Annual Student Conference 2016

Published: 20 April 2016 Ezine

Students from all over the UK congregated at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow for the SCoR 2016 annual student conference at the end of March.

More than 100 students attended this year’s event and speakers presented on a variety of topics, providing the delegates with a wealth of information to help them navigate their way through the world of work once they qualify – from the advantages of belonging to the SCoR, with all its professional benefits, and how to develop and promote yourself as a professional, to how a fellowship or grant can open up the world of research and wider study.

Here's a selection of highlights from the event.

Welcome and presidential address

Sheila Hassan got the event off to a good start by exploring the benefits of SCoR membership and the support, expertise and commitment that the Society can offer members throughout their careers.

Many members ask: “What is the SCoR doing for me?” she said, emphasising that all the work the SCoR does is dedicated to its members.

While other professional bodies are able to give general advice, commented Sheila, they are not experts with the in-depth knowledge of the profession and its intricacies.

To keep up with the changes in a fast moving world, you need to know where to get the most up-to-date and relevant information, and this is SCoR’s greatest strength. “It’s important to have someone to go to, to find out exactly what’s going on,” she said.

How to become Chief Executive of the SCoR

Not everyone gets the chance to be a CEO but all Society members do have the opportunity to work for the profession, was the advice given by Richard Evans, CEO of the Society.

Richard’s presentation looked at how you can get involved and make a difference to radiography and promote better patient care, as well as how to give yourself the best chance to become CEO.

He encouraged the students to get involved with the SCoR by joining special interest groups, boards and Council – to say yes to everything!

Experiences of a forensic radiographer

Emily Faircloth, founder member, International Association of Forensic Radiographers (IAFR), provided delegates with a comprehensive overview of forensic radiography, its applications and opportunities to become involved.

Emily described her journey from becoming qualified, to her involvement with the establishment of an internationally recognised membership organisation which is setting the bar for forensic radiography practice.

She also detailed her own experiences of victim identification after the 2004 Tsunami, 7/7 bombings and in Bosnia, as well as how forensic radiography contributes to determining the age of immigrant children arriving in the UK.

Cancer information and support – a world beyond traditional radiotherapy

Craig Blackwood, cancer information and support specialist, Macmillan Cancer Support (Jersey), gave a presentation which outlined the great need for information and support that is essential for patients with cancer, not just after diagnosis, but throughout their treatment and beyond to survivorship.

Craig described his own role at Macmillan Cancer Support and told some of the moving stories behind the people who have accessed the service.

Work the World

Emma Johnson, a third year radiotherapy student at University of the West of England, related her experiences of the perspective-altering placement that she undertook in Iloilo, the Philippines.

Unfortunately, the Cobalt unit was broken during her placement, however she had many other amazing and inspiring encounters, which she shared with the delegates at the conference.

Emma grabbed the opportunity to see other aspects of the hospital, including CT and ultrasound, as well as spending time at a ‘lying-in’ clinic for women in sometimes severe poverty, run by an endlessly generous midwife.

She told delegates that the opportunity to work with other professionals greatly enriched her understanding of their roles, as well as broadening her skill-base.

Workshop 1: The future of radiographers in Scotland, the political landscape and employment

In this session, Deborah Shepherd, national officer, SCoR, aimed to give an overview of the issues affecting radiographers who begin their careers in Scotland.

Deborah described the divergence of the NHS within a political context, and future employment conditions of new and early career radiographers within a changing political situation.

Investigating the experiences of a bladder emptying policy and patient preferences for a catheterisation intervention: A pre-trial stakeholder engagement study

Radiotherapy is integral in the treatment of bladder cancer and must be delivered accurately for the best outcome.

Variations in bladder volume can affect the accuracy of targeted treatment due to fluctuations in urine levels.

This study, by Mofolorunso Okubanjo, therapy radiographer, Sheffield Hallam University, investigated patient preference and the acceptability of intermittent catheterisation (IC), as well as the views of therapeutic radiographers.

"Radiotherapy plays a pivotal role in management of invasive bladder cancer and what the patients thought was important if protocols were going to be changed", she said.

Areas of improvement in professional practice

Louise Coleman, professional officer for education and accreditation, and Maria Murray, professional officer for Scotland, held an interactive session where delegates had the opportunity to participate both verbally and online during this very lively part of the conference.

Real case studies were used throughout and the students were encouraged to make full use of their mobile phones, laptops and tablets.

The presenters aimed to encourage delegates to recognise areas of their professional practice they felt could be improved, and to promote themselves as a conscientious, caring and competent student radiographer.

One of the most interesting parts of the session was the SWOT analysis – completely interactive, asking delegates about the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities that the students felt that they faced on a daily basis.


Some of the winners of the Imaging & Therapy Practice student competition awards were also in attendance to collect their prizes.

Laura Brierly

Joint second prize: Imaging & Therapy Practice student competition 2015

Article: Gone without a trace: Are nuclear medicine departments ready for the molecular imaging challenge?

When Laura won the prize, she was a final year diagnostic radiography student at the University of Portsmouth. Laura said: “I had some nice chats with the students at the conference – it was interesting hearing how their studies were going and what their aspirations were. The talks were interesting too – the work around the world talk was a real eye opener.”

Ruth Avery

Joint fourth prize: Imaging & Therapy Practice student competition 2015

Article: An evaluation of online information aimed at children aged 7-11 years, who have been referred for an MRI scan.

Ruth secured her first job as a diagnostic radiographer at the Southmead Hospital in Bristol after graduating from UWE. “I really enjoyed attending the conference. The presentations gave an introduction to some of the possibilities for career progression or diversification, and the speakers were inspiring,” commented Ruth.

Work the World winner 2015

Sheila Hassan presented Olga Palmer, student at Canterbury Christchurch University, the Work the World 2015 award, offered in partnership by Work the World and the College of Radiographers.

The award aims to encourage an awareness of the international context of healthcare delivery and specific cultural awareness of the countries that the winners visit.

Olga said: "The SoR student conference is a great opportunity for students to reflect on and share their own practices. The collaborations with other students helps further my own development as a health professional."

A big thank you....

Thanks to all who attended the conference, and thanks for the fantastic feedback you have sent in so far.

Here are a selection of comments we've had back after the event:

"It was fascinating to listen to Emma Johnson, who had her elective placement in the Philippines. She described some of the cultural differences in the hospital environment, which I am going to experience myself this year!"

"It was useful to meet other students and exchange experiences. The speakers gave lots of information about the future of radiography careers, and I will keep my eyes open for interesting careers opportunities in the future. I think it has also encouraged me to maintain my involvement in the SoR as a trade union in my professional life."

"The conference and companies present at it opened our eyes to a world of radiography outside of the usual modalities and NHS. I left with a drive to pursue different specialties and strive to improve on my practice throughout my career."

"I enjoyed the talk from the CEO and president of SCoR. I felt there was an overall message that as students we are the future. Anyone can sit back and just do a 9-5 job but getting involved reaps benefits not to mention having an exciting career. All talks from the society committee were excellent I felt."

Pictures below from left to right in descending order:

Sheila Hassan, SCoR

Richard Evans, SCoR

Emily Faircloth, IAFR

Craig Blackwood, Macmillan Cancer Support

Emma Johnson, University of West of England

Deborah Shepherd, SCoR

Mofolorunso Okubanjo, Sheffield Hallam University

Louise Coleman, SCoR

Maria Murray, SCoR

Sheila Hassan and Laura Brierly

Sheila Hassan and Ruth Avery

Sheila Hassan and Olga Palmer