Jessica Harris-Heyworth

Jessica is a Radiography Department Assistant and DEXA Practitioner for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Tell us about your role and the impact it has on those work with

My role as an RDA is essential to patient care. I am usually the first point of contact for the area of the department they have come to be imaged. More often than not, the patient will be nervous and be aware that we may be diagnosing, (or adding to the diagnosis of) cancer, tumours, aneurysm’s and other life changing conditions. I am knowledgeable in all areas of imaging here at Lymington and can offer insight as to how the appointment will take place, the who, what and when.  I am the person who gets the patient ready for the practitioner and identifies any wellbeing needs that may need bringing to the attention of others before, during and after the scan. 

I love working with people and patients. I like being face to face, making people smile and caring for them in their time of need.

How has training and development helped you in your role?

I came to my original role as an admin assistant. Using my initiative, I quickly identified where my skills were best utilised, (with people face to face helping them). My managers saw this too and thus began my training into a more clinical role. The more clinical skills I have picked up have led me to develop into other roles and my recent promotion, through interview, to DEXA Practitioner.

What are you most proud of in your role?

I am most proud of my new role as DEXA Practitioner. If you had told me when I started here in admin nine years ago that I would be running my own clinic list I would not have believed you. My confidence, even as a ‘mature’ student that I am, has been bolstered and supported by the department, enabling me to get to where I am today. Although I have often had to seek out opportunities myself, when I have it has been well supported.

What would you say to encourage others into a role as a support worker with AHPs?

This can be a very rewarding role. It will open your eyes to the meaning of real care for people, patients, and their families. It will push you to do the best. There will be moments of great satisfaction and there will be times when you feel like you cannot push forward but you will always be learning so much.