Convocation spotlight: BSc Radiation Therapy '22 grad Kristina Nool

Kristina will receive her BSc in radiation therapy in June.

07 June 2022

What achievement are you most proud of from your time in the program?

I’m most proud of the work I put in during my final year. It was an eight-month-long clinical practicum at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary! During our practicum, we were required to successfully achieve competencies all while conducting a research project and studying for our national exam. It has been an extremely busy but also very rewarding last few months.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

My biggest challenge was having to apply the knowledge and skills we were taught virtually in a real clinical setting with patients. Virtual learning poses its own challenges but having to translate everything we learned while treating patients in a clinical setting was a different ballgame. Prior to our practicum, I had never been exposed to a clinical setting. It was overwhelming at first but interacting with patients eventually became organic and my favourite part of clinical. I also had a lot of great mentors I could turn to and rely on.

What initially drew you to this area of study?

In my first degree (BSc specialization in immunology and infection), I spent some time doing supervised research in an oncology lab. While I gained a great appreciation for research, I realized it wasn't the route I wanted to go but I was still very much interested in the oncology aspect. I stumbled upon the Radiation Therapy program and thought it involved a good balance of technical skills and patient care.

What lessons will you take from pursuing a degree during the pandemic?

I learned how important it is to prioritize your well-being and to have a healthy work-life balance. This experience has taught me to be forgiving and to have patience. Pursuing a degree during a pandemic has been extremely challenging but I have been so lucky to have been supported by my family, friends and classmates.

What comes next for you in your career?

I will be practising as a radiation therapist at the Cross Cancer Institute here in Edmonton this June! In the future, I hope to gain experience working abroad. 

What advice would you give to a student thinking of entering your program of study?

My advice to students thinking of entering radiation therapy is to be open-minded and be prepared to be adaptable. You'll learn lots and work with many different people. It can get difficult having to balance all the didactic courses but radiation therapy is an extremely rewarding career and you'll make a lot of great friends!