We love hearing experiences from a range of locums, and this time, we are talking to Lucy, a Therapeutic Radiographer, originally from Australia but now living in the UK, working as a locum! Lucy discusses her experience moving over to the UK and shares her advice for Radiographers back home who are also thinking of coming over to work. Read Lucy's story below.
Tell us how you started in Radiography?
After completing my Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree I wanted to do further study to specialise. I was looking for a profession that was very science focused but also included patient interaction. That led me to study Master of Radiation Therapy, and I qualified as a Radiation Therapist in Australia in 2017. I then started working at one of the hospitals where I trained as a student. I thoroughly enjoyed my job however after working in the same department for a number of years, I was looking for a change and a challenge, which led me to becoming a locum radiographer in the UK.
Why did you decide to come over to the UK for locum work?
I was looking for a change from my day to day life. Not many careers allow you to work in different countries, so I saw taking the chance to work and live in the UK as a huge opportunity! Not only did I view this as an exciting change but also as a way of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. It became a personal and professional challenge for me to tackle.
I thought I could grow personally through building perspective, independence, confidence and resilience. In regards to my professional growth, I thought it was a chance to gain invaluable clinical experience, knowledge and to become a more adaptable radiographer.
Living in the UK was also appealing coming from Australia, due to how easy it is to travel (pre-pandemic!).
How have you enjoyed your time working here in the UK as a locum and what do you enjoy most?
I have enjoyed my time working in the UK, however the pandemic has brought about challenges. The aspect I have enjoyed most has been meeting new, friendly and like-minded people. At the different departments I have worked at so far, I have made many friendships which I hope to maintain. This includes meeting other Australian locums and local radiographers.
What are the main differences workwise between UK and Australia?
I think that work wise the UK and Australia are actually very similar. I see this as a huge advantage as it means you can adapt to the work fairly seamlessly. One minor difference includes the staffing structure of bands and the rules regarding what different bands can and cannot do.
How has your day-to-day role been impacted by COVID?
My role has been impacted in that I have had to handle situations and make clinical decisions that I have not been faced with before. Many ways in which we practice have had to be adjusted. Mask wearing has caused communication barriers between staff and patients.
It has also been difficult to see the patients going through cancer treatment during the pandemic and hearing about their struggles. Some have had to stop treatment, have treatment delays and lost their usual support systems.
There has also been a change in workload, from quiet periods (after delays of non-urgent treatments) to very busy periods (due to backlogs being cleared).
Any advice for Radiographers back home who are considering locuming in the UK?
Start preparing/applying for HCPC registration well in advance of when you plan to move (-6 months). As collating all the required documents and the application process can take some time.
The administration work that comes with moving countries can be a little overwhelming. Try making a list of things to sort out when you arrive so that everything is ready to be organised (eg. registering with a GP, NI number, bank card).
If you think locuming in the UK is something you would like to do, I would recommend it. Apart from having an exciting time, you will reap the benefits in terms of your professional and personal development. So it can be a challenge but worth it!
If you are thinking of coming over to the UK and just need some information regarding what the work situation looks like, we will be delighted to help. Cpl UK Health have a dedicated team of experts ready to assist with the process to help put your mind at ease, so if you've got any queries or concerns in regards to coming over to work in the UK, please get in touch with us by emailing [email protected].