I’m originally from Lisbon, Portugal. I finished my bachelor's degree in Radiation Therapy in 2006 and moved immediately to Switzerland, where I worked for two and a half years. The salary was great and it was close to home, but Switzerland was not my cup of tea. So I packed my bags and flew to Auckland, where I have been working since January 2010 as a full-time employee of the Auckland District Health Board.
Every year students spend time in our department hoping we can work magic and help them qualify. As a foreigner, I felt I needed to understand the way Radiation Therapy is taught in New Zealand in order to do a better job teaching them. Plus this further qualification might open some doors and help me progress in my career. I feel I'm also somehow redeeming myself because I could've tried much harder in my undergraduate days!
Staying motivated is definitely the biggest challenge when you’re learning via distance. Being independent and in charge of my own time is a good thing, but after eight hours of work the last thing I want to do is shut myself in a room in front of the computer! However, my co-worker Amie Bryant is studying with me, so we keep each other motivated over a packet of ginger nuts and cups of tea.
With no classes it can be tricky understanding some concepts, but the lecturers are all very helpful and supportive, and are available via e-mail and mobile phone. They make sure we understand what's expected of us and that we’re on the right track. I've also used the University Library’s services to search for articles, and when I couldn’t print or access them, they e-mailed them to me within 24 hours.
My goal? To be the best radiation therapist I can be and to progress into a leadership role as a senior radiation therapist.