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An examination of Advanced Clinical Practice: Qualitative insights from therapeutic radiography advanced and consultant practitioners based in England

Khine, R. & Stewart-Lord, A. (2021). An examination of Advanced Clinical Practice: Qualitative insights from therapeutic radiography advanced and consultant practitioners based in England. Technical Innovations & Patient Support in Radiation Oncology, 17, pp. 97-101. doi: 10.1016/j.tipsro.2020.12.003


Introduction: Therapeutic radiographers play a vital and changing role in the delivery of radiotherapy services treating patients with cancer. Advanced Practitioners (AP) and Consultant Practitioners (CP) in radiotherapy have developed advanced clinical skills and specialisms, enhancing the ability of the profession to offer a greater depth of cancer services and ease pressure elsewhere in the system. The aim of this study was to define the opportunity and potential for Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) roles in oncology services. Specific objectives were to explore local profiles, role development and opportunities for standardisation of ACPs in therapeutic radiography and to determine resource requirements to roll out and ensure continuation of the existing and new roles.

Material and methods: The research was addressed through a qualitative study design using focus groups. Convenience sampling was used to recruit therapeutic radiography advanced and consultant practitioners (N = 36) from the respective radiotherapy departments in England to participate in regional focus groups. Four regional areas were identified for inclusion. Data generated was analysed thematically.

Results: The findings are presented in four themes: ownership of professional identity, desire for standardisation and guidance, drivers of role development and self-directed educational routes.

Conclusion: Key findings from the focus groups indicated the need for standardisation in job descriptions, roles and responsibilities and a key understanding of career progression. The professional identity of the AP is acknowledged by independent, autonomous working; however, this can only be facilitated if the correct training is undertaken and the necessary support structures are in place to enable career progression. Challenges associated with role development are 1) lack of career and pathway guidance, 2) lack of clear educational routes, 3) lack of standardised roles.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Publisher Keywords: Advanced Clinical Practice, Therapeutic radiography, Role development
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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