Radiography Graduate to Present at ESTRO 2024 Congress | AECC University College

Radiography Graduate to Present at ESTRO 2024 Congress

Back Alumni - - 4 minute read.
Rebecca Spence at University College Hospital

“The BSc (Hons) Radiography (Radiotherapy and Oncology) course has helped me get my dissertation presented at ESTRO 2024 Congress and get the job I wanted.”

Rebecca Spence enrolled in the BSc (Hons) Radiography (Radiotherapy and Oncology) course in 2020 when it was first introduced at AECC University College and graduated in 2023. It has helped her to get an abstract from her research dissertation being accepted at the ESTRO 2024 (The European Society of Radiotherapy and Oncology) Congress and helped her to get the job she wanted at UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust). Rebecca tells the story in her own words…

Choosing the Course

“When I undertook school work experience, I really enjoyed all the aspects of radiotherapy. I’ve always been strong on patient care and feel as though in radiotherapy you get a lot of patient engagement throughout their journey with cancer treatment.

“AECC UC is a brilliant university to do this course. As it’s a relatively small university, the student-centred learning is so supportive. There is also a lot of equipment to allow you to learn, such as their own X-ray unit to practice as well as virtual simulation.”

Choosing AECC UC

“I chose AECC UC as their sole focus on health sciences really stood out. Before joining the course, I also spoke with two of the radiography course lecturers, Dr Andrew Williams and Shelley Blane; their enthusiasm for the new course really pulled me in. Bournemouth is also a lovely place to study, right beside the sea. I grew up beside the beach in Ireland, so it was like a bit of home for me. The university itself is so lovely with a great vibe, and the people are so inspiring and helpful.”

During the Course

“The nation was going through the global pandemic during my study years at AECC UC. However, we were still able to safely take part in face-to-face lectures and lab work. We also got to experience work placements during COVID times, which has really helped me to build resilience, and made me a better radiographer because of it.”

Choosing a Career Path

“After I joined the course, I really fell in love with radiotherapy and knew this was something I wanted to do in the future. This course has helped me to get the job I wanted. There is so much out there in the world of oncology and cancer care, and I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t join AECC UC.”

Getting the Research Dissertation Published

“I wrote my dissertation on the awareness of risk factors around cancer amongst university students. I wanted to raise awareness so that young people don’t engage in these risky behaviours, with the hope that more research is done on this topic in the future.

“I have been a keen follower of the research posted by ESTRO since I started my course. After speaking with a fellow member of staff at UCLH and a conversation with Dr Andrew Williams, my dissertation advisor at AECC UC, I decided to submit my dissertation to ESTRO (after I had narrowed it down from 10,000 to 500 words!). I was shocked when it was accepted, as I don’t know of any other students that have submitted research to ESTRO. My submission will be displayed at the congress within the research section. It has really inspired me to keep pursuing my interests and research.”

What Next?

“I am currently working at UCLH as a Therapeutic Radiographer in Proton Beam Therapy. There are currently only two proton beam centres in the UK. Since having the dissertation sample accepted, it has made me look for more opportunities to get involved with at work, such as research trials or papers. I will shortly be moving into the radiotherapy department. Following on from this, I would really like to go down the research radiographer route. There are so many things I haven’t experienced yet, but in the meantime, I’m still getting my bearings.”

Rebecca’s Advice for Graduating AECC UC Students

“Don’t hold back just because you have just qualified. Put yourself out there for new learning opportunities and apply for any job that comes your way – take chances!”

Comment from Dr Andrew Williams, who was a Senior Lecturer in Radiography at AECC UC (now retired), and Rebecca’s Research Supervisor:

“Research in Radiotherapy can range from the relatively straightforward tasks of asking our patients about their experience or checking how closely a particular part of the planning or treatment pathway follows published guidelines or recommendations, to the more complex theme of informing the next big development in technology.”

“In Rebecca’s case, the important thing is that any student or qualified Radiographer at any level can get involved. Rebecca’s success in having her dissertation findings selected for presentation at the prestigious ESTRO Congress is proof of that and the Radiotherapy team at AECC UC are extremely proud of her achievements.”

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