Radiographer Kelly Humphries is going above and beyond to make sure patients have the best experience possible by studying a Nuclear Medicine Postgraduate Diploma. Ran by Salford University, Kelly’s place on the course has been funded with the help of donations to Leeds Hospitals Charity.

Nuclear medicine is a branch of radiology that uses radioactive substances to diagnose and treat disease. After being safely injected, inhaled or ingested, these substances make their way around the body and can help to identify any issues when looked at with a gamma camera.

“With the help of Leeds Hospitals Charity, I was able to start my Nuclear Medicine Post Graduate Diploma in September. It has been invaluable so far, giving me a greater understanding of the techniques I use every day. The most important thing is that that I’m able to help patients more with queries and explanations, putting people at ease when they come through the department.

“We see a lot of patients who are anxious about the scan they are having. You say the words ‘nuclear medicine’ to people and they tend not to have much of an idea of what that involves.

“The top remark from my patients is ‘you're not going to make me glow in the dark then?’ It’s said as a joke most of the time, but you can tell there is some anxiety behind it. The risks of radiation doses in modern medicine are minimal, and nuclear medicine doses are generally similar to or less than that from a CT scan.

“Nuclear medicine can also be associated with a cancer diagnosis, and while we do carry out a lot of cancer surveillance scans, there are plenty of scans carried out for other reasons. We get some patients thinking their doctor is investigating a possibility of cancer when in reality there is a different reason for their request.”

Each year, Leeds Hospitals Charity provides £5 million in additional funding for Leeds Teaching Hospitals, with staff education being one of the Charity’s funding priorities. Thanks to your support, over £5,000 was given to help to pay for Kelly’s course (75% of the total fees).

“The course has been great for helping talk patients through their scans, debunking these myths. When I've finished the course, I should be able to undertake more complex examinations to help doctors with their diagnosis.

 “I'd like to thank everyone who donates to Leeds Hospitals Charity so that people like me can support patients and colleagues to the best of my ability. This was a great opportunity.”