Hope works at Imperial’s Clinical Imaging Facility (CIF), which provides support for interdisciplinary research activities across the College, integrating physical, biological and medical sciences.
“My work focuses on coordinating PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography). This technique uses a small amount of a radioactive drug to visualise functional processes in the body. Pet scans can be used to diagnose a health condition as well as finding out how an existing condition is developing. Safety and preparation are paramount. I first perform Quality Assurance (QA) to ensure that the machine is performing optimally and prepare the clinical consumables (syringes etc), and the dosimeter which keeps a check on the radiation levels at all times. I’ll then take delivery of the radioactive tracer from a courier, measure it and inform the Radiation Protection Officer. I’ll then greet the volunteers and support the clinician. Once everything is prepared we make the patient comfortable on the scanner and explain to them what will happen during the scan. I prepare the amount of tracer to be injected, connect the arterial and venous lines – the arterial being used for blood sampling and the venous for the tracer. The scan is started and the tracer injected and we take the blood samples throughout the scan. Afterwards, the volunteer is given some refreshment and notes about the radiation and how to care for the arterial site.
“I like the work as it is varied and we meet new people every day and generally have time to have a chat. It is a pleasant department and the people I work with are great.”