Real-life story - Dr Diane Crawford

Diane Crawford wanted to be a physics teacher but when her friend told her about the time she spent in a hospital’s medical physics department, she changed her mind. 

Dr Diane Crawford Director of medical physics and bioengineering
Employer or university University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
Salary range Over £65K

What I do

I am a director of medical physics and bioengineering for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, one of the very few women in the country to hold such a post. A colleague and I helped pioneer the use of ultrasound for fetal-heart scanning. The ultrasonic scanning was able to pick up malformations in the heart at about 16-18 weeks. We were able to develop clinical experience relatively quickly, despite most of the conditions they were seeing being rare, because more and more patients were referred to them. Today the techniques we pioneered are used throughout the world.

My perspective

The one thing that I had not yet done in my career was manage a large science department. It was what I wanted to do 15 years ago when I took my MBA and now I’ve achieved it.

How I got in

I did a research fellowship undertaking work imaging the placenta using ultrasound. I then moved to London to Guy’s Hospital, where I became involved in one of the most exciting ultrasound developments of the 1980s.

How my career has developed

I went on to work at the Institute of Cancer Research, where I worked for a number of years developing ways to make ultrasound images ‘less snowy’. This is important because ultrasound can sometimes be difficult to interpret. Whilst I enjoyed the intellectual challenge of the work, I missed the contact with patients and when, in a major reorganisation I was made redundant, I not only opted to relocate to Cardiff but invested my redundancy money in getting an MBA.

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