Well before he finished high school, Henri Nelis knew he wanted a health-related career.
"I'd always liked the hospital environment so I looked at all of the careers within it but radiography stood out for me. I liked the thought of being an integral part of the patient's hospital journey, and working in a field with rapidly advancing technology."
As Henri was already living in Christchurch, CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury) was the obvious place for him to study for a Bachelor of Medical Imaging. The icing on the cake came when he was awarded CPIT's Are Aka Rise Up scholarship covering his first year fees.
Henri was pleasantly surprised with the teaching style at CPIT. "Coming straight from high school, I was expecting people who took more of a teacher role but the tutors at CPIT are called tutors because they're different. They're approachable by nature and always go out of their way to help in any way they can. Their ability to make complex things easy and understandable is a great trait to have."
The fact that his tutors were trained radiographers also impressed Henri. "They have personal experience to add to the academic content. They have their own stories and 'tips and tricks' for us and they can link the academic and clinical aspects of the course easily."
Henri spent a significant amount of his course time on clinical placement, applying his knowledge in real hospital environments. "The placements are a huge strength of the programme. It reinforced my academic knowledge and I could see how it was relevant in the field. Not only that, I gained real on-the-job skills from people working in the industry – and most of them were CPIT graduates!"
Now qualified, Henri is working as a staff medical radiation technologist (MRT) at Christchurch Public Hospital. "My job involves imaging both inpatients and outpatients but as well as acute imaging, I also take x-rays in operating theatres."
He intends to continue working in general radiography for a few more years. "Then I'll possibly head overseas, and later I'd like to take on post graduate study in another modality."