Senior Charge Radiographers Debbie Cragg and Rebecca McKenzie say patients come for imaging for many reasons, but often it is in the hope of getting a diagnosis.
Each patient has their own story, whether it’s a chest infection, a broken bone or something more serious.
That means radiographers can be the first to see bad news.
“It’s really hard when we see that someone’s got cancer, or that their treatment isn’t working,” says Rebecca. “It can be hard to keep a smile on your face.”
But there’s also plenty to love about their jobs – the contact with patients, the opportunity to learn new technologies, the variety – and of course, their team.
“We have a great team here,” says Debbie. “Our staff are incredible. We run a 24/7 service and they just get on and do a fantastic job. We’re like a family.”
With insights gleaned from their personal experiences, the pair do their best to make the patient journey as easy as possible.
“My husband had a heart attack and a stroke, and it gave me a different perspective,” says Debbie. “Communication with patients is so important.”
Rebecca adds radiographers only get a few minutes to build rapport with someone prior to a procedure, but it’s vital to ensure the patient knows what’s happening and why.
“Every day we have a patient asking us why they’re having a scan. Our time with them gives us an opportunity to reassure them and explain what is happening.”
Technologies such as a new scheduling system are already streamlining the patient experience, which will be further improved by our digital transformation.
“We’re already transitioning to different ways of working in anticipation of moving to our new facilities,” says Rebecca.
The pair are both members of the Radiology Facilities in Transformation (FiT) Group, ensuring that the New Dunedin Hospital meets the needs of patients and staff.
“It’s time-consuming,” says Debbie, who leads the group. “But I’m keen to get the resources that our patients deserve. Radiology impacts all the other services, so there have been competing demands to navigate. We’re grateful to be involved, and the team in the Project Management Office really do take on board what we say.”
The new hospital will contain additional medical imaging equipment, enabling the team to reduce waiting times and provide more services to the people in our region.
“It’ll be life-changing for patients,” Rebecca says. “And it will be exciting to be somewhere new. Every year our patient surveys say that our staff are lovely but the waiting rooms are terrible! I’m looking forward to having a space that our patients feel comfortable in.”
The pair agree that when it comes to the New Dunedin Hospital and their involvement in the FiT Group, the SDHB value they’re demonstrating is community.
“We’re doing this for the community,” says Debbie. “That’s the sole purpose.”
Photo: Rebecca McKenzie (L) and Debbie Cragg (R)