Cancer is a disease that directly or indirectly affects all of us at one point in our life.
It is estimated that 52.3% of cancer cases would require radiotherapy (RT) at one point during their treatment (Barton et al. 2014).
Consequently, therapy radiographers (TR) have a key role in the health care provision, thus, it is important that their skills are abreast with new findings and technology upgrades. Despite all this, a common regulation for TR across the EU countries does not exist, leading to differences in skills required to qualify and practice across member states.
This hinders mobility of professionals and compromises patient safety, creating a need for more standardised requirements regarding training programmes for TR across the EU territory.
Aims of the Study
In this study, we aim to investigate and identify the gaps between the skills required by TR to perform their duties in comparison with the educational training provided across Europe. In particular, the project will focus on the training required for the delivery of radiation to patients suffering from malignant diseases (cancers able to spread to other organs) because the technology, software and the required skills are constantly changing.
This will further promote the adoption of best practices across the EU in a key area of healthcare. Furthermore, we aim to propose and develop a set of online modules to address the “skills gap” that currently exists and to enable TR to increase their knowledge base in line with other European countries.
Recommendations regarding skills to be developed by education programmes will be published in order to facilitate the mobility of radiographers across the EU.
In the future, a standardised training would not only increase employability and knowledge transfer but also limit personnel shortage in areas with low numbers of radiography graduates, as well as avoid compromising patients’ safety and improve the care given to the EU population.
The aim of this study is to assess the market needs, identify the educational gaps and implement educational actions to close these gaps in regards to the competencies of European TRs in the following specific skills:
- Administration of RT treatments
- Digital skills of the TRs
- Circular Economy in RT
- Advanced roles of the TRs
This project will allow us to close the gaps in the skill set of radiographers from all across Europe and improve the quality of practice which will result in better patient outcomes.
The objectives of the study are to:
- Investigate the competencies developed in European undergraduate curricula and highlight the gaps in competencies developed across courses in Europe.
- Determine the essential competencies for radiographers from literature and surveys/interviews to stakeholders (i.e. radiographers, heads of departments, heads of educational institutions, professional association’s representatives and patients).
- Identify gaps in specific skills deemed very relevant for the TR (administration of radiation, digital skills, advanced skills and green skills)
- Identify the skills gap among radiography professionals across Europe
- Offer online educational actions to close these gaps and ensure that the TR are educated with the necessary skills to enable them to practise across the whole of Europe
- Disseminate the results and online teaching tools to ensure a maximised exploitation of this project
The overall expected result of this project will be that radiographers will have competencies that match the market needs, a market that is not national but European.
This will be accompanied by a radiography profession with standardised educational skills/competencies across all EU member states.
Staff educated in different countries will be able to travel freely within the EU and deliver work to the same standard and competency level regardless of where they were trained.
It is expected that the differences in training of TRs among different European countries will be highlighted. This will allow for a pan-European view of the educational programmes, leading to standardisation of training/education and an improvement of professional competencies.