From Radiography to Rio Olympics – Words by Stephanie Dunbar ASMIRT Communications Coordinator


No matter what time of the week it is the days are never dull for Queensland Xray Senior Radiographer and Australian Olympic Athlete Chelsea Jaensch. After falling into the Medical Radiation Science profession by “mistake” Chelsea has brought new meaning to the phrase “work life balance”. Not only has she enjoyed the challenges of adding numerous modalities to her professional repertoire including CT, mammography, management and MRI, but she has juggled a successful athletics career representing Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics in long jump. Chelsea was kind enough to share her journey from radiography to Rio.


Making the Leap


After a seven-year break from athletics, suffering from anxiety and overwork, Chelsea was advised to resume and activity that she used to enjoy but no longer participated in and thus returned to the sport. “Athletics motivated me to find my old self. It taught me how to socialize, be disciplined and be confident in my ability to do something well” Chelsea explains.

It wasn’t long before Chelsea stared making progress in the sport on a national scaled and the motivation to move from her radiography career in Adelaide to an athletics career in Brisbane was ignited. “The decision to shift my focus from career goals to athletics goals at the end of 2012 was the biggest challenge. I left a job I loved, that paid quite well and extended me academically, to move interstate to a job I knew nothing about, with people I didn’t know and I had to start friendships and my life from the ground up.”





Rio Olympics 2016

Maintaining a work life balance was an important element to Chelsea’s success. “As an elite athlete, I am a firm believer of having something outside of sport to focus on, and radiography provides that outlet for me, where I am in a different social circle, using different mental tools yet requiring levels of perseverance and patience similar to my sport.”

With the help of her practice, Senior and fellow colleagues at Queensland Xray Coorparoo she was able to negotiate a part time 3.5 day work week to optimize the quality of her training and to ensure she had financial support for her Olympic Campaign. “The support of Queensland Xray and its staff is overwhelming and incredible! The ongoing communication I had with the head office and in particular, the human resource team was invaluable in helping me success in my pursuit to Rio, “ Chelsea says.

Looking Forward

While the Rio Olympics may be over Chelsea’s passion for her sport and goal oriented nature continues to thrive with new challenged on the horizon. “The Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 is the next big thing. I hope I can be selected in long jump and make a final, A medal would be ever sweeter, “ Chelsea says.

On a professional level Chelsea hopes to finish her MRI study which has had to take a back seat due to her athletics goals. In the past she has also been part of research investigating hamstring injury prevention and hopes to delve a little deeper into the research side of the profession.



‘On and Up’

Clearly a very self-motivated and goal oriented person, Chelsea sticks to her motto “On and Up”, a simple reminder to always push forward and aim higher. “In times when I feel down, it’s all about picking myself up and getting on with the task at hand, or creating a new goal. When there are limitations to my goals, it’s a friendly reminder that I am capable of exceeding my expectations and achieving what I set out to do”, she says.

To those of you who are “umm-ing and ahh-ing” about taking on a challenge outside of work, whatever it may be, Chelsea says “Choose it”. Her recipe for success is clear; Write down your goal and commit, be specific and passionate, create a timeline and define the steps needed to achieve it and make yourself accountable by telling someone about it.

Evaluate the time required from you per week to achieve your goal and communicate your goals to your employer so that you can develop a functional employment contract that will benefit you both.”

“Most elite athletes follow a recipe similar to this. I’ve been fortunate to learn my goal setting as an ambassador of Canadian based yoga brans lululemon, which anyone is welcome to do if they visit a store”, says Chelsea.

ASMIRT congratulated Chelsea on her achievements and looks forward to watching her continuing journey both in athletics and the medical radiation science profession.


– Stephanie Dunbar.