Love that Soph and I have crossed paths. Every time we catch up, it is full of laughter, great stories and generally includes some divine red wine. Sophie is ever so bubbly, personable, a peoples person and is someone you feel comfortable with and enjoy being around. This natural talent is displayed in her line of work and is an absolute must. Understanding every bone, muscle and organ in the human body – Sophie is also a very smart women. And I love learning from her.
Sophie Radley | CT & General Radiographer/Mammographer | Bachelor Medical Radiation Science | Master Medical Radiation Science (Computed Tomography)
Brief description of your role:
I work in a single site radiology practice with a close-knit group of radiographers, sonographers and clerical staff. My role includes performing general x-rays, fluoroscopy, dental x-rays, mammograms, bone density scans, body analysis scans and CT examinations including cardiac and vascular scanning. I help coordinate and supervise university students and work experience students and the every day running of the radiology services we provide. My role within the department is very broad and I have gained multiple skills while being there, even learning how to tighten and change door handles!
So… what do you actually do?
7:00am– Time to get my butt up! Breakfast and vitamins to start the morning and if I have time a coffee!! 7:45am– Jump in the car to go to work, thank god I have triple j to listen to! 8:20am– Turn on the equipment and warm the machines up. Check the appointment list for the day and where I’m rostered. Sneak in a coffee if I haven’t had one yet! 8:30am– Today I’m rostered in x-ray but also do CT scans if needed. Nothing is ever predictable in radiology as every patient presents differently with different examinations, and multiple walk-in patients to keep me on my toes! In x-ray I look after all general work including fluoroscopy and have a 4th year uni student to supervise. Patients start arriving from now so time to get started! 10:00am– A patient from disability home arrives via ambulance and we coordinate with the ambulance officers to perform their x-rays 11:00am-Mammography patient arrives for x-rays and ultrasound 12:00pm– Pop out quickly to visit a referring chiropractor 1ish– LUNCH TIME!! Take the student out for lunch today as it’s their last day with us and they’ve done a stellar job! 2pm– Back to the grind for the arvo, only 3hours to go! Cardiac CT session has started for the afternoon, another radiographer takes over x-rays and I take over CT. 3:30pm– Cardiologist turns up to check on the patients and how the session is running 5ish– Finish up for the day, clean the x-ray rooms and shut the equipment down 6:30pm– Manager picks me up from work to head to a conference we are sponsoring, what a life on a Friday! 8:30pm– Presentation done and dusted, time to catch up with the girls from work for sangria 11:30pm– Finally home!
Everyday is different and can change rapidly in my field of work. People thinking of radiology as a career choice need to be flexible, relatable and able to adapt quickly to different situations. One minute you may have no patients booked for the afternoon, the next there may be an influx of walk-in patients each presenting different challenges to keep you busy well beyond 5pm!
How did you get to your position of being a CT & General Radiographer?
Initially I fell into my Uni degree with the help of my brother-in-law and had no idea what it involved. During the first two years of Uni I definitely had my doubts about whether I was suited to this career, however I fell in love with it once I began my work placements in my third and fourth year. I got offered several jobs in my fourth year and began work almost as soon as I graduated in January. I learnt so much in my first few months, doing theatre shifts, emergency work and on call, however I got ‘poached’ in August of my first year for another position at the company I’m currently at to further my training.
Have you always wanted to work in the medical industry?
I came from a country town in South Australia so when I was in high school all I knew was that I wanted to go to university in Adelaide. I had a keen interest in sport so I always felt I wanted a career working with people or in a team environment and I guess I have always had an interest in healthcare, probably because my mum works in the field.
What do you love about your role?
I love the feeling you get when you know you’ve made an impact on a patients’ life and they truly appreciate your skills and company while they are with you. It’s a good feeling when we detect disease processes early and the patient can receive treatment with a positive outcome.
In your current role, what has been your biggest achievement?
I have only been qualified for two years but in that time I have been lucky enough to become very multi-skilled. I am trained in several modalities within radiology including gaining additional qualifications (Dip proficiency in mammography and Masters in CT). Last year I was asked by the University of South Australia to present at the South Australian chapter of the Australian Institute of Radiography weekend seminar in the Barossa Valley in front of a number of peers and distinguished guests which was a real buzz. I’ve also just recently presented at a seminar for the Chiropractic Association of Australia SA branch.
Over your career, what has been your ‘love this’ moment?
Every day I have the ‘I love this’ moment because I can literally see inside people!
What would be the least favourite aspect of your role?
Performing x-rays on feet and barium enemas!
Any advice for anyone aspiring to work in the medical industry?
Four plus years at university can be pretty tough, but the main thing is to stick at it!
The advice I was told early when I felt overwhelmed was ‘fake it till you make it’, and I have to say that this motto has helped me a lot in my line of work. Often you can see people at their worst, fearful and uncertain about their health and this can project as pretty poor behavior. A simple smile, some confidence or some reassuring words even when you feel out of your depth can go a long way to improving someone’s day or state of mind and will definitely get you through those tough times.