Helen follows in family footsteps, as King’s Mill celebrates NHS 70th birthday

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A senior radiographer at King’s Mill Hospital traced her family history to discover she had followed in her great-aunts footsteps.

Helen Cooper’s, Great Aunt,

Mildred Falcon, had a long and varied career, and saw the beginning of the NHS.

Mildred qualified as a nurse in 1930, having trained at the Liverpool Royal.

She went on to qualify as a Radiographer in June 1939.

When World War Two broke out just months later she joined Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Corps, where she was awarded her Africa Star and Italy Star medals, and a medal for serving with Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Corps.

After the war was over Mildred then went on to work at Wrightington Hospital where she met and worked with Dr John Charnley, who pioneered hip replacements.

Shethen retired from full time work in 1960, but continued to work part-time in the chest clinic at Wigan Hospital until 1965.

Helen said: “Looking at her history is quite inspiring, she achieved so much, it certainly inspired me to get into radiography. I have been a Radiographer for 28 years and I have worked at Sherwood Forest Hospitals for 15 years, having started my career in the same hospital that my Great Aunt ended hers in.”

She added: “I really enjoy my job. I love the contact that we have with patients and meeting new people every day. Radiography has progressed so much over the years and it’s been great to be part of all the innovative changes.

“During my career we have gone from using wet processing films to everything being digitised, which has been a huge change. We have also seen the development of MRI and CT scanners, which has advanced the images that we can now get.”

Sadly Mildred passed away at the age of 96, but has passed her passion for caring to her family.

In contrast, King’s Mill welcomed new recruit Bethany Rice to the team as a radiographer just over a year ago.

As a new member of staff, she was attracted to the role as she wanted to help people.

Bethany said: “To become a radiographer it requires a three year degree course at university, consisting of clinical placement at hospitals and lectures at university. As a student, I had placements at two different hospitals over the three years, my first and third year were at Chesterfield Royal Hospital and my second year was at King’s Mill Hospital.”

“Over the last year, I have completed a variety of shift patterns, which has enabled me to build my confidence and knowledge. I have learned how to perform a number of different scans, which I may need to complete during night shifts. It has been a really great experience so far and I am looking forward to progressing in my career.”

She added: “I have always had a strong interest in science, especially biology. I find the human body fascinating to learn about. I started learning more about the humanbody in BTEC sport lessons at secondary school, and further followed my studies to college where I completed a BTEC Sport and Exercise Science course.

“I’ve alwayswanted to help people and aspired to work in a caring setting, so I decided to look for a career involving human anatomy within the healthcare industry. After completing college, I decided apply for a job in a hospital to make sure that it was right for me.

“ I started work as an Imaging Assistant within a radiology department, allowing me to get an inside look of how radiographers work.”