No Incredible Hulk With This Kind Of Radiation

Friday, May 23, 2014

Leanne with radiation machine

Leanne Taylor (BSc ’09)

I started my journey at the University of Waterloo in 2005 with no idea what I would end up doing and certainly never thought I would end up with the interesting career that I have today. As a radiation therapist, I am an important part of a cancer care team where I administer radiation to patients using a machine called a Linear Accelerator to cure their cancer or alleviate symptoms caused by their cancer.

I love my job because it is very social. I am constantly talking to people; with my patients, fellow therapists, nurses, radiation oncologists and other health professionals. My job does have technical aspects that involve a lot of physics but a big part of it is patient care where I assess patient's side effects and general wellbeing throughout treatment and act as a link between the patient and the rest of their health care team.

I ended up where I am today only because I knew that I was interested in medical sciences so I enrolled in the Biomedical Sciences degree program at UWaterloo and graduated in 2009. This degree provided me with the background knowledge and the maturity before starting the second part of my education journey which was enrolling that Fall into the Radiation Therapy program at The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences/University of Toronto. This is where I learned the specific scientific and technical knowledge applicable to radiation therapy and received clinical training in one of the Ontario cancer centres as part of my program. It isn't necessary to finish an undergraduate degree prior to enrolling in this program but you do need to have completed certain core science courses.

Like myself, most of my classmates chose to complete their undergrad degree before enrolling in this program. I graduated in the Spring of 2012, was working full time by the Fall of 2012 and the rest is history!

Many students think that the next logical step after completing a biomed degree is med school, but there are many other career paths in health care that are just as rewarding and perhaps more interesting to consider.

This is a picture of me with one of the linear accelerators just before it "goes to bed" for the night.