UWE Bristol students first to achieve clean sweep at radiography awards

Issue date: 13 November 2017

Laura Bonner and Amy Walkman

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) celebrated a unique double success at the Society of Radiographers' awards as students from the same institution won both prizes for the first time.

Recent UWE Bristol graduates Laura Bonner and Amy Walkman picked up the student awards in the diagnostic radiography and radiotherapy categories as the university made history at the 2017 ceremony.

They received their accolades from Suzanne Rastrick, NHS England's chief allied health professions officer, and Charlie McCaffrey, chief executive of awards sponsors Carestream, at the event in London.

Receiving the diagnostic award was Laura, who was praised by the society's president Gareth Thomas for being an inspirational role model, overcoming dyslexia and showing remarkable determination to qualify as a radiographer.

He said: “Laura was a highly popular student with patients, academic and clinical staff. She has a passion and gift for connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds. I'm sure she will be an asset to our profession.”

Laura said she was 'speechless' when she found out she had been nominated.

She said: “I found out on my graduation day. My tutor Janice St John-Matthews and module leader came over and said they had really exciting news. I was wondering what it was because I'd already graduated.

“They said they'd nominated me and I was really shocked. It didn't sink in for ages, I was speechless!”

Laura, who graduated with a 2.1 in Diagnostic Imaging, said of her course: “I've had a great student experience at UWE Bristol but also challenging one too. I was diagnosed with dyslexia late into my second year and unfortunately I failed one of my modules in second year which meant I could not graduate with my cohort. This made me more determined and motivated to pass academic modules and become a radiographer.”

Amy, who graduated with a first in Radiotherapy and Oncology, was named Radiotherapy Student Radiographer of the Year.

Gareth said: “Amy excelled in her clinical practice, with supervisors noting her proficiency and outstanding talent. She couples this with her empathetic approach to patients to make a formidable combination. The Christie, where Amy has recently started working, have gained a great radiographer.”

Amy said: “I was completely shocked to win, so much so that I had to ask my work colleague to check my phone to make sure that I wasn't making up what I was reading.

“The award means so much to me, as even to be considered for this is an honour is incredible. I genuinely feel really proud of myself to have made such amazing accomplishments while at university.”

Of her course, Amy said: “I really enjoyed it, there was a variety of teaching and assessment styles which were tailored to suit different learners' needs. The course covered a diverse range of topics, such as the communication module, which enabled me to develop a range of relevant skills and attributes, which are key to becoming a proficient radiographer.”

Janice St John-Matthews, Academic Director in UWE Bristol's Department of Allied Health Professions, said: “We would like to congratulate both Laura and Amy on this fantastic achievement. These learners represent the values of UWE Bristol and the diverse student body the University serves. We would like to extend a sincere thank you to the academic team, professional services and clinical partners who support all of our learners in their learning journey.”

UWE Bristol has a strong record at the annual awards, with six successes over the past eight years including a prize in the diagnostic imaging category in 2015.

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