Radiographers are defined as the heart ofmodern-day medicine (Society of radiographers, 2013), furthermore, it’s a fastmoving and continually changing profession. Radiographers are vital to modernhealthcare as they produce high-quality images to aid in the diagnosis,management and treatment of a broad range of diseases (European Society ofRadiology 2009). However, student radiographers enter a health profession whichis poorly understood by the public and other health professionals.According to Al-Yateem and Docherty (2015), theterm transition is described as “passing or passage from one condition, actionor place to another”. Within healthcare, the concept of transition does notdiffer significantly from other definitions in other fields. It refers tochanges that arise in the development of healthcare professionals, for example,the transition from a student to a graduate healthcare professional.
Nash etal., (2009) stated the transition from student to a graduate radiographer is apassage that marks the end of education and the beginning of a professionalradiography career. The transitional process allows radiographers to developtheir confidence and consolidate their clinical knowledge and skills.Additionally, develop constructive professional qualities and work attitudes inclinical settings (Nash et al., 2009). During the transition phase, newlygraduate radiographers begin to fully understand their roles andresponsibilities as a health profession. Including changes to legal and ethicalframeworks. The transition from student to graduate radiographer can be anexciting period, however, there is a general agreement that the transition candifficult moment for students as they may feel unprepared, stressed and anxiouswhen 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 criticallyexplore the transition from student to graduate radiographer.
Comparing anddiscussing how the scope of practice differs between student and graduateradiographer, critically evaluate the professional roles and responsibilitiesof the graduate radiographer and the transition in continuing professionaldevelopment. Undergraduate radiography courses are designedto provide radiography students with the skills and knowledge essential tosuccessfully transition into graduate radiographers. However, preparingradiography students entry into the health profession has been quitechallenging. The program course must not only keep up with the vast amount ofknowledge but at the same time, health professionals are being increasinglymandated by government and professional bodies to actively apply criticalthinking 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 bea radiographer and their role in healthcare (Johnson et al, 2012). Hoden et al(2012) visioned professional identity as the formation of an integrativedevelopment process. This included the establishment of core values, moral,principles, and self-awareness. Professional identity is a vital aspect oftransitioning from student to a graduate radiographer.
While students are ineducation, 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 yourprofessional identity. This is because, clinical placement allows students todevelop professional socialisation, which is beneficial to positiveprofessional identity formation (Machin and peason, 2012). Johnson et al,(2012) stated that newly qualified radiographers had some perception ofprofessional identity on graduation and they lacked confidence, when working ina different community of practice such as theatre. However, this developed overtime. To help develop confidence and competence, the university have put clinicalassessments in place.
Throughout the programme, the assessments getmore difficult as you progress, clinical assessments focus on the ability ofthe student and if they’re able to clinical justify, for example a third-year assessmentwould look at the student’s ability to cope with a wide range of patients andsituations, 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 thatpeople categorise themselves in different types of social groups. Therefore,leading to cognitive segregation in the social environment. This may possiblylead to stereotyping. A study by Weaver et al (2011). Evaluating socialidentity theory within the health profession, discovered newly graduateradiographers had difficulty interacting with doctors, due to limitedinvolvement with doctors as a student. But, this improved over time.
Additionally, Weaver et al (2011) explored the professional identity of medicalstudents. It was found that medical student’s sense of professional identitywas formed by how they were socially segregated from other students such asradiographers and nurses. As a student, during the second year into the degree.The time working in different departments just as vascular, theatre and certainexaminations in CT that involved radiologists. Has developed confidence incommunicating and interacting with doctors to a degree.
Hence, aiding in thetransition from student to graduate radiographer.The clinical environment for newly graduateradiographers can be unpredictable with emphasis on high pressure, targetdriven practice where speed and efficiency may possibly conflict with patientcare. There is a wide range of evidence to support the idea that transitionfrom being a student to a newly qualified health professional can be astressful period. According to the society of radiographers (2013), to offsetthe stress and to facilitate a smoother transition, a preceptorship programmeis available in some trusts.
The aim of a preceptorship is to cement knowledgeand skills and build confidence. The department of health (2008) stated thatpreceptorship at the start of radiographer’s career would allow them to developfrom novice to expert and encourage them to develop throughout theirprofessional lives. A preceptorship helps the development of confidence whilein practice by enabling newly graduate radiographers to identify theirstrengths and weaknesses. The negatives impact of an unsupported transitionperiod can cause graduate radiographers feeling overwhelmed and stressed. The scope of practice in radiography isdescribed as the range of roles, functions and responsibilities which agraduate radiographer is educated, competent and has the authority to performin the context of the definition of radiography. Radiographers should practicewithin the limits of their training, education and competence within theirscope of practice. As a student transitions into a graduate radiographer, theirroles and responsibilities expand. Therefore, you will be accountable for youractions, omissions and behaviour and be able to justify any decision you takewithin your scope of practice.
From experience, a student scope of practice andcompetence has its limitations. Some Imaging departments had a policy thatrestricted newly graduated radiographers from supervising students. Yetradiographers were supervising students only after a few weeks and there’s wasa general concern whether taking responsibility for students, especially intaking responsibility for their images. Once graduate radiographers had grownin confidence, they reported feeling for comfortable supervising radiographers.Supervising students is part of a radiographer’sscope of practice.
Qualified radiographers should be able to aid with studentsduring examinations. Depending on the complexity of the examination, clinicalcircumstances and the experience of the student. Radiographers may make ajudgement and entrust students with certain responsibilities. Furthermore,despite the stage of training of the student and the level of supervision determinedby the radiographer, under IR(ME)R 2000 regulations SoR (2013). the ultimate responsibilityfor the examination and patients lies with the radiographer, but students areexpected to fully adhere with the SoR and HCPC code of conduct, Performance andethics and only working within the scope of their abilty SoR (2013).
Clinical supervisionisn’t only just limited to students. Newly graduates are offered supervision bysenior radiographers. it aims to develop and improve skills, provide insightsand effective patient care using a structured relationship that involvesfrequent interactions with an experienced senior radiographer