Moved by the care that her grandparents received, Ismat Khan was inspired to choose a career and qualification in the NHS.

Ismat, an NHS Diagnostic Radiographer, always knew she wanted to get into healthcare but thought that the NHS was only about becoming a doctor or nurse.

The sharp and savvy 21-year-old, graduated from the University of Cumbria in July 2021. She changed career paths as she explored other options through a future career programme and open days. Only then did she understand the whole variety of healthcare professionals in the NHS.

Ismat embraced opportunities to help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from the very beginnings of the unprecedented times. “The course exceeded my expectations!” she says, excitedly.

“It provided me with many placements, even during Covid. It gave me the unique opportunity to develop myself as a person and a professional.

“I was also among 40,000 student healthcare workers, including nurses, midwives and paramedics, who returned to placements to help on the frontline. In my final year, under a protective environment during Covid, we had lots of opportunities on the front line, and pushed to be independent too.

The NHS Diagnostic Radiographer course gave Ismat a few surprises. “I found it shocking that a large majority of patients who come into hospital require a scan at least once through their treatment,” she says.

“I don’t think that the population realises who we are, which is ironic as medically imaging sits at the forefront of modern medicine.

“My other surprise was getting on placement so early on in our first year, getting hands-on experience and understanding the role of a radiographer straight away. That helped me to decide very quickly if this profession was right for me.

“This role is different every day.

“We get to be part of a whole range of departments across the hospital and there are several options to specialise and progress. Every day is different. I meet a whole range of people from the elderly to children.

“A hand or chest x-ray may be the same task, but it needs to be handled uniquely patient to patient. There are such different people, with different circumstances and behaviour on the day. Some may be anxious, or just wanting to chat.”

Most people don’t know what a radiographer does.

“Radiographers, I think, are unique!” Ismat enthuses.

“They can have so much emotional interaction. Especially with children! Sometimes they are so scared of equipment, and we need to make sure our approach is appropriate so they’re relaxed and gain a good report in a short space of time. Each day, each patient is different. You never know who will come through the door!

“Meeting new people, for sure, is the most rewarding thing. It’s a cliché but patients, at the end of the day, make working in the NHS rewarding.

“I had never realised that there were so many opportunities for progression in my role. For example, leadership. I never realised when I entered into this profession that I could get into teaching and mentoring, which I love, having had great teachers and mentors that I now look up to too, as role models.

If you’re interested in a career with the NHS, search ‘NHS Careers’ to find out more.