Name: Jane Haman
Occupation: Work in Medical Physics for the NHS
Areas of Expertise: Medical physics
Current Employer: University Hospital Birmingham
What was your first job?
My first ‘proper’ job was working in a school as a Lab Technician saving up to help fund a summer living in a shed and working in outdoor education.
What luxury item did you spend your first pay check on?
A plane ticket to Edinburgh to visit my boyfriend (now my husband).
Describe your job in less than twenty words.
Travelling to sites to test X-ray equipment, calibrating radiation detecting instruments and assessing doses to radiation users.
Did you always have a strong sense of direction for your career?
No, I always knew I wanted to work in Science but did not even know my job existed until I stumbled upon an advert for it. That is one of the reasons I feel it is important to let young people know about the opportunities out there for them in areas they may not have considered.
How did you get into your current career?
Following University I applied and was offered a position in my department undertaking a training scheme and working towards a Dip HE in Clinical Technology on day release. This is now a degree course.
What was your toughest challenge?
Completing my training and course at the same time as working pretty much full time was quite tough but well worth it.
What is the best thing about your job?
The variety and having the opportunity to work in a lot of different environments (office, lab, hospitals, dentists, prisons etc.) It is also nice to be part of a good team.
How important is STEM in your field?
It is absolutely essential. We use STEM every day in all areas of Medical Physics to keep patients, members of the public and people working with radiation safe.
What can you offer schools in your role as a STEM Ambassador?
I can discuss the different people a cancer patient may come into contact with (which would cover diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy). This shows the different jobs available in Medical Physics. A short DVD also covers this quite well. I can tell children a little bit about what I do day to day and the ways to get into the job, what they could expect to earn etc.
There are a variety of different activities I could do with them including a Geiger counter simulator which they could use to tell me which of a number of samples are “radioactive” (no real radioactivity involved!), a portable ultrasound machine to show them (and use on myself), we have a number of X-rays to see if they could identify body parts, and we also have a decontamination suit a few of them could try on to see what it would be like to wear while working in it (which tends to be quite popular with teenagers).
What car do you drive?
A red, slightly dirty Toyta Yaris.