From TV presenter to radiographer

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We've heard a lot of stories of dramatic career changes, but this transition from TV presenter to radiographer has captured our attention recently.

This is the story of Patricia Lupea, radiographer at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in Plymouth, who decided being a presenter on the small screen in Romania was not for her, and turned to diagnostic screening in the South West of England.

Patricia used to be a news presenter on local Romanian television when she was 21 years old. She said: “I turned up at the audition and the station director handed me a newspaper and said, ‘read this’. After the reading he said I was good but that my voice was too high pitched, and to come back in a few days’ time. During that time I stuffed myself with ice and ice cream to help lower my voice and when I went back for the second audition I got the job.”

She worked for several TV stations in her home region of Transylvania, where she was the chosen reporter to present stories to the national stations, and then moved to the capital, Bucharest. After she completed her studies to become a radiographer, she landed the job of producing and presenting a weekly prime-time health programme on a local TV station. “It was very helpful to be working as a radiographer and presenting, because I had access to doctors and specialists who I could ask to appear on my shows!” Patricia said.

Patricia was 34 when she started studying for the qualifications in radiography and it was her second degree – her first was in art curation. What drove her to change career was an intense interest in the topic and the desire to help others, following her experience of supporting her parents through many years of medical care.

She said: “Both of my parents have experienced serious illness, and I took my mother to hospital many times since I was a child and my father in later years and was able to see the patient experience from both sides. This made me determined to become the sort of healthcare professional that treats patients with respect. It also meant that, by qualifying as a radiographer, I could make a real difference to people’s health and help speed up their recovery.”

She added: “I have always wanted to work in a hospital, and my advice to anyone thinking about doing something similar is that it is never too late to follow your dream.”

Patricia, her husband and 10-year old son moved to Plymouth in April last year, and her post at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre is her first in the UK.

She said: “It is a great place to work, because you get more time to spend with your patients. This means that I have more opportunity to get to know them and explain to them what my part of their treatment means. Our motto here is that the patient always comes first, and I love that.”

Patricia is also in love with the city she now calls home. She said: “The first thing we noticed when we got off the plane was how happy everyone is here and how friendly – it really is a very positive place. And the scenery is amazing – as someone from a landlocked region I find the South West coast and ocean so beautiful!”

Patricia Warwick, Hospital Director at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, told us: “Patricia’s story is so unique – I do not know of anyone else who has made this sort of career transition. She is a valued member of our team and much loved by our patients, who appreciate her positivity and friendliness.”

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