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Career stage: Horiyah became a master of images

Career stage: Horiyah became a master of images

an exercise

Biomedical analyst Huriya Meer Basel tested the work with the new 7 Tesla MR camera, which is only used for research at Scania. Photo: Boyle Hanson

Horiya Meer Basel became a student again at the same time as her daughter. After extensive experience as a biomedical analyst, she enrolled in the master's program in radiography at Uppsala University. “I wanted to get a better overall understanding of my patients,” she says.

Houria Mir Basel worked at Skane University Hospital for many years before starting her master's studies. Just in time for her children to leave the nest, she also felt it was time to take the next step.

-I wanted to be a role model for my daughters too. One of them chose to start studying in Uppsala shortly after me. So we have many good memories from there together.

As a biomedical analyst, Houria Mir Basel has performed examinations such as EEG, SPECT and PET/CT on groups of patients with, among others, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

The best photo sessions possible

The idea of ​​delving into image and function has been around for a long time. The goal was to gain a broader understanding of patients' diagnoses and treatments. And also to get the best possible photo session, says Houria Mir Basel.

– I tried to apply to several courses, but it was difficult to find the right course. Until I saw this master's program in Uppsala. This was exactly what I needed to get immersed.

Mer Basel mermaid holds in her hands tungsten tweezers and injection shields that are used to reduce radiation before administering radioactive materials.  Photography: Donia Wahab
Mer Basel mermaid holds in her hands tungsten tweezers and injection shields that are used to reduce radiation before administering radioactive materials. Photography: Donia Wahab

Joining a two-year master's program in a completely different place was not easy. Neither logistically nor financially. In her first semester, Houria Meer Basel received financial support from her employer, but after that she had to manage her finances on her own. She stayed at her job about 20 percent and took out some CSN loans.

– In Uppsala, I rented a small apartment and tried to live frugally. I also had some savings I could use.

Two years later, she was the only one on the course to also obtain a master's degree. She believes that her background as a biomedical analyst made it easier for her to handle some of the challenging courses during training.

– Perhaps it was easier for me than for colleagues with a radiology background. The chemistry part with a lot of kinetics was at a very high level and difficult for everyone, especially those with a radiology background. They had to fight.

Master's thesis: The disease can be reflected in the glands

About the master's thesisQuantification of basal ganglia and parotid glands in 11C PE2I-PET/DT – Relationship between autonomic nervous system dysfunction and body glands

  • There are many diseases with similar symptoms and it can be difficult to make the correct diagnosis. Many diseases affect the autonomic nervous system, and one way to find the correct diagnosis is to examine how it works.
  • Aim of the study: To determine the differences in radioactivity absorption in the parotid glands between patients imaged using 11C-PE2I PET/DT. In addition to being able to see if this information can be used to identify dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (MRI images are also useful).
  • results: The combined group with Parkinson's disease, atypical Parkinson's disease, and vascular changes had an upregulation of the number of free dopamine receptors in the parotid gland compared with healthy subjects.
  • Conclusion: There is a difference in absorption between some groups, and therefore the disease in the brain can be reflected in the glands as well.

New MR camera tested

After training, Houria Meer Basel returned to her regular position at the Society of Medicine, which she currently divides between clinical physiology and neurophysiology. But until recently, thanks to her further education, she was working as a substitute for a year and a half in a research group in Lund, testing a 7-Tesla MR camera that is currently only used for research.

She hopes for similar collaborations in the future, and could also consider conducting further research if the right project and funding arise. But she also sees the benefit of her education in her regular job.

– When my colleagues reach patients who are very difficult and cannot reach them, they usually call me for help and ask me for my magic fingers again so that I can find the difficult vessels, she says and adds:

-I feel more confident and more professional in my profession, when I also have more theoretical knowledge.

Tips to continue your education

  • Dare to fight for the opportunity to develop and learn new things in the workplace.
  • Encouraging and pushing each other to be bold.
  • Ask if there is an opportunity for funding or vacation with the possibility of part-time work.
  • Regardless of age, it is always positive to increase knowledge.
  • It can be good to have one foot in the workplace, also to keep up with the latest developments and maintain social contacts.
  • Don't study just with the goal of getting a higher salary, as you may be disappointed. In this case, it is best to resign and negotiate a new salary upon your return.

Source: Houria Mir Basel, BMA and MSc in Radiography.

Job satisfaction has increased with new knowledge

But even though Houria Mir Basel now has a master's degree in radiography, her professional identity as a biomedical analyst is stable. She laughs when asked if she is slipping into an X-ray career.

-I can't imagine leaving my profession. I struggled a lot with that. So my foot is always in BMA function, even if it goes a little in the direction of the x-ray.

The additional development has had some impact on the size of salaries, but it should be much larger, believes Houria Mir Basel. In general, you think salaries for biomedical analysts and radiology nurses are very low. But job satisfaction increased with newly acquired skills.

-I enjoy my profession in all patient encounters. And with wonderful feedback from patients and colleagues.

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