An investigation of digital skills of therapeutic radiographers/radiation therapists: A european survey of proficiency level and future educational needs

B. Barbosa, C. Oliveira, I. Bravo, J.G. Couto, L. Antunes, S. McFadden, C. Hughes, P. McClure, J. Rodrigues, A.G. Dias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Introduction This study aims to assess the proficiency level of digital skills, the factors influencing that level and the training needs of Therapeutic Radiographers/Radiation Therapists (TR/RTTs), due to the differences in technology availability and accessibility, variations in the regulation and education of TR/RTTs in European countries, and the lack of a digital skills framework.

Methods An online survey was distributed to TR/RTTs working in Europe to capture their self-assessment of proficiency levels of digital skills when performing their clinical role. Information was also gathered regarding training, work experience and level of information and communication technology (ICT) skills. Quantitative measures were analysed using descriptive statistics and correlation between variables, and qualitative responses using thematic analysis.

Results 101 respondents from 13 European countries completed the survey. Digital skills in treatment planning followed by management and research were the least developed skills, while the most developed were transversal digital skills followed by digital skills in treatment delivery. The Radiotherapy areas of practice where TR/RTT has experience (e.g. Planning Image, Treatment Planning, Treatment), as well as the level of generic ICT skills (communication, content creation and problem-solving), was related to the level of proficiency of TR/RTT digital skills. Greater scope of practice and level of generic ICT were associated with a higher level of TR/RTT digital skills. Thematic analysis allowed the identification of new sub-themes to be included in the training of TR/RTTs.

Conclusion Education and training of TR/RTTs should be improved and adapted to the current needs of digitalisation to avoid differences in digital proficiency levels.

Implications for practice Aligning TR/RTTs’ digital skill sets with emerging digitalisation will improve current practice and ensure the best care to all RT patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-488
Number of pages10
JournalRadiography
Volume29
Issue number3
Early online date4 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is part of the SAFE EUROPE project funded by the European Commission (under an Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliance grant).38 Therefore, the survey was distributed by the professional organisations within the consortium: Associação Portuguesa de Radioterapeutas - ART (Portugal), Society of Medical Radiographers - SRM (Malta), Polskie Towarzystwo Ekonomiczne - PTE (Poland) and the European Federation of Radiographer Societies – EFRS (across Europe).This work was co-funded by the SAFE EUROPE project under the Erasmus+ Sector Skill Alliances programme [grant agreement 2018-2993/001-001]. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Jéssica Rodrigues is supported by a PhD fellowship from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (UI/BD/152282/2021).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

Keywords

  • Digital skills
  • Radiotheraphy
  • Technology
  • Clinical practice
  • Education
  • Radiotherapy

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