A record number of students from across the UK flocked to the Holiday Inn, Brighton in April for the 2017 annual conference.
A diverse range of speakers addressed the students on a variety of topics designed to help prepare them for their careers, and offer advice on how to get the best out of themselves and their prospective employers.
Subjects included the benefits of being a member of the SCoR, with all its professional and educational support mechanisms; the importance of undertaking research and adding to the profession’s body of knowledge; and how a fellowship or grant can open up the world of research and wider study during their careers.
Sean Henderson-Kelly, Membership and Public Relations Manager, opened proceedings with co-chair Nicola Smith, Student Membership Officer, by welcoming delegates and encouraging them to make the most of the day by networking as much as possible, and by exploring opportunities open to them once qualified.
Welcome and Presidential Address
Steve Herring, President, The Society and College of Radiographers
Steve Herring began his presentation by talking about his experiences as president during the past year, and how impressed he has been by the professionals he has met during his year in office.
“I have visited many places and I hope I have been able to inspire students along the way – you are the future,” he said.
The title of the conference is ‘Radiography in an ever-changing world’ Steve reminded the delegates.
“This means quite a challenge for all of you in this room and for the workforce in general. There has been a huge change in technology and practice which will undoubtedly continue. These are exciting times!
“You are part of 30,000 strong profession – a force to be reckoned with – remember you are not alone.”
Steve encouraged all the students to contribute to the Political Fund – a vital campaign fund to support campaign activity.
“I commend this to you – help us campaign for you in support of you and in support of your patients.”
The Wheel’s Still in Spin
Richard Evans, Chief Executive Officer, The Society and College of Radiographers
The pace of technological change has always guaranteed that radiography is amongst the most stimulating and exciting of the health professions.
In the 13 years that Richard Evans has been CEO of the SoR, the professional body and trades union has also had to adapt to cope with societal, governmental, policy and communication changes.
Richard looked back at these changes and discussed what radiographers will need to do to be ready for radiography of the future.
Simulation-Based Learning: How Should We Be Preparing Student Radiographers for the Clinical Environment?
Sarah Foden, BSc Radiotherapy and Oncology final year student, Sheffield Hallam University
This session covered the process of applying for the CoRIPS award and carrying out research as a student, as well as disseminating the findings of the study.
Sarah spoke to the audience about her application, the CoRIPS award itself, the support she received and the challenges of completing research while also studying and working.
She also shared how the process informed her about and prepared her for a research career.
The study aims to identify the skills required by students as they transfer from the academic to the clinical environment, the simulation-based education activities that may be employed to develop these skills and make recommendations as to how they should be designed and implemented.
Elective placement in Iloilo City, Philippines
Olga Palmer, Student Radiographer, Canterbury Christ Church University
Olga’s presentation related to her recent clinical experience at a general hospital in Iloilo – a city located on a paradise island in the middle of the Philippines.
The radiography elective placement in a busy radiology department gave Olga a chance to learn more about the problems that patients experience, and how professionals in the developing world have adapted to face various challenges such as under-resourced clinics and hospitals, ageing equipment and a large number of patients.
Olga gave delegates a real perspective on healthcare provision in this unfamiliar environment and culture, and how the professionals manage to do their jobs day-to-day.
“It was a fantastic experience to see how professionals cope with such limited resources”
RAD-AID/SoR Program, Lilongwe, Malawi
Dorothy Gemmell, Senior MRI Radiographer, Royal Sussex County Hospital
Dorothy told delegates how she was very fortunate to be selected by the Society, to join a team of representatives and students from Rad-Aid in America on a visit to Kamuzu Central Hospital, Lilongwe, Malawi in July 2016. Malawi is one of the 15 poorest countries in the world and is situated in South East Africa.
Dorothy shared her amazing experiences there and the exciting work she did in a beautiful but extremely poor country (including having a pride of lions living at the back of her house!).
“I came away with so much more than I left behind – it was a truly humbling experience”
The Radiographer’s Role in the Chandigarh Women’s Health Project, India
Ranjan Morarji, Specialist Radiographer, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
Ranjan received a fellowship grant from the SCoR to participate as a member of the RAD-AID team, which consisted of two radiologists, one nurse and three technicians.
The placement was in Chandigarh, North India in partnership with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and coincided with the 4th Annual Conference of Breast Imaging Society of India 2016 (BISICON 2016) which ran over three days. There were three conferences running simultaneously, attended by 80 radiologists, 50 technicians and 150+ nurses.
In this session, Ranjan spoke about why she thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and how she would not hesitate to experience it again if she had the chance.
“Patients from the slum areas have very different priorities – like putting food on the table”
The European Federation of Radiographer Societies (EFRS) and the UK’s Role in Radiography in Europe
Jonathan McNulty, Vice-President, European Federation of Radiographer Societies and Charlotte Beardmore, Director of Professional Policy, The Society and College of Radiographers and EFRS board member
The EFRS represents more than 100,000 radiographers and over 8000 students through 39 national societies and 55 institutions involved in radiography education.
This representation spans the three recognised branches of the profession, namely medical imaging, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine.
The harmonisation, promotion and enhancement of radiography education is a key objective of the EFRS and the input of students is critical to many of our activities.
The EFRS engages on a regular basis with other European representative bodies and with the European Commission.
Areas of current activity include the promotion of the profession, educational standards, radiographer research, and patient safety.
The UK Society of Radiographers (SoR) supports the work of the EFRS as a national society.
A number of UK education institutions are members of the EFRS education wing.
Input into the EFRS work from the UK is via a radiographer nominated by SoR Council and currently there is a UK member on the EFRS Board, plus UK radiographers chairing the radiotherapy and medical imaging expert committees.
In addition, there are expert radiographers contributing to various work streams at the European level.
The EFRS represents the interests of the radiographer at the European level and is the UK voice in Europe.
“Our aim is to promote and develop our profession across Europe”Charlotte Beardmore
“It’s not just about getting radiographers involved in research but promoting that research”Jonathan McNulty
Being Gay – Illegal and Legal! Living Through Times of Professional and Societal Change: A Personal Journey
Stewart Clapperton, Retired Radiographer
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the legalisation of homosexuality. The law may have changed but have attitudes? Stewart took this opportunity to discuss prejudice past and present, and his experiences of these changes over the years as a member of the SoR.
“You can change the law but you can’t change attitudes”
Radiography: No Research, No Future?
Dr Rachel Harris, Professional and Education Manager, The Society and College of Radiographers
The vision of the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) is to foster professional growth and improve the standards of delivery and practice of radiographers, by promoting leadership and by expanding a body of knowledge through education and research.
Rachel and the delegates debated the need for research and discussed how essential it is for the profession to undertake more research.
“There is an expectation that if you are a profession you undertake and publish research”
Employment Rights: Brexit and Beyond
Marie Bullough, Regional Officer, South East, The Society and College of Radiographers
In this session Marie focused on a range of topics surrounding Brexit plans:
“Some laws are more likely to be affected than others”
What might radiography look like in 2036?
Charlotte Beardmore, Director of Professional Policy, The Society
and College of Radiographers and Sean Henderson-Kelly, Membership and PR Manager, The Society and College of Radiographers
In this session, Charlotte and Sean presented ideas of current trends in radiography and where they might lead, which led to some very lively interactive discussions about what we might expect in 20 years’ time.
Most of the conversations were quite lighthearted but with a serious consideration of how recent developments in radiography may be changing the profession’s direction and how – or indeed if – radiography will survive, and change.
Plenary and panel discussion
A lively session at the end of the conference brought everyone together for a round-up of the day.
Topics discussed included post-graduate education, bursaries and student loans, apprenticeships, advanced practice going forward, research opportunities and what students might expect as they head towards the beginning of their careers