The lessons learned working in diagnostic and therapeutic radiography departments through the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland, UK. What can we do differently the next time?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction
Following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, a radical restructure of NHS services occurred, prioritising the acute needs of infected patients. This included suspending routine procedures, leading to an inevitable resurgence in the future, placing increased demands on the NHS, including diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers. With radiography departments already experiencing staff shortages due to COVID-19 related illnesses and vulnerable staff shielding, there is a need to implement plans within radiography departments to ensure their sustainability in the future.
Methods
A mixed methods study was undertaken in Northern Ireland, involving distribution of a survey to diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers alongside conducting interviews with radiography department managers.
Results
106 radiographers completed the survey, with 9 radiography managers and 2 band eight superintendents participating in interviews. Over 60% of participants felt that morale declined in their departments, with the majority feeling that the pandemic had a negative impact on their physical or mental health and wellbeing. Managers felt that to improve staff morale and motivation, incentives need to be offered including remuneration, flexible working and support for professional development.
Conclusion
Whilst predicting when the next wave of a COVID-19 variant or the next pandemic will occur is impossible, preparation and planning will help manage the situation better. This requires identifying clinical areas for expansion/retraction and having access to additional staff to meet the demands on the service to ensure all patients receive care not just those acutely ill.
Implications for practice
This study has identified key lessons learned from the pandemic within the radiography departments. This will enable preparation and strategic planning for future pandemics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRadiography
Early online date8 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Science Council, Taiwan, R.O.C., under the grant NSC-103-2221-E-168-017-.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)

Keywords

  • radiotherapy
  • COVID-19
  • lessons learned
  • do differently
  • radiography
  • working through a pandemic
  • Radiography
  • Lessons learned
  • Working through a pandemic
  • Radiotherapy

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