Out of Focus - the diary of a student radiographer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

And now, the end is near...

Phew! That's it - all over for my first year at uni (although I officially don't finish the first year until Friday). All my essays and the portfolio are in, yesterday I had an exam and today I had a 10 minute presentation "The role of digital imaging in imaging the lumbar spine" to give. I was up third which wasn't too bad - I then had to sit through six more presentations, luckily not all on the same topic.

To amuse myself whilst the rest of the presentations were going on, I got Tom Baker to talk to Adam, which apparently made him jump (Adam, not Tom Baker).

I'm off now to pack my case as we're off to Dorsetland for the rest of the week - yay!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

PACS of fun

The radiology dept is having a fun time at the moment. We are having a new computer system called PACS installed which means eventually we will stop printing x-ray images into film. We area already taking digital images (known as computed radiography or CR) but PACS enables the images to be stored and viewed on terminals with special high-resolution monitors all over the hospital, and in time, other hospital and GPs surgeries.

Like all new IT systems, this one is suffering from its fair share of teething troubles. The PACS system is having to cope with input from lots of different equipment from different manufacturers. Random images from one of the fluoroscopy rooms have been disappearing into the ether, never to be seen again. The superintendent (radiographer in charge) has been ranting about how useless PACS is to any person who will listen, and several who won't.

Don't you just love technology? I'm just glad my current placement is finished and hopefully they will hit it with a big stick and get it sorted before I go back in two weeks time.

A footnote: when I found the NHS website about PACS that I linked to above, I took a look at the page about the benefits of PACS to radiographers. The list consists of benefits of a CR system, not PACS, which (as the name says) is purely an archiving and communication system. The only benefit of PACS to radiographers is not having to print films. Granted, many hospitals are getting CR and PACS at the same time, but I wish the people who write these things would check their facts with the people who know.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I witnessed my second ever crash call yesterday. I had seen one in the first few months of my HCA job, this was the first since I became a student.

An elderly gentleman was getting up off the table after a barium enema and passed out. The call was made and within minutes about 20 doctors appeared from various directions. When something like this happens, you learn very quickly where various emergency supplies are kept in the department.

It's a pity I had to leave while it was still going on as I had to catch the intersite bus for a meeting with my mentor. By the time I left the docs were giving him IV fluids and monitoring his blood pressure and everyone seemed a lot calmer so I guess they got him stablised. The first thing I did when I got in this morning was ask after him - he was sent down to A&E and apparently was suffering from vasovagal syncope, nothing serious fortunately.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It would all be so much better if it wasn't for the patients and the doctors...

This week has been an odd one so far.

1. I came face-to-face with an elderly gentleman in the changing cubicles who had put his hospital gown on the wrong way round, it was gaping open and he had no underwear on. Oh, my eyes.

2. An SHO came into the department requesting a portable barium swallow. OK, only a radiographer would understand that.

3. In the endoscopy theatre, a sedated patient spent most of the procedure letting out botty burps of amazing loudness and duration. And everyone in the theatre but me kept a straight face.