Patients will now know exactly what to expect from some common scans and procedures thanks to a suite of new videos created in collaboration with students from RMIT University.

Rewind a year and Peter Mac’s Cancer Imaging team was running a survey to find out about patients’ experience in the department. 

What they found was many patients wanted to know more about certain procedures (like CT scans, mammograms and radionuclide therapy) before turning up for their appointment. 

David Binns, Wendy Robertson and Patrick Nowlan from Cancer Imaging sprang into action and secured funding through the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation to create eight in-depth patient experience videos to fill that gap. 

They then enlisted the help of filmmaker Kiralee Greehalgh (who also tutors at RMIT), who then recruited a team of School of Media and Communications students to help her tackle the mammoth project. 

Shot over the course of week (just before COVID-19 struck), the team filmed eight scans and procedures with an actor standing in as the patient and many Peter Mac staff making their acting debuts. 

“As a work experience project, I tried to involve students across the entire process,” Kiralee explains.  

“They each worked on scripting, story boarding, filming and editing and even had a hand at production to ensure each video carried with it a common format and style.

“I’d like to thank the staff at Peter Mac for being so communicative and helpful throughout this entire project. It’s been a big one!”

RMIT students and Peter Mac staff during the filming (pre COVID-19)
RMIT students and Peter Mac staff during the filming (pre COVID-19)
Director Kiralee Greehalgh (centre back) with RMIT students and Peter Mac staff during filming.
RMIT students and Peter Mac staff during the filming (pre COVID-19)

Students were encouraged to swap roles to get experience in different departments (like camera, sound or lighting) and after the shoot, each video was given to a student to edit. 

Student Martin Ho said it was really meaningful work knowing they were going to be helping Peter Mac patients for years to come. 

“It's a pretty great feeling knowing that something I’ve made might help someone else, especially those who are going through what is a really tough time,” Martin said. 

“Knowing that I could have potentially helped lessen the fears of another, even just a little bit, makes me pretty happy.”

The videos cover a CT scan, central venous access device (CVAD) insertion, mammogram, MRI, nuclear medicine imaging, PET scan, radionuclide therapy (PRRT) and ultrasound. 

The project also had vital oversight from Peter Mac’s Health Literacy Manager Tanya McKenzie and a consumer representative Judy McCahon to ensure they video ticked all the right boxes. 

They videos are all available now on the Peter Mac website.