Natalie Abbott

BSc Physics, 2010
Clinical Scientist (Radiotherapy Physics), Velindre Cancer Centre

I work in an NHS specialist cancer centre in North Cardiff. My main role involves working 'behind the scenes' for radiotherapy, working as part of the multi-disciplinary team with radiographers, clinical oncologists and other professionals.

This involves: creating patient-specific plans for radiotherapy, radiotherapy machine QA and general radiotherapy physics support. I give specialist advice for clinical trials and other new/complex radiotherapy services. I also work in Brachytherapy, giving highly specialised advice to consultants during theatre sessions. I also have an honorary contract with Swansea University, teaching on the Specialist Radiotherapy lecture for their Clinical Science (Medical Physics) MSc.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?

That my physics degree is being used in the fight against cancer and no two days are the same in my role.

What motivates you?

Striving to provide a service to our patients that is forever getting better, safer and more efficient.

Natalie Abbott headshot

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

I left Birmingham with a BSc in Physics, I took a slightly winding route to my current role. I first completed an MSc in Medical Radiation Physics, before becoming a researcher at a university. Following this I was fortunate to secure a place on the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) to train as Clinical Scientist. I have now been in my role for six years. I am currently undertaking the Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) scheme, one day/week around work, training in leadership as well as advanced radiotherapy physics.

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?

I visited the university campus as part of a school trip during my first year of A levels. I immediately loved the campus feel, the wonderful redbrick buildings and fantastic physics labs.

What are your fondest memories of the University?

The fantastic community feel on campus. Finally passing under Old Joe on graduation day!

Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

I was the secretary of the Taiji Society in my second year and Dance Society in my third year. They taught me some fantastic skills, particularly organisational and time-management. Working with others from across all areas of the University was fantastic. These roles helped me grow and I still talk fondly of them today.

How did your time at University help you start your career?

I didn't know my current job existed until I completed a module in Medical Imaging in my third year. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures which led me to read more around the subject and look into possible career routes/options in that area.

We Are (Third Width)

Advice from Natalie

“Attend all of your first year lectures as they are the perfect starting point for the more complex modules in the following years. Throw yourself into everything, you'll make friends for life and learn so many invaluable skills from both your academic studies and extra-curricular activities.”