Consultant radiographer retires after working in NHS for 48 years

Rita Borgen 'wore many hats' while working as a radiographer and colleagues have wished her well in retirement

Published: 20 March 2024 People

A consultant radiographer who worked in the NHS for 48 years has decided to retire, after wearing “various hats” over the years.

Rita Borgen has been a divisional education lead, a director of screening at the East Lancashire Breast Unit, is a member of the College of Radiographers Approval & Accreditation Board for the Society of Radiographers (SoR), and a member of the council for Manchester Medical Society’s Imaging Section.

Mrs. Borgen worked to promote advance practice for radiographers, training students in mammography, reporting, ultrasound and intervention for 15 years at the University of Salford, and she has supported Medical Students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) School of Medicine.

She has reviewed articles for journals including Radiography and Clinical Radiology while also finding time to publish her own research, highlighting the challenges within breast imaging.

Now, she has taken the opportunity to retire from radiography at the end of March 2024. 

Working across the country

Mrs. Borgen trained as a radiographer in Middlesbrough in 1976, before travelling across Withington, Trafford and Wythenshawe trusts, as well as the private Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle.

She went on to work at the Nightingale Unit in Manchester from 1999 to 2010, where she was Quality Assurance lead and clinical trainer, before developing her role to the level of clinical specialist.

In 2010, Mrs. Borgen joined East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) as a consultant radiographer.

Since joining ELHT, Mrs. Borgen has led and contributed to several research projects, liaised with other breast units nationally, and been actively involved in clinical-based research which has changed practice. 

Results of these projects have been published widely in literature, and at national and international conferences.

She has also been involved in the editing of multiple widely acclaimed radiology textbooks which are currently in circulation.

'Incredibly dedicated and passionate'

Joleen Eden, a consultant radiographer and colleague of Mrs. Borgen’s at UCLan, said: “Rita is incredibly dedicated and passionate about her profession and most of all the care for her patients. She has had various hats over the years. Rita is an inspiration to many of the radiographers and radiologists we have within our workforce today. The legacy which Rita leaves within breast imaging is a wonderful achievement.

“Rita has been an inspiration to me both professionally and personally. Rita's ability to train and share knowledge and skills within breast imaging has been intrinsic to the entire breast imaging workforce.”

Mrs. Borgen’s colleagues also nominated her for the SoR Gold Medal Award in 2020, which was unfortunately cancelled due to the onset of the pandemic.

In their nominations, they spoke enthusiastically about the importance of Mrs. Borgen’s work, her contributions to the profession of radiography, and how influential she has been in their own studies, research, and work.

Dr. Leslie Robinson, advanced medical imaging postgraduate programme leader at the University of Salford, said: “Rita was instrumental in setting the educational standards, teaching and assessing students and advising the programme team. Rita was also an excellent ambassador for consultant breast radiographers. 

“She encouraged all the breast imaging students to aspire to advanced practitioner and consultant status through demonstration of her own commitment to this role. She held an extensive and impressive array of advanced practice skills.”

Dr. Robinson added that although there are now a large number of breast consultants and advanced practitioners, that Rita was one of the “early pioneers in the field, and I truly believe that it is through her leadership others have gone on to follow in her footsteps.”

(Image: Rita Borgen)