"Are you going to be a radio DJ (disc jockey)?" I get that a lot when I tell people my course of study. I don't blame them! Even my closest friends were initially unsure of what the job of a diagnostic radiographer entailed. Now that I am on my way to becoming one, they are more knowledgeable about the job and even find it meaningful.
Another question I am often asked is: Why diagnostic radiography? I am sure this is something that other allied health professionals get too, since our disciplines are rather niche and unheard of. For me, I chose to be a diagnostic radiographer because I have always been intrigued by the vast amount of information that can be solicited from just one image. In fact, technological breakthroughs have made imaging so sophisticated that it now plays a critical role in early treatment of diseases.
That said, diagnostic radiography is not just about pressing buttons. It is also not only about taking X-ray images. There are different specialisations – fluoroscopy, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans as well as ultrasonography (ultrasound). Here is an interesting fact: Do you know that ultrasound and MRI scans are imaging techniques that do not emit radiation? There is also a belief that diagnostic radiographers are constantly exposed to harmful radiation rays. Little do people know that we are actually well-protected from these rays while on the job!
Before accepting my scholarship, I was at crossroads like many of my peers. I feared for my academic performance; what if I could not meet the expectations of being a scholar? However, I convinced myself that such an opportunity may only come knocking once. Furthermore, I always had an interest in pursuing a healthcare career. With these thoughts in mind, I said yes to the scholarship and have since been on one of the most enriching journeys of my life – ever. The scholarship does not only provide me with the financial abilities to pursue my passion; it has opened up numerous opportunities for learning and growing.
A brief encounter with a patient has always been etched in my mind. She is an elderly lady who had just finished her imaging procedure. I noticed she had difficulties bending down after I transferred her to the wheelchair. As a result, she could not put on her shoes. I instinctively gave her a helping hand and she thanked me profusely. She even threw in some words of praises! To me, it was just a simple act of helping others but she must have seen it differently.
This incident taught me that in healthcare, it is not only about our skills; our attitude matters far more than what textbooks can ever teach us. I have learnt that change begins from the simplest gestures.
I am Ang Xu Kai, a third-year diagnostic radiography student from the Singapore Institute of Technology. I aspire to impart my knowledge to future generations of diagnostic radiographers. To have that chance to teach and influence others would be the greatest honour I could ever receive; because if I don't care, who would?
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