Real-life story - Kelly Meaden
Kelly was keen to apply her knowledge to practise so she began volunteering in a mobile x-ray unit whilst completing her degree.
How I got into the role
I am currently studying the final year of my degree in diagnostic radiography, which combines study with placements so I can gain experience, and apply my knowledge to practise. Alongside this I also volunteer with a programme known as Find and Treat where a mobile x-ray unit circulates around areas of London diagnosing tuberculosis in the hard to reach.
I first heard about the mobile x-ray unit in 2013 during a lecture on the Pathway programme, which gives healthcare assistance to the homeless. In 2014 I decided to become a volunteer with the Find and Treat mobile x-ray unit, which x-rays those most vulnerable to tuberculosis (TB), working closely with homeless and substance misusers. The role helps me understand more about TB, homelessness and communities with high drug and alcohol use – situations that I would not normally face when working in a hospital environment.
What I do
On a typical day volunteering my main role is helping facilitate with workload by communicating with the service users and getting them ready for their chest x-rays, positioning them correctly so we can capture the best x-ray image, and taking the x-ray under supervision of the reporting radiographer. Working as a volunteer for Find and Treat has helped me gain an understanding of the difficulties faced when working with challenging service users such as the homeless.
The best bits and challenges
I love the challenges that volunteering brings; I feel as though I am gaining knowledge and experience every time I visit the mobile x-ray unit. As a student I have found that volunteering has taught me to treat everyone with respect, regardless of their background, experience that I plan to take with me when I work in a hospital environment in future.