Radiographers are defined as the heart of
modern-day medicine (Society of radiographers, 2013), furthermore, it’s a fast
moving and continually changing profession. Radiographers are vital to modern
healthcare as they produce high-quality images to aid in the diagnosis,
management and treatment of a broad range of diseases (European Society of
Radiology 2009). However, student radiographers enter a health profession which
is poorly understood by the public and other health professionals.
According to Al-Yateem and Docherty (2015), the
term transition is described as “passing or passage from one condition, action
or place to another”. Within healthcare, the concept of transition does not
differ significantly from other definitions in other fields. It refers to
changes that arise in the development of healthcare professionals, for example,
the transition from a student to a graduate healthcare professional. Nash et
al., (2009) stated the transition from student to a graduate radiographer is a
passage that marks the end of education and the beginning of a professional
radiography career. The transitional process allows radiographers to develop
their confidence and consolidate their clinical knowledge and skills.
Additionally, develop constructive professional qualities and work attitudes in
clinical settings (Nash et al., 2009). During the transition phase, newly
graduate radiographers begin to fully understand their roles and
responsibilities as a health profession. Including changes to legal and ethical
frameworks. The transition from student to graduate radiographer can be an
exciting period, however, there is a general agreement that the transition can
difficult moment for students as they may feel unprepared, stressed and anxious
when becoming a radiographer. Once a student becomes a graduate radiographer,
they’re required to register with the health and care professions council
(HCPC). This allows radiographers to practice professionally in clinical.
The purpose of this essay is to critically
explore the transition from student to graduate radiographer. Comparing and
discussing how the scope of practice differs between student and graduate
radiographer, critically evaluate the professional roles and responsibilities
of the graduate radiographer and the transition in continuing professional
Undergraduate radiography courses are designed
to provide radiography students with the skills and knowledge essential to
successfully transition into graduate radiographers. However, preparing
radiography students entry into the health profession has been quite
challenging. The program course must not only keep up with the vast amount of
knowledge but at the same time, health professionals are being increasingly
mandated by government and professional bodies to actively apply critical
thinking in clinical. Additionally, to display reflective, create,
communicative and interpersonal skills and engage in reflective practice.
In terms of professionalism in radiography,
professional identity can be related to the perceptions of what it means to be
a radiographer and their role in healthcare (Johnson et al, 2012). Hoden et al
(2012) visioned professional identity as the formation of an integrative
development process. This included the establishment of core values, moral,
principles, and self-awareness. Professional identity is a vital aspect of
transitioning from student to a graduate radiographer. While students are in
education, this is an important period in developing a professional identity.
Since during this period students start to be socialised into the profession.
From experience, the amount of time spent on clinical placement effects your
professional identity. This is because, clinical placement allows students to
develop professional socialisation, which is beneficial to positive
professional identity formation (Machin and peason, 2012). Johnson et al,
(2012) stated that newly qualified radiographers had some perception of
professional identity on graduation and they lacked confidence, when working in
a different community of practice such as theatre. However, this developed over
time. To help develop confidence and competence, the university have put clinical
assessments in place.
Throughout the programme, the assessments get
more difficult as you progress, clinical assessments focus on the ability of
the student and if they’re able to clinical justify, for example a third-year assessment
would look at the student’s ability to cope with a wide range of patients and
situations, adapt their techniques, to be able to analyse and evaluate their work.
Further, to help improve students to work independently and part of a Multi-disciplinary.
The social identity theory emphasises that
people categorise themselves in different types of social groups. Therefore,
leading to cognitive segregation in the social environment. This may possibly
lead to stereotyping. A study by Weaver et al (2011). Evaluating social
identity theory within the health profession, discovered newly graduate
radiographers had difficulty interacting with doctors, due to limited
involvement with doctors as a student. But, this improved over time.
Additionally, Weaver et al (2011) explored the professional identity of medical
students. It was found that medical student’s sense of professional identity
was formed by how they were socially segregated from other students such as
radiographers and nurses. As a student, during the second year into the degree.
The time working in different departments just as vascular, theatre and certain
examinations in CT that involved radiologists. Has developed confidence in
communicating and interacting with doctors to a degree. Hence, aiding in the
transition from student to graduate radiographer.
The clinical environment for newly graduate
radiographers can be unpredictable with emphasis on high pressure, target
driven practice where speed and efficiency may possibly conflict with patient
care. There is a wide range of evidence to support the idea that transition
from being a student to a newly qualified health professional can be a
stressful period. According to the society of radiographers (2013), to offset
the stress and to facilitate a smoother transition, a preceptorship programme
is available in some trusts. The aim of a preceptorship is to cement knowledge
and skills and build confidence. The department of health (2008) stated that
preceptorship at the start of radiographer’s career would allow them to develop
from novice to expert and encourage them to develop throughout their
professional lives. A preceptorship helps the development of confidence while
in practice by enabling newly graduate radiographers to identify their
strengths and weaknesses. The negatives impact of an unsupported transition
period can cause graduate radiographers feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
The scope of practice in radiography is
described as the range of roles, functions and responsibilities which a
graduate radiographer is educated, competent and has the authority to perform
in the context of the definition of radiography. Radiographers should practice
within the limits of their training, education and competence within their
scope of practice. As a student transitions into a graduate radiographer, their
roles and responsibilities expand. Therefore, you will be accountable for your
actions, omissions and behaviour and be able to justify any decision you take
within your scope of practice. From experience, a student scope of practice and
competence has its limitations. Some Imaging departments had a policy that
restricted newly graduated radiographers from supervising students. Yet
radiographers were supervising students only after a few weeks and there’s was
a general concern whether taking responsibility for students, especially in
taking responsibility for their images. Once graduate radiographers had grown
in confidence, they reported feeling for comfortable supervising radiographers.
Supervising students is part of a radiographer’s
scope of practice. Qualified radiographers should be able to aid with students
during examinations. Depending on the complexity of the examination, clinical
circumstances and the experience of the student. Radiographers may make a
judgement and entrust students with certain responsibilities. Furthermore,
despite the stage of training of the student and the level of supervision determined
by the radiographer, under IR(ME)R 2000 regulations SoR (2013). the ultimate responsibility
for the examination and patients lies with the radiographer, but students are
expected to fully adhere with the SoR and HCPC code of conduct, Performance and
ethics and only working within the scope of their abilty SoR (2013).
isn’t only just limited to students. Newly graduates are offered supervision by
senior radiographers. it aims to develop and improve skills, provide insights
and effective patient care using a structured relationship that involves
frequent interactions with an experienced senior radiographer