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My CUH Story - Nneka Smith

Nneka Smith is a diagnostic radiographer currently working as the allied health professional (AHP) practice education facilitator.

Link: https://youtu.be/y-bYe_4KkLg

A diagnostic radiographer is an Allied Health Professional (AHP) who takes X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasounds – these are all imaging techniques which help us to see the internal structures of the body and make an accurate diagnosis for our patients. Nneka takes the X-rays in inpatients, theatres, outpatients as well as dentals and other areas.

We asked Nneka what she likes about her role:

I like interacting with service users but also being able to geek out with the technology - seeing the x-rays and looking at them, deciphering them and working out how to adjust technique and practice. Things change all the time and that’s what I really enjoy.

Nneka came to CUH as a student in 2016. Prior to that she was a science teacher, also working in child protection and safeguarding. This involved visiting students on wards and collaborating with the safeguarding nurses at CUH, giving Nneka a real insight into the roles here. When she considered a change in career, Nneka looked to incorporate her past experiences with what she wanted to do in the future, so radiography was a really good way to incorporate all these things.

Talking about CUH, Nneka says:

"What I like about working at CUH is the diversity. There are so many different professionals and clinicians all working together, and we have admin staff who are amazing. I really enjoy learning every day; it’s a real learning environment."

We’ve got so many specialist surgeries here, along with treatments and clinical research, so there’s always something happening. It’s a real hub of growth, knowledge and activity, so that’s really interesting.

Nneka Smith in a green space

Nneka is passionate about inclusion. She comments:

“I’m involved in quite a few of the staff networks, including the Purple Network which is about disability and inclusion. I’m also part of the LGBT+ group, looking at wellbeing and incorporating LGBT+ rights and roles and responsibilities within what we do in CUH, and making sure we have allies, as well as supporting those members of staff who are part of these groups.

“I’m also part of the Black, Asian and ethnic minority group, making sure that everyone is represented and that we cater for everybody at CUH. This includes our service users who might come under some of these umbrellas and therefore might have worries or concerns about how they’re going to be treated when they visit. For them to see that there are allies really helps.”

Nneka concludes:

"The advice I’d give to anyone who’s thinking about working in health care is to make sure it’s something you really want to do. It’s a vocation, it’s about helping other people."

So if you have a passion for that, working in healthcare is definitely the way forward.

"There are many different routes - you start at A and you can end up at X, Y or Z. There are so many opportunities and it’s really rewarding."