Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Having seen some of my own family members go through treatment and live with cancer, I knew that a job in Radiation Oncology was what I wanted to do. I wanted to try and make a difference and help those who are going through such a difficult time in their life. Every day when you come into work you know you’re going to make a difference in a person’s life, whether it be helping cure a patient from their disease or helping relieve symptoms caused by their disease such as pain. There’s also a good daily balance from the technical side of things to that of patient care and no day is the same as the next.
I discovered Radiation Oncology through an article in the careers part of a newspaper while I was in year 10. I read the article and did some further research about the career. Having liked what I read, I undertook a week of work experience during year 11 with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre within their Radiation Therapy Department (where I currently work). From then, I knew this career as a radiation therapist was for me.
I spoke to my careers adviser at high school who informed me of what subjects I needed to undertake during years 11 and 12 including physics and maths methods, chemistry, English and specialist maths and I was lucky enough to also study year 12 psychology while in year 11. I was accepted into the undergraduate course at RMIT in the Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Radiations- Radiation Therapy). The course was 3 years full time and on completion of this, I completed a 48 week paid professional development year (Intern Year) which I undertook at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. During this intern year I was given the opportunity to undertake my own research project to help out the centre I was working at. I’m currently still employed with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and work at the Sunshine Hospital Radiation Therapy Centre.
I recommend a career in Radiation Oncology as it’s a very rewarding career and enables you to work in a team as well as individually while also having patient contact on a daily basis. You get to work with some very high tech equipment and learn a number of different treatment techniques for all different patients. You will always use the skills that you learn from university in your daily working life. We are specialised in our field of work but we also act as councillors, educators and carers to our patients every day.
Skills that I use and help me in my career on a daily basis are good communication skills, having a caring nature but also having good problem solving abilities. Every patient is different and as a radiation therapist, it is also important to be able to make quick spontaneous decisions in different situations we are put in.
I think the biggest perk of my career is that I have the ability to work anywhere in Australia as well as the world. Knowing that I can take my education with me and move interstate or overseas and know I’d be able to find work in my profession is amazing.