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A radiographer’s journey - from 1930 to present day

NHS 70 Bulletin banner v2

As the NHS turns 70 Sherwood Forest Hospitals has been delving into its archives to find pieces of history from days gone by to help celebrate this landmark year.Helen with Mildreds medals

One member of staff has even traced her family history back to find that she has followed in her Great Aunt’s footsteps in nursing and radiography.

Sherwood Forest Hospital, Senior Radiographer, Helen Cooper’s, Great Aunt, Mildred Falcon qualified as a nurse in 1930 having trained at the Liverpool Royal. Mildred then went on to train to be a Radiographer by going to night school two nights a week at Manchester Royal, which, as Helen points out was “quite a journey in those days”. Mildred qualified as a Radiographer in June 1939 and when World War Two broke out just months later she joined Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Corps, gaining her Africa Star and Italy Star medals, her Second World War medals and a medal for serving with Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Corps (all pictured with Helen).

After the war was over Mildred then when on to work at Wrightington Hospital where she met and worked with Dr John Charnley, who pioneered hip replacements. She then retired from full time work in 1960, but continued to work part-time in the chest clinic at Wigan Hospital until 1965.

Helen said: “Looking at her history is quite inspiring, she achieved so much, it certainly inspired me to get into radiography. I have been a Radiographer for 28 years and I have worked at Sherwood Forest Hospitals for 15 years, having started my career in the same hospital that my Great Aunt ended hers in.

“I really enjoy my job. I love the contact that we have with patients and meeting new people every day. Radiography has progressed so much over the years and it’s been great to be part of all the innovative changes. During my career we have gone from using wet processing films to everything being digitised, which has been a huge change. We have also seen the development of MRI and CT scanners, which has advanced the images that we can now get.”

Helen’s Great Aunt sadly passed away at the age of 96, but clearly provided her family with the inspiration to have a career in the NHS, as Helen’s grandmother was also a nurse.

Beth in her Imaging Assistant roleIn contrast, Bethany Rice, who started her journey as a Radiographer with Sherwood Forest Hospitals just over a year ago, brings us bang up to date with what attracted her to the career and how she has found her journey so far.

She said: “I have always had a strong interest in science, especially biology. I find the human body fascinating to learn about. I started learning more about the human body in BTEC sport lessons at secondary school, and further followed my studies to college where I completed a BTEC Sport and Exercise Science course. I’ve always wanted to help people and aspired to work in a caring setting, so I decided to look for a career involving human anatomy within the healthcare industry. After completing college, I decided apply for a job in a hospital to make sure that it was right for me. I started work as an Imaging Assistant within a radiology department, allowing me to get an inside look of how radiographers work.

“To become a radiographer it requires a 3 year degree course at university, consisting of clinical placement at hospitals and lectures at university. As a student, I had placements at two different hospitals over the three years, my first and third year were at Chesterfield Royal Hospital and my second year was at King’s Mill Hospital. Over the last year, I have completed a variety of shift patterns, which has enabled me to build my confidence and knowledge. I have rotated through CT and learnt how to perform a number of different scans, which I may need to complete during night shifts. It has been a really great experience so far and I am looking forward to progressing in my career.”