December 10, 2021, by Dr. Meghan Gray

Careers in Medical Physics

Guest post by Dr. Karen Mullinger, who recently set up a webpage showcasing careers in medical physics.   

In my opinion Medical Physics is fascinating because of the real world difference it can make and the Medical Physics related careers that are possible: from the NHS, to industry, to academia. During the pandemic I realised through the endless video conference calling that there was an opportunity to create some engaging material to showcase Medical Physics. The idea was to benefit people at all stages of their study/career paths from starting to think about coming to university to trying to decide what to do after their undergraduate/post-graduate degrees.

As we know NHS staff are extremely stretched and unlikely to be able to travel to Nottingham to give talks (plus this limits who can benefit from the talk). However, many people are happy to take 10-15 mins out of their day to benefit others. Therefore light-bulb moment: I could record interviews with NHS staff at a time of day that suited them and they could be where-ever they needed to be providing they could access a computer and the internet! I could then give people an insight into the role of Medical Physics in the NHS.

I chose to target two groups with very different but highly linked roles in the NHS for these videos. I contacted clinical doctors benefiting from the equipment we learn about during the first year course (e.g. ultrasound, MRI, PET, EEG). I interviewed them as to the benefits the underlying medical physics brings to patients. I also contacted University of Nottingham Alumni who have gone on to work in Medical Physics related disciplines as NHS Clinical Scientists. I interviewed them about their routes into the NHS and what their jobs now entail so people could learn more about these career paths. Through this process I actually learnt plenty myself and found it fascinating.

The interviews with the Clinical Scientists (University of Nottingham Alumni) are available on a specific Medical Physics Moodle Page for all the University of Nottingham undergraduates to access in full. We (by which I mean PhD student Molly Rea) have also created “case study” videos which are available on this webpage with edited highlights to emphasize different peoples’ paths into various branches related to medical physics such as radiotherapy, neurophysiology or MRI support. This webpage complements linked pages we have created to give a better understanding of what medical physics is and studying it at Nottingham.

I am already using the interviews with clinical doctors in my teaching in Frontiers in Physics Module. Molly will also be editing these videos so all can see some of the amazing outcomes of the from the use of techniques which originate from medical physics, so watch this space for those!

Finally, I’d just like to thank everyone who agreed to be interviewed by me and the time they gave up to do the videos. I’d also like to thank Molly for editing the interviews and to pull out some of the highlights for everyone to benefit from.

Posted in CareersNewsTeaching