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We are the NHS: A Day in the life of… a radiographer

Date: 25/08/2021 | Category: Blogs

Lynda Linbourne gives an insight into her background as a radiographer and her work as a Planned Care Commissioning Manager as part of the ‘We are the NHS’ recruitment campaign.

Lynda wanted to be a radiographer since she fractured her wrist at the age of 11. She had a passion for caring, science and technology, and wanted to provide the best care possible. She qualified as a radiographer in 2000 and began working at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust now known as Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Lynda was especially interested in computerised tomography (CT) scans (which uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body) and so pursued a range of opportunities to gain experience. After five years, Lynda became a CT Superintendent. In 2008, Lynda gained a post-graduate qualification in CT head reporting.

Lynda said: “I introduced a cardiac scanning service (a scan of your heart carried out using an X-ray) at the hospital which meant patients across Luton and central Bedfordshire no longer needed to travel to Harefield Hospital. The stroke team introduced the thrombolysis service, of which CT scanning was a vital component – all patients presenting with stroke symptoms would have a CT scan within an hour of presenting at the emergency department. I ensured all the staff in Radiology were aware and made a CT bed bay available for treatment.”

Lynda has managed a large team since being promoted to Modality manager in 2017. “There is no typical day as a radiographer,” she said. “There is a mix of planned, walk-ins, A&E and trauma patients. You may start off doing X-rays but before long you’ll be called out to help somewhere else.” In this varied role, this can include taking x-rays, theatre work, CT/MRI/Ultrasound and nuclear medicine scanning.

Lynda said: “People often don’t realise radiographers carry bleeps and get scrubbed up for theatre and interventional lists. They are involved in pacemaker insertions and a vital part of the trauma team.” Lynda finds working within radiology to be hugely rewarding and says there are many opportunities to develop:

“You will gain experience using cutting-edge and innovative technology. It can combine a range of different skills and areas, and even lead to careers in lecturing, engineering, and working with other parts of the NHS.”

“You must be adaptable and flexible and be able to meet a sudden change in demand. It is a highly skilled role and requires in-depth knowledge of human anatomy to be able to challenge or discuss with the wider team about suitable investigations or to answer patients’ questions.

“The most important part of the job is caring for people as 90 percent of patients will have some kind of imaging scans. You are helping with patient’s outcome – you make a real difference. You get patient on the pathway they need – without imaging and diagnostics, patients simply wouldn’t be able to get the treatment they need!”

In 2019, Lynda chose a new career path by joining NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). She explained: “The wider NHS had always been fascinating to me, and as I was turning 40 it was time to find a less physically demanding job.”

At the CCG, Lynda was initially in the Primary Care Team and is now in the Planned Care Team. She is looking at diagnostics across the area with the aim to implement recommendations from the NHS Long Term Plan and Sir Mike Richards Report.

“I feel that my professional registration, 19 years’ experience of face-to-face contact with patients, and understanding of the real issues her colleagues in hospitals face every day has really helped me in the CCG role. We are focused on always putting the patient first and at the centre of their care, and always trying to improve patient experience and pathways.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lynda explains it was all ‘hands-on-deck’ at the CCG: “I did everything from delivering toilet rolls to care homes, to working evenings and weekends to help former colleagues to staff the CT departments.” Lynda also trained as a vaccinator. Some of the work she took on continues today, to help get on top of waiting lists and to keep her registration up. “I still felt I could have done more,” said Lynda. “Like everyone, I faced difficult decisions about how much I was on the front line when I had children going into school and elderly relatives. You just want to help and answer your calling – that never leaves you.”

Search ‘NHS Careers’ or visit www.healthcareers.nhs.uk for more information and to find out more about radiography, commissioning, and other healthcare roles available within the NHS.