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Dr Heather Williams
31 - 45
Broad Subject Area/s
Senior Medical Physicist - I make sure the equipment used for patient scans in our department is working properly and giving accurate results.
Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths
Education and route to your job
I did work experience in Medical Physics when I was 16 and was hooked. I did my A-levels and degree with it in mind, then professional training and a PhD (while I had the chance!) before finishing my training and become state registered and therefore fully qualified to practice independently.
Job route: typical, unusual, or a bit of both?
Bit of both
Day in the Life
I get in, check my e-mail, check my to-do list (normally full of experiments to do, reports to write, problems to get to the bottom of) and and make priorities for the day. These are often disrupted when something else happens that requires my urgent attention! I never get to the bottom of that list... but everything I do helps patients, so it is worth it.
6 - Nicely happy
Life outside work
I have two pre-school age boys so work 3 days a week so I can spend more time with them. When I'm not looking after them (or cleaning up after them) I like crashing on the sofa in front of a good film, playing the cello or going out for a run. I'm also a committed Christian and so is my husband, so we're quite involved in church.
My Mum trained as a physiotherapist but injured her back, she then took time off to look after us kids. She ended up working as a Medical Secretary and has just retired, she now volunteers at the local hospice. My Dad started a degree in Pharmacy but didn't manage to finish it, he ended up working as a Packaging Engineer. He has also recently retired and now mixes consultancy work with being a prison chaplain. My younger brother has a degree in PE and Management and is a church youth worker. They all still live close to where I grew up, in Hull.
What attracted you to your career?
Being able to apply the science I love to make a difference to people, I like that what I do today will benefit the patients currently sitting in our waiting room.
16K - 20K
71K - 80K
Central Manchester University Hospitals (part of the NHS)
Employer career page
Does your employer support staff with further training or education?
Do you volunteer your Time?
Yes - church and STEM related activities
What type of scientist are you?
Find out about medical innovations, take an interest in what is coming up - just seeing what is being promoted at the big radiology conferences in the US will give you an idea. Read up on how they work. Work hard at your GCSEs, take science A levels and push for the best grades, get a place on a Physics course at a university with a good reputation for such courses, and try and get yourself some work experience in local hospitals before applying for the training scheme afterwards.