Lara Marie Deguara
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Lara Marie Deguara

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What is your name and what is your
official designation within the Ministry for Health?
My name is Lara Marie Deguara and I am a Senior Allied Health Professional Radiographer.

Where do you work and what do your duties entail?
I work at the Medical Imaging Department at Mater Dei Hospital. I am an interventional radiographer at the Angiosuite.  My role entails the use of a bi-plane x-ray machine to guide the interventional radiologist to navigate small catheters through blood vessels and organs to treat a variety of diseases interventionally. My role also entails an understanding of the required instruments used throughout procedures, including, guiding catheters, vascular catheters, embolisation tools; bare metal coils and embolic agents as well as revascularising tools including balloons and stents.
My role requires me to work within a multi-disciplinary team of interventional radiologists, nurses, carers and porters delivering the best patient care prior, during and post procedure. ​

How long have you been working with the Public Service?
I graduated with a degree in Radiography in 2016 and have been working with the public service for 4 years since May 2017.

Are there any specific qualifications required for your post?
C
andidates need to be in possession of a recognised qualification at MQF Level 6,  subject to a minimum of 180 ECTS in Radiography and in possession of a certificate of registration in Radiography by the Council for Professions Complimentary to Medicine in Malta.

What attracted you to take up your profession and to the health service?
I always anticipated working at a hospital, always had an admiration for healthcare workers, particularly for their role in caring and helping unwell patients. Radiography always struck me as  a profession which balanced out patient care and patient communication and using state of the art technology through the use of medical imaging equipment. Radiography also enables the radiographer to keep up with the latest innovative medical technology, techniques and procedures, particularly when working as an interventional radiographer.

What motivates you most?
G
iving a helping hand to unwell patients is always satisfying. Going to work everyday knowing that someway or another you will be helping people is what motivates me the most to do my utmost in doing my job well.

What about the teamwork between different professions/roles involved in relation to patient care?
A
t the medical imaging department,  the Angiosuite sets the best example of a multidisciplinary team made up of Radiographers who guide Radiologists through the use of x-rays during interventional procedures. Nurses who scrub for procedures and assist the Radiologist throughout the procedure. Carers who prepare the patient for the procedure by ensuring adequate patient monitoring and preparation for the procedures. Porters who dispatch inpatients from the wards and bring them down to the Angiosuite for their procedure and assist them back to the ward after the procedure. Cleaners who make sure the theatres and recovery areas are kept clean between patients.

The absence of one healthcare profession would not make the procedure possible and therefore working together as one team will ensure excellence in the service we give to our patients. 

Can you give us one challenge and one success story?
Challenge
As a radiographer working in rooms with big machines is our norm, but for patients laying under or going through those machines whilst being told not to move can create a scary environment. Explaining to the patient that the machine as big and scary as it might seem will not harm them in any way can sometimes be challenging. This challenge is greatly felt when working with paediatric patients who require taking x-rays or have interventions done without having their parents sitting right next to them.

Success
All patients that visit the medical imaging department are given a radiology oriented service, whether it’s an MRI, CT Scan, Ultrasound etc. Any scan performed at the medical imaging department will always translate into a report with informative findings that will get the patient one step closer into reaching a diagnosis. A diagnosis which can help them establish a more clear medical pathway.

On the other hand the medical imaging department also offers treatment services in the form of radiology assisted interventions performed at The Angiosuite, Theatres, Nuclear Medicine and Ultrasound. These patients have interventions done that will not only deliver treatment but also create methods through the use of lines and catheters which will make delivering treatment easier and more comfortable for the patient, with the possibility of having that treatment followed at home rather than in a hospital bed whilst improving the quality of life for the patient, an important and well sought goal by all healthcare professionals.

What advice would you give to young students considering taking up this profession?
Radiography is a four year course leading up to a profession that allows a balance of working with innovative technology whilst keeping the patients' health, concerns and fears at heart.

My greatest advice to youngsters is for them to know that they are their own limits in their careers. Radiography is a profession with diverse areas of expertise. Whether it's aiming in becoming competent in one specialised area or broaden your clinical skills in specialising in more than one area is entirely up to you. Radiography allows the radiographer to set their own aims in their career whether its clinically broadening specialised skills or exploring managerial skills. Aiming and reaching these set goals is entirely up to you and how hard working and determined you are in accomplishing them.

What are the benefits of working with the public service?
The public service allows employees to maintain a balanced lifestyle in offering family friendly measures establishing a great work/life balance flexibility. Healthcare is always in demand and working with the public service offers job stability aside from offering good salaries and allowances. The public service is also greatly supportive of employees furthering their studies by providing paid study leave to those committing in attending courses related to their profession.​