Michele Gatfield's study story

Radiation therapy trainee Michele Gatfield says that when the going gets tough, she reminds herself of her dream.

“When I’m packed down with assignments I always keep the goal in mind of coming out with a qualification that’s recognised internationally. I want to see the world. I really want to travel. That’s my dream and I think this job’s definitely going to allow me to do that.”


Using time productively helps Michele get through

Michele is now in her second year of a three-year Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in medical radiation therapy. It's an intense programme, she says. “You have to work hard, but we’re a small group and we all help each other get through.”

Michele maintains that a large part of her success is about time management. “When we finish class at 3pm I’ll stay at uni until 5pm. That’s an extra two hours’ study. Then at lunchtimes, instead of just hanging out for the next class, most of us will use that time productively.”

Financial support means more time for study

Michele is fortunate in that she can concentrate most of her time on her study, and not have the burden of a student loan. 

"Radiation therapy is one of the few health fields where students receive financial support as they progress through the programme. We get financial support for the clinical placements, which is really helpful."

Clinical training brings the course to life

Michele recently spent six months in clinical training at the Wellington Blood and Cancer Centre – the highlight of her course so far. 

“I loved it because I was able to relate it to what we learned in the first year, and it’s made everyone willing to study for the next 18 months.”  

It’s also made Michele realise that seeing patients is one of the best parts of the job. “You’re privileged because they are at such a vulnerable time in their lives. You’re doing something that’s very positive, whether it’s curing them or improving their quality of life.”

Updated 12 Sep 2016