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Kate Sexton – Healthcare Scientist

Healthcare Science

Kate Sexton, 31, is working towards becoming a state-registered Healthcare Scientist through the Scottish Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering Training Scheme.

She studied Theoretical Physics at Glasgow University and has completed a Masters in Medical Physics as part of her training. She specialises in Radiation Protection and travels all over the west of Scotland to look at equipment in hospitals to make sure staff and patients are safe when using it.

“I help a range of hospitals all over the west of Scotland with my work. After I studied physics, I got a placement working in radiotherapy treatment planning. I loved it and I knew I wanted to pursue medical physics as a career. It’s a really important job and even though you’re behind the scenes, you’re helping so many people. My work in the NHS made me realise that physics is an important backbone to a lot of different factors in patient care; science certainly underpins the NHS.

“I then got accepted onto the training scheme that I am on now and I am specialising in radiation protection.

“I would encourage anyone going for a job in the NHS. You get trained in the job and they give you the confidence that you need to start in the industry. And there are so many assets to it.

“In my day-to-day I could be needed in any hospital in the west of Scotland, from Oban to Glasgow to the Borders, advising hospital staff on their equipment, making sure risks are as low as possible. It’s certainly rewarding, and it’s lovely seeing the staff, they are always so happy to see us.

“It’s a really sociable job and it’s great being able to help people get the best possible care they need, testing equipment and making sure it’s safe. I also enjoy working with patients and being in a position to be able to tell them what it is the machines are doing to help them.

“If you’re into science or like helping people, or both, then working in the health care profession is definitely worth pursuing.”

Kate’s advice to anyone considering working in healthcare

“Don’t be put off by assuming you don’t have enough experience. Put yourself out there, talk to NHS staff and hear about the many different roles there are in this field of work. If you’re interested, we are all happy to talk to you. And don’t worry about qualification first off; there are apprenticeships and training schemes that will ensure you’ll be well qualified working for the NHS.”

Kate shares how her healthcare science role plays a vital part in effectively diagnosing patients’ conditions and keeping everyone safe.