Graduate profile
Nicolle Dunkerley

Nicolle Dunkerley

“The Masters course definitely gave me an advantage when applying for the NHS Scientist Training Programme.”


Medical Physics

I became very interested in radiotherapy when a close family member was diagnosed with cancer and I began to research different types of treatment available, and this definitely affected my career path.

Having done a BSc in Radiotherapy I decided that I wanted to become a clinical scientist. I chose to do the Medical Physics course because the programme allowed me to apply for the NHS Scientist Training Programme.

The course at Surrey was very interesting and well taught. It included external visits to hospitals and equipment manufacturers for practical sessions which really helped to confirm what career path I wanted to take and looked great as experience on my CV.

I also got the opportunity to complete my dissertation project at a hospital. Towards the end of my Masters I was awarded a place on the three-year NHS training scheme, which involves working in a hospital (in my case the Royal Surrey County Hospital) and completing an MSc in Clinical Science part time. I work within the radiotherapy department, rotating around three different areas: dosimetry (measurement of radiation dose), treatment planning, and brachytherapy (internal radiotherapy using sealed radiation sources).

In dosimetry my daily work involves performing quality control checks on the many different features of the X-ray or linear accelerator machines we use to deliver treatment. In treatment planning, we use specialist software and algorithms to produce a customised treatment plan that puts a large radiation dose in the area a doctor wishes to treat while aiming to keep the surrounding normal tissue at safe levels. When working in brachytherapy we calibrate the radiation sources, consider safety aspects, plan treatments and also work with doctors during the insertion of sources in theatre.

The work is very varied and – since I am contributing to the treatment of patients – very rewarding.

The course definitely gave me an advantage when applying for the NHS Scientist Training Programme. I’m now coming to the end of my third year and have been offered a full time position at the hospital once my training is complete.

Why not explore our courses in physics, including our Medical Physics course?

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