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10. Higher Education Provision

10.1. Four (4) responses were received from Higher Education Institutions (HIE) that provide relevant education. These indicated a range of postgraduate provision covering accredited taught modules, work-based learning modules with personalised learning contracts that include assessment of clinical competence, and workshops. Most universities have inter-professional frameworks of modules, which are offered as stand- alone courses or can be aggregated with other modules towards an MSc award. 

10.2 Further work will be undertaken to build a comprehensive database of postgraduate provision to support the urology/prostate specialist workforce.  This information will be shared on the new online forum developed as part of this project. 

10.3 In addition, two members of academic staff expressed a strong interest in being involved with the online community and offered to facilitate academic support for this.

Case Study 2 – Hannah Nightingale and Cathy Taylor

The advanced roles of radiographers specialising in prostate cancer at a large cancer centre in the north of England have evolved in part due to working time directive initiatives for doctors limiting their hours of work. Combined with growing caseloads from high incidences of cancer and shortages of consultant oncologists, it was deemed essential to advance the traditional roles of radiographers.
Practices have developed to include; brachytherapy volume studies, consenting patients and reviewing patients during their radiation pathway. These practices have allowed radiographers to ensure efficient services for patients by cutting waiting lists, increasing support for patients and the clinical team, as well as giving radiographers enhanced professional satisfaction.

It is essential that these roles are endorsed by the whole clinical team, allowing correct utilisation and support for the radiographers in the development of their advanced skills. When correct strategies are not implemented, this can pose challenges. Defining a clear scope of practice can protect the teams and ensure role boundaries are clear. Radiographers in such roles may also require extra support to ensure a degree of clinical competency is achieved for example on a Linac or with brachytherapy treatments and this can be difficult to achieve with the other responsibilities these roles encompass.

As practitioners in specialist/consultant roles, we have enjoyed the enhanced skills and knowledge we have acquired from the clinical teams, and the responsibilities we have gained with this. Being able to support patients using a holistic approach, for example, through their entire pathway is extremely rewarding.

In the future, these roles are likely to expand as newer technologies within radiation delivery specialise even further. For example brachytherapy delivered as monotherapy will increase the case load of patients, and will require expert knowledge. We are also likely to see an increase in radiotherapy patients due to the new research findings from the STAMPEDE trial suggesting radiotherapy to the primary prostate cancer even in metastatic patients is likely to be beneficial.


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