Charles Sturt University graduates Mrs Naomi Fernandez and Mrs Rosamund Jarvie talk about their jobs saving the lives of people across the country.
Speak to graduates of the Graduate Diploma of Mammography and a common thread emerges – this career path chose them, not the other way around.
Charles Sturt University graduate Mrs Naomi Fernandez completed two university degrees knowing she wanted to obtain sought-after skills and work in women’s health.
Mrs Fernandez completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Swinburne University and immediately started a search for courses that would enhance her skills.
“My undergraduate degree was biomedicine, and although valued, it is designed to be added upon with further education,” she said.
“I wanted to be in a position in my career to have a sought-after skill that did not limit my work location or options.
“I also wanted a career in women’s health as the area is well-supported for young female staff and you can have close and caring patient contact.”
Mrs Fernandez enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Mammography at Charles Sturt, and the 27-year-old is now based in Melbourne and working exclusively as a locum mammography practitioner.
Mrs Fernandez travels to Tasmania, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory to work at BreastScreen Australia sites or in the service’s various mobile screening vans.
The contracts last between two weeks to a month, and Mrs Fernandez’s requirements range from 25 to 35 routine screening mammograms a day and imaging patients who have been recalled for assessment.
The most rewarding part of the job, according to Mrs Fernandez, is being able to facilitate ongoing care or re-imaging a patient and discovering they have recovered.
“When those ladies remember you and thank you for your kindness and work during that stressful time, it brings you so much joy in an often sad environment,” she said.
“If I can perform a mammogram as comfortable and as easy as possible, and potentially save their life, then it is rewarding.”
Mrs Fernandez said there is a high demand for more mammography practitioners, but it is important to know where to look for career options.
She holds radiation licenses in several states and had to fill in paperwork to access locum positions outside of Victoria.
“It is important to learn the radiation licensing laws in your state,” she said.
“But due to the high demand for the skillset, you have the ability to pave the way for the career options of this course.
“It is an opportunity to bring a fresh and highly-skilled workforce into this area of women’s health.”
Mrs Rosamund Jarvie graduated from Charles Sturt with a Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathology) in 2004 and was looking for a career to broaden her skillset.
She graduated from the Graduate Diploma in Mammography in 2015 and is now a senior mammography practitioner, currently working as a tutor mammographer in Albury.
“When I first heard about the course, I knew it would be for me,” she said.
“Not only has this course complemented my previous education and career, it has given me the change in my career that is rewarding and refreshing.”
Mrs Jarvie sees up to 33 clients a day on screening days and up to 15 clients a day on assessment clinic days.
Her role involves work at her Albury-based position with BreastScreen Australia to travelling around the Murrumbidgee Local Health District on the mobile screening vans.
“Performing a service that is integral in the early detection of breast cancer and therefore reducing the morbidity and mortality is the most rewarding part of my job,” Mrs Jarvie said.
“If you’re looking for a rewarding career change that complements your existing education and you have a passion for women’s health, mammography will give you that.”
Associate Head of the School of Dentistry and Health Sciences and Associate Professor in Medical Imaging Kelly Spuur said the 31 graduates of the course since its inception have been employed by BreastScreen Australia and in private diagnostic facilities.
“All graduates are work-ready to commence employment as mammography practitioners having completed 41 weeks at two-and-a-half days per week of clinical placement,” she said.
“Graduates are recognised by the professional body, the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy, and are eligible for the Certificate of Clinical Proficiency in Mammography.
“There is ongoing employment opportunity for graduates and sound career paths.
“There is enormous job satisfaction in knowing that your work as a mammography practitioner has been integral to saving a woman’s life.”