Don’t Quote Me: Pete Bridge

Pete Bridge is an Admissions Tutor for Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy at the School of Health Sciences at the University.

From 2011 to 2015 Pete was employed as Radiation Therapy Course Coordinator at Queensland University of Technology. Pete was appointed to his current position at Liverpool, in a range of teaching duties. He is also furthering his skills, experience and research in simulation-based learning using 3D technology in the field of clinical radiotherapy.

Describe your role in 15 words

I am the Radiotherapy Admissions Tutor, a lecturer in Radiotherapy and part-time PhD student.

What does ‘success’ mean to you?

Success to me means making a positive difference to someone else’s life. When I worked clinically as a therapy radiographer, I enjoyed doing that every time I helped treat our cancer patients. Nowadays it is all about seeing our graduates bursting with knowledge, skills and enthusiasm.

What two attributes are most important in your job?

It is hard to pin down two but I find that enthusiasm and creative thinking help in all aspects; teaching, working with people, writing, researching etc.

What do you find rewarding about your job?

There are several aspects to my role that bring their own rewards. In regards to teaching, it is definitely the “light-bulb” moment when you can see a student suddenly understanding something you have explained. That’s a great buzz. With my Admissions hat on it is seeing someone hear about radiotherapy as a career for the first time and get excited about it. It is such a rewarding and exciting job but so few people know what it is.

What is your most frequently asked question?

‘Is radiotherapy the same as radiography?’ I get that a lot. Most people know about the medical imaging role; taking X-ray images, CT scans etc. I also get asked if I am being served quite a lot, but that tends to be outside University hours.

What are your three best qualities?

Excellence in everything, extreme modesty and contradicting myself. That’s a hard question to answer outside a job interview. I would hope that I engage well with people, work hard and think creatively.

What do you get passionate about?

Pretty much everything; I can’t seem to help it. I do have a real passion for Technology-Enhanced learning, Virtual Reality and in particular 3D Immersive Visualisation. We have an amazing large screen 3D immersive visualisation system in Radiotherapy that we use to provide the students with pre-clinical skills training and I think it is an amazing bit of kit. You get the 3D glasses on and you really feel you are in a treatment room; a very powerful learning tool. My PhD is developing a 3D visualisation tool that should help doctors to outline tumour volumes quickly. Actually can you not print that because it makes me sound like a right geek!

What is the worst job you have ever had?

Well back in my modelling days one time we ran out of champagne… No I’ve not really had a bad job and I feel very lucky indeed as there are some awful ones out there. One of my friends got a job tasting dog food.

What work issues keep you up at night?

It is usually the dog next door but as Admissions Tutor I do have some concerns about recruitment into our profession. It is Breast Cancer Awareness month at the moment and there is a strong focus on the improvements to treatment and care for our breast cancer patients. Radiotherapy plays a major part in most breast cancer treatments yet it is such an unknown profession. We are facing a national shortage of therapy radiographers at the moment and although we are managing to fill our places currently I do wish that more people were aware of the profession. I know there are thousands of potentially amazing therapy radiography students out there but they may never hear about us.

What are you reading at the moment?

Now I know I said I’m not a geek but I do like my science fiction. I’m reading “By Light Alone” by Adam Roberts which is about what would happen if people could photosynthesise through their hair. No more poverty, starvation, high intensity farming but the constant threat of an aggressive shave. I know it should be something more high-brow but science fiction fires my imagination. I don’t dress up as any characters or anything.

My favourite quote is…

I have a lot of time for Dr Seuss’s approach to life and pedagogy: “The more that you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go.” I’d also like to pass on my favourite epitaph from one of my research collaborators which he is adamant he wants on his gravestone: “Rob Appleyard. Best before (date of death)”. Classic.

If I had a million pounds I would…

Go into space. I know I should do something selfless to benefit my fellow man but I can’t imagine anything more thrilling than seeing the Earth from space while catching weightless droplets of champagne in my mouth. I’d take David Attenborough along too; I bet he’d love it. I might have to wait for the price to come down a bit though. Maybe he’d go halves?

My ideal dinner guest would be…

Well provided we both survived the re-entry I think the least I could do would be to invite Sir David back for dinner. I’ve been a huge fan of his for a long time and I would love to hear about all his amazing experiences. There’s so much to learn about and he has devoted his life to learning, teaching and sharing his passion. He is a real inspiration to me.

Pete and the radiotherapy team will be showcasing their 3D immersive virtual reality theatre On Monday 9 November. The medical imaging team will also be displaying some rare and interesting medical images from their collection. The open day will run from 10am to 1pm at the Virtual VERT Facility based at Waterhouse Building, Block B.

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