We both began our nuclear medicine careers as trainee clinical technologists in medical physics at University Hospital of Hartlepool in 2017. Having previously graduated with science degrees; Cherelle in Sport & Exercise Science and Nicholas in Physiological Science, we were both looking to engage in a specialist scientific field. To gain qualification as clinical technologists we underwent in-house practical skills training, completed a post-graduate diploma in nuclear medicine and completed the IPEM training scheme.
The post-graduate diploma involved attending University of Salford for lectures to provide theoretical knowledge of nuclear medicine to fulfil the educational requirements. Here, we completed assignments, exams and a nerve-wracking OSCE! Alongside this we completed the IPEM practitioner training programme which involved creating a portfolio of evidence to fulfil the required competencies of our job role. We also had practical skills observations by our training supervisor and visits from our external moderator to observe and assess our competency as clinical technologists. Our last assessment for the IPEM scheme was a viva whereby we were interviewed by external moderators to test our knowledge – they asked around 100 questions!
We both feel that the most challenging aspect of our training was balancing the workload between the university course and IPEM portfolio, also alongside a full-time job with a lot to learn! Sometimes we found ourselves spending 12 hours a day in the department to complete a 7.5 hour shift followed by an evening of university assignments in the departments dedicated study room. Despite the stresses of the training scheme and sometimes nerve-wracking assessments; we both had successes along the way. Nicholas achieved his highest university grade in an exam on the scientific principles of hybrid imaging, which was a challenging module since we were the only students on the course to not have a hybrid camera in our department (at that time!). Additionally, Cherelle was awarded the Professor Richard Lawson Award for achieving the highest overall mark for the university course. Fortunately, we were both successful in passing the post-graduate diploma and IPEM training scheme and have gained entry on to the Register of Clinical Technologists. We have now been let loose as fully fledged qualified clinical technologists in the department at Hartlepool! We are now able to pass on our experience to a new trainee clinical technologist in the department as she begins her journey along the training scheme!