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A picture of Sean Downey

What year did you graduate?


What is your current role?

I am currently working in Saudi Arabia as a Radiation Therapist.


How did you get into your current role?

After graduating I worked in the NHS as a Senior Radiographer in the Queen Elizabeth hospital Birmingham. A job became available in the Middle East and I jumped at the opportunity to work as a Therapeutic Radiographer and gain knowledge and life experience from a different part of the world.

Can you describe a typical day?

No day is typical, that’s the thing I enjoy about my job. Because my patients are all at different stages of their treatment I treat them completely differently. For me the main part of my job is to ensure that my patients are at the heart of everything I do. Communication is key but now even with a language barrier between me and my patients, a smile goes a long way. I access my patients daily before, after and during treatment. The technology is constantly changing with new improvements in imaging and treatment. I work within a team of usually four radiographers, where there to support and help each other throughout the day.

What do you enjoy about your role?

Patient contact. I’m working at a job that allows me to build a rapport with patients throughout the course of what may be the hardest time of them and their family’s lives. I will see some patients for over 7 weeks. During that time, you learn so much about them. At the end of their treatment you may be delighted for them that it is over, but sad that you might not see them again. It’s always nice when they come back and ask to see you after their follow up. That makes you feel like you’ve made a difference in this person’s journey.

What do you find challenging in your current role?

You need complete concentration in my role. Biology and Physics play a huge part in my job. We take and assess images daily to ensure we are providing the best standard of care we can. With patient numbers constantly growing due to an ageing population and staff numbers not growing with the demand, you sometimes can feel like you’re unable to spend as much time with your patient as you would like to, in order to give them the standard of care you wish you could give them.

What advice would you give to a current BMS student at St George’s who is keen to get in to a similar area of work as you?

Radiotherapy isn’t an easy job, so make sure this is a job you really want to do. It’s demanding and stressful but is really rewarding. Spending time within a department is vital so you can see what the job entails. I would seriously advise you to study at St George’s. As a student you will be trained in some of the leading radiotherapy centres in the UK. The support I received from my lecturer was above and beyond. Even after my degree they were there to answer any questions and provide me with help.

Which aspects of your degree are relevant for your current role?

All aspects of my degree were relevant to my current role. I believe my time at St George’s
give me an excellent start to my career.

What would you say were the best / most challenging things about your degree?

When I was studying at St George’s, your time on the course was split between 50% at University and 50% in clinical placements (within the hospital). This was an excellent way to
learn however it was very demanding.

If you could go back to your time at St George’s, would you do anything differently?

I could safely say there is nothing I would change about my time at University. It was hard
work but completely worth it.

Do you have any advice or a message for current students at St George’s?

Keep at it - it’ll be worth it in the end!

Do you have any advice or a message for students considering studying at St George’s?

St George’s is a fantastic university with amazing facilities. I strongly encourage you to pick this university. I had the perfect combination of fun and education.


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