Elsevier Award tipsRO 2023
Awardee Interview
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Rachel Brooks-Pearson
Research and development clinical specialist radiographer
Northern Centre for Cancer Care, The Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


What have been the highlights of your career?

I qualified as a therapeutic radiographer (RTT) in 2010. In my clinical role, I was involved with the set-up of the SABR and SRS service in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK. I moved into my current post as a Research and Development Clinical Specialist Radiographer in 2017. I was clear that I wanted a hybrid role, working clinically, as well as engaging in research. This has been a massive highlight of my career since I’ve been able to take work from the research sphere right through to clinical practice.

What do you think are the next challenges for RTTs?

I think the main challenge for RTTs is workforce recruitment and retention. However, the future will bring both technical challenges and opportunities via the increasing use of AI; role development linked with online adaptive radiotherapy; and the expanding use of MRI in radiotherapy planning. RTTs have previously demonstrated flexibility and progression within their roles, ensuring that this is going to be an exciting time in radiotherapy.

What does this award mean to you?

I love that the research I have led in Newcastle-upon-Tyne has not only benefited my patients here, but through the dissemination of research, has the potential to improve patient care internationally. I’m thrilled that this award from ESTRO recognises this.

What has been your involvement within ESTRO?

I attended ESTRO virtually in 2021, but this was the first time I’ve attended in person. There was a great atmosphere with lots of opportunities to meet with like-minded professionals and develop collaborations.

What are you proudest of in your career?

My proudest moment was seeing MR-only radiotherapy planning for patients with prostate cancer implemented into routine patient care as a direct consequence of the research I undertook. Another was my first journal publication as the first author in relation to MR-only radiotherapy planning.