Tell us about yourself

I provide scientific support for radiation therapy equipment. I like working with people from varied backgrounds to help the patient’s wellbeing. I did my high school in India, final year subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics. I then pursued my Bachelor of Science, majoring in Physics and Master of Science in Nuclear Physics at University of Mumbai,  India. I did my Masters of Medical Physics at University of Canterbury.

Original Link:

https://www.futureintech.org.nz/599/0/jobroles/181/ekta-jhala

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unique career?

When I moved from India to New Zealand with my family,I was looking for a career path that would allow me to use science to help people. I discovered the field of medical physics and started learning about how radiation can treat cancer. My passion just kept growing as the knowledge kept coming.

Tell us about your work

I work at Wellington Hospital, with some of the most state-of the art technology in the field.

I provide scientific support for routine clinical aspects, and respond to any machine problems. I test them, diagnose the problem, and get it fixed. It might need an engineer or it might be a communication or software issue. My job is to work it out. A substantial aspect of job is developmental projects, and research plays a small part too.

One of my projects involved brachytherapy, a cancer treatment involving the insertion of small radioactive “seeds” into the patient to kill cancer cells in a localised area.

What do you love about your work?

I enjoy the challenge of the work, which can vary widely and requires innovative thinking. I like not knowing what I might be working on each day. There are problems that need unique solutions. You can approach it in a thousand different ways, so you need to be creative to optimise the outcome.

What are the skills needed for the job?

I interact with people who have a wide range of skills and backgrounds, so you need to have good communication skills. You also need to have the ability to manage your time and work with other people’s schedules. It’s the nature of the job that I can be in a pressured situation, yet I still need to work in a professional manner. You have to collaborate with others, so teamwork and being organised is essential and safety is paramount.

What is the future for Medical Physics?

A science background can open the door to all kinds of career opportunities, including regulation, diagnostics, research, or other fields of nuclear medicine. I hope to start leading projects that improve patient outcomes and direct cancer treatment towards better, safer radiotherapy.

The opportunity to make a difference is inspiring. Whenever I lose my motivation, I take a walk around the department; I look at the smiling faces of our patients. It rejuvenates my motivation to make their lives a little more comfortable and help them in their fight against cancer.