Competency level in radiotherapy across EU educational programmes: A cross-case study evaluating stakeholders' perceptions

J G Couto, S McFadden, P McClure, P Bezzina, C Beardmore, C Hughes

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Abstract

Introduction: The education of Therapeutic Radiographers (TRs) is regulated in some countries but is not standardised across the EU, leading to differences in competencies between and within member states. This study aimed to explore stakeholders’ perceptions regarding underdeveloped competencies of TRs practising on the linear accelerator, identified in a previous study by the same research team. Methods: Interviews with stakeholders from four countries (selected based on the characteristics of their degrees) were performed as part of this cross-case study. Stakeholders were asked to provide their perception regarding the least developed competencies identified in a previous study. Results: The 27 stakeholders confirmed that Pharmacology, Quality Assurance (QA), Management and Leadership, Research (from the previous study) were underdeveloped and identified Image Verification and Critical Thinking as additional underdeveloped competencies. Suggested causes included: lack of regulation of required competencies at the national level, lack of training dedicated to radiotherapy (RT) (taught within generic modules) and lack of time within the degree programme. The ideal academic level to develop these competencies and whether they are essential varied between country and stakeholder. Conclusion: It is essential to regulate learning outcomes at the national level to ensure a high level of care is provided to all RT patients and, ideally, standardise it across Europe. Education institutions should review their curricula to ensure that sufficient time is dedicated to RT and that the essential competencies are developed. Due to time constraints within some programmes, some competencies must be developed after graduation. Implications for practice: Lack of regulation of learning outcomes (at European level and national level in many countries) and lack of RT-specific training lead to underdeveloped competencies that may compromise patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-186
Number of pages7
JournalRadiography
Volume28
Issue number1
Early online date30 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Competencies
  • Education
  • European union
  • Professional issues
  • Radiotherapy

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