recalled and they are worried and anxious. It is vital that I help them to relax, so that I can obtain the very best images possible, and this can only be good for patients.”
Accreditation also gives Nima the chance to identify any problems or shortcomings, as well as improve her day-to-day skills.
“When I started in 2003, this was a new role - the radiographers were very uncertain that it would work, so I had to demonstrate to them that I could do the job and do it well. I was determined to prove that I was competent to work with them.
“Accreditation is a way to push yourself and prove beyond a doubt that you are able to work alongside radiographers as a valuable and critical part of the team.”