Doc menu

10.12 Case Study 10 Heather Dias

Advanced Role Case Study

Macmillan Gynae/colo-rectal Radiographer 

Early career

I qualified as a therapy radiographer in 1980 and gained experience over the next few years in two different radiotherapy departments. I left the profession for a few years due to family commitments before returning to the profession in 1998 to another department. Here I have gained experience on the treatment machines, in brachytherapy, quality assurance and research.

As part of the department’s policy to have evidenced levels of practice in order to take on role development, I undertook a master’s module in treatment review. This was followed by a master’s module on informed consent and thus enabled more involvement throughout the patient pathway. At about this time I had the opportunity of working alongside an oncologist reviewing chemo-radiotherapy patients and after completing competencies now review these patients independently.

The post of a radiographer specialising in gynaecological cancers, supported by Macmillan, was advertised to which I was appointed

Specialist radiographer

 Part of my practice is in brachytherapy and in order to improve the service to patients and reduce clinician time, I now undertake vaginal vault insertions. Competency to do this was achieved by supervised and then independent practice backed up by written work under a master’s module.

I became lead radiographer for the brachytherapy service and after attending a course was appointed as Radiation Protection Supervisor for brachytherapy. Although I had gained experience in brachytherapy over several years I took the opportunity to update my knowledge by completing a master’s module in brachytherapy. This also allowed reflection on good practice and ways in which our service could be developed.  

Role development

Experience has been gained in this role within clinics, being a mentor to other radiographers and registrars and leading a small team of site specialist radiographers. My site specialism has been extended to include colo-rectal cancers. I have developed patient pathways and aim to provide more holistic care for patients.

I have developed information leaflets with colleagues and I have also revised gynaecological consent forms and introduced brachytherapy consent forms with the aim of improving the amount and quality of information that patients receive. Satisfaction with the service is monitored by the use of patient surveys.


Radiotherapy continues to develop with the introduction of new techniques and enhanced imaging. Therapy radiographers need to maintain and enhance their profile within cancer services and site specialism allows this to be achieved whilst offering patients quality care. It provides opportunities for role development and job satisfaction. This may be further expanded in the future with the emphasis on survivorship and improving outcomes, by offering greater support and information post treatment. 

Heather Dias

Content tools

Accessibility controls

Text size