People first - Catching up with Professor Ruth Strudwick

Ruth Strudwick is a professor, radiographer, a journal editor, chair of multiple boards, and a researcher

Published: 29 December 2023 People

This piece first appeared in the November edition of Synergy 

How can radiographers best care for their patients? That key question is at the heart of Ruth Strudwick’s career.

Professor Strudwick wears a variety of hats: she is a professor of diagnostic radiography and head of allied health professions at the University of Suffolk, she also manages the physiotherapy course at the university, she works with the Society and College of Radiographers chairing a number of panels, she is the editor of SoR’s Imaging & Oncology publication, and is an academic researcher herself. 

'Making a difference'

What each of these roles boils down to is the improvement of the radiography profession for all - both radiographer and patient. 

Synergy met Professor Strudwick to hear about her pathway into the profession, the most significant of her own research findings, and the future of radiography.

“First of all, I wanted to do something where I was working with people,” she said, on her reasons for wanting to become a radiographer. “I love just listening to people’s stories, and their experiences. Making a difference to someone, but also the cutting edge between technology and people.” 

Professor Strudwick knew she wanted to be a radiographer from a surprisingly young age. After breaking her wrist age 12, she found herself fascinated by the technology behind X-rays, which then resulted in her taking part in a week-long work experience programme in a hospital, which set her on the path towards studying radiography in Ipswich, where she still lives and works today. 

'Challenging myself intellectually'

She started her career as a diagnostic radiographer working in general radiography: “I really enjoyed being a diagnostic radiographer and I didn’t want to specialise in anything really. I enjoyed the variety, working in the emergency department, loved going to theatre, really enjoyed working with different healthcare professionals, the whole multidisciplinary team, and was happy doing that for a couple of years. 

“And then I felt like I wasn’t challenging myself enough intellectually.”

She began to branch out, resulting in her starting a self-funded Master’s degree with the Open University. During her study, Professor Strudwick found she had an aptitude for teaching students, which resulted in her taking up a role as a clinical lecturer in 2001, and then as a lecturer in 2003.   

While working as a lecturer, one of Professor Strudwick’s managers encouraged her to do her doctorate because “it’s going to be the currency,” which she duly completed, and then worked her way up at the University of Suffolk until she was promoted to professor in July this year. 

To read more about Professor Strudwick's work, read the full interview in Synergy November.

(Image: Ruth Strudwick via Synergy)