Why I became a radiographer - Dhrusha Jethwa

Dhrusha Jethwa explains how her desire to help people is expressed through her work in radiography

Published: 28 December 2023 People

This article first appeared in the October 2023 edition of Synergy.

I grew up in a working class home. My dad was a carpenter and my mum a seamstress and then a registered childminder. My parents were both refugees after Idi Amin expelled anyone of Asian heritage from Uganda. They both arrived young and with nothing. 

I grew up watching them work hard to survive and support and provide for their young family, all the while still helping others where they could. So, from a young age, this belief of helping others was something that just became part of my upbringing. I am one of four  siblings who all work in various sectors of the NHS - all helping others. 

'I wanted to help people'

I fell into radiography by total accident. I had missed my chosen path of optometry by two UCAS points and had to find another career path during clearing. I remember my sister asking ‘what do you want to do?’ and all I said was that I wanted to help people. 

They say everything happens for a reason. Not only did I find a career that is essential in a person’s diagnostic pathway, I also found my best friends. Going to work was never a chore, always a place I loved to be.

As a young radiographer, still finding my feet in my career, I found myself wanting to develop, wanting to make a difference, even if it was just for one person. I moved into mammography which was very fulfilling but I could not make the impact I wanted and the scope for development just was not there at the time. 

The opportunity for reporting was advertised and I looked into what that would mean as a career. Ultimately, it meant I could change or assist in what would happen with a patient’s diagnostic pathway. 

'Fit for the future'

Having been a reporting radiographer now for over 15 years I have seen never-ending backlogs and long turnaround times for reports across all referral sources - outpatients and inpatients not being reported just because there was not the workforce/structure to change this way of working.

In 2017 a pilot was launched in my NHS trust to see if radiographers could report remotely from home, and it has been a huge success. Six years later, there is a robust infrastructure in place to deliver ultra-fast turnaround of reporting services and retaining staff who have subsequently relocated from the trust.

It was because of the vision that our radiology management had for their reporting team in 2017, that they inadvertently made sure that the organisation was fit for the future when unprecedented world events dictated that we had to revolutionise the way we delivered services in 2020.

Read more in the October edition of Synergy, click here.

(Image: Dhrusha Jethwa, via Synergy)