Coffee Break with Radiographer Jordan Sproule8th November 2022
Today marks World Radiographer Day – and to celebrate – Belfast Trust Radiographer Jordan Sproule tells us what it is like to work in his world.
What do you do and why do you do it?
My name is Jordan Sproule and I’m a diagnostic radiographer based in the Royal Victoria Hospital. I’ve worked here for over three years now. I’ve recently obtained a PGCert in Education for healthcare professionals, which I utilise when training new staff and working alongside radiography students. I have always known that I wanted to work in healthcare, and I find radiography is the perfect balance for me between patient contact and cutting edge technology. Helping patients makes me happy which in my opinion, is the most important element of any job.
How do patients benefit from what you do?
TV shows and dramas about hospitals and healthcare tend to only show doctors and nurses as main characters, while radiographers rarely feature. In reality, 95% of patients who pass through a hospital will cross paths with a radiographer, and will benefit from the images that the radiographer produces. Therefore I think it’s important to appreciate our role. Undergoing medical imaging can often be a very emotional and worrying time for patients. As healthcare professionals we have a duty of care and responsibility to show patients compassion and try our best to relieve any stress they may have.
Radiographers do not just help diagnose illnesses but they can work closely with medical teams to interpret images and formulate treatment plans using X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, CT, Nuclear Medicine and interventional radiology.
Tell us about a typical day at work?
I specialise in X-ray and MRI, I scan a variety of inpatients, outpatients and emergency patients. No two days are the same, you can have your whole day planned out when an emergency stroke patient or spinal patient comes in and suddenly you have to readjust the rest of the day. What I like about MRI is the combination of patient contact and working with highly technical equipment to produce diagnostic images. I feel you can’t mention MRI without mentioning the importance of MRI safety. There is a great deal of responsibility as an MRI radiographer to ensure you keep patients, service users and staff safe at all times. This involves researching medical devices such as cardiac pacemakers in order to determine their compatibility for MRI.
There are usually are a few laughs in there.. oh and a few cups of tea!
If one of your staff or students was sitting with you right now what is the best piece of advice you could give them?
I would advise that from an early stage, you must realise and appreciate that you will constantly be learning throughout your career, most likely until you cease working as a radiographer. When working with patients and people in general there is always something to learn, people never fail to surprise me. Radiography is a profession where there are many opportunities for career progression, through modalities, managing, teaching, sales or applications. Continuous professional development is essential in health care; everyday can teach us something different. Experience cannot be underestimated and it is something that you can’t rush or buy, it simply comes with time. That being said, your action or inaction on a daily basis will reflect the kind of radiographer you will be in the future. So keep working and keep experiencing, it is the accumulation of experiences that make us good radiographers.
I also believe it’s extremely important to develop a good rapport with our colleagues, working in healthcare can sometimes be a very stressful yet rewarding environment, and your colleagues are the ones who will understand the challenges of the job the best. Furthermore, it is key that you find enjoyment and laughs where you can.
Tell us about the satisfaction you get from your job?
In MRI in particular, I enjoy the high pressure environment and the feeling of making a difference. In some cases scans are halted to accommodate an emergency stroke and clot busting medication is often administered within the MRI department. There is great satisfaction in performing a scan that is highly anticipated in order to treat someone in a time sensitive nature. I enjoy working within a multidisciplinary team and being not only a respected member, but an integral part of that team. I take great interest in the vast amount of pathologies we come across. I enjoy being part of the patient journey from diagnosis through treatment and in a lot of cases seeing the outcome, I also love that MRI is an evolving modality and we are discovering new ways to use it in the Belfast Trust all the time.
Tell us a little about your life outside of work?
I enjoy playing football for my local team, giving me the opportunity to enhance my social skills whilst relieving stress and staying fit and healthy. Following COVID, I tend to spend my annual leave travelling. This year I have been to Portugal, London, Paris and I look forward to going to NYC at the end of the year. Although it’s important to rest when we get time off, I feel that seeing different countries and experiencing different cultures is invaluable, especially while I’m young. One of my favourite past times is going out for dinner and trying new foods with friends and family.