Cardiac lead radiographer to retire after 40 years

Sharon Slade is retiring from the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust after four decades working in imaging

Published: 23 February 2024 People

A cardiac lead radiographer is retiring from the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH) after 40 years.

Sharon Slade trained at the Bath School of Radiography straight out of school, before starting her employment in January 1984. She worked first as a dark room technician for two months, then began her career in radiography after her 21st birthday.

The RUH explained that when Ms Slade first started there was an age limit for those going into radiography.

'Never even considered a different career'

Ms Slade said: "When I first started we had no CT scanners and MRI was in its infancy. I spent the first few years doing general radiography. Once CT came in I got to do that too. But in those days it would take at least 30 minutes to scan a head... now we're talking 30 seconds!

"Then I discovered the world of interventional radiology, and I was lucky enough to be the radiographer on the first ever abdominal aortic stent done at the RUH. Soon after that our first cath lab was built, and I was hooked."

The cardiac catheterisation laboratory (or “cath lab”) is a dedicated clinical space for investigating and treating heart conditions, using imaging equipment.

Ms Slade added she had “never even considered” taking a different career route, and that she had known radiography was what she wanted to do ever since she was a teenager.

However, she said she had “no idea” how much change she would see over the years.

'Enjoyed every moment'

"Cardiology moved to the third floor and initially we only had one cath lab," she said. "Then, in 2004 we got lottery funding to equip the second lab. We doubled our capacity and started our angioplasty service, and again I was there for the first one.

"For the last few years I have worked solely in the lab and enjoyed every moment. I have especially enjoyed training other staff, working in the team, and being involved in developing our service."

Ms Slade said that in retirement, she plans to deactivate her early morning alarm, open her curtains and see what the day brings – and she is looking forward to spending more time with her husband and family.

(Image: RUH radiography team, via the RUH)