Therapeutic radiographers use sophisticated radiography equipment to treat patients suffering from cancer or non-malignant tumours by aiming doses of radiation at tumours. With an increasing amount of opportunities available for therapeutic radiographers, prospects for graduates are very bright.
In the treatment of cancer, accuracy is paramount and a variety of highly specialised equipment is available within Radiotherapy Departments to achieve this. Computerised Tomography (CT) simulators employ the latest technology to localise tumours. Technological advances in linear accelerator design ensure that treatment conforms to patients needs with pinpoint accuracy. Treatment units housing radioactive sources also play a useful role in patient management, as do 3D planning systems.
Alongside the technology, the importance of high standards of communication and care of cancer patients cannot be overestimated. Cancer patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team in which the therapeutic radiographer plays a major role in reducing the sense of vulnerability and promoting patients autonomy.
Therapeutic Radiographers work within a multidisciplinary team in Radiation Oncology and play a vital role in the management and treatment of patients with cancer. They are predominantly responsible for treatment for the accurate localisation, planning and delivery of ionising radiation
The PgDip programme compliments the changing healthcare environment with the aim of providing practitioners who are fit for purpose and fit for award and is an accelerated programme over two years, for graduate students who already have a level 6 qualification. Building on graduate skills you will develop an enquiring, reflective, critical and innovative approach to Therapeutic Radiography within the context of the rapid changes occurring in the health service.
The programme aims to develop confident and competent practitioners who practice autonomously, compassionately, skilfully and safely whilst fostering independence in learning and commitment to lifelong learning. The course comprises of five compulsory units instilling a range of academic knowledge from health sciences to profession specific radiotherapy and oncology practice.
The PgDip in Therapeutic Radiography confers eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Radiographer.
See the website http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/courses/course-finder/therapeutic-radiography-pre-registration-pgdip-msc
- Radiation science and technology
This module provides the basic physical concepts of the production, detection and interaction of ionising radiations and the importance of safe working practices.
- Applied biological sciences
This module provides an understanding of anatomy and pathophysiology with an introduction to oncology and the concept of holistic care in the management of people with cancer, with reference to evidence based practice.
- Clinical radiotherapy theory and practice 1
This module introduces the professional practice of radiotherapy. It identifies the various radiotherapy modalities employed in the treatment of people with cancer. This module will also complement the knowledge and learning gained within clinical practice by focussing on the acquisition of basic skills required for the safe, accurate planning and treatment of patients with cancer.
- Management of morbidities
This module addresses the principles of radiobiology and cytotoxic chemotherapy, to facilitate appreciation of the limiting effects of normal tissues on treatment. Methods of limiting radiation and cytotoxic morbidity, together with the wider issue of palliative care will also be considered.
- Clinical radiotherapy theory and practice 2
This module provides knowledge and skills relevant to pre-treatment and verification processes employed in the radiotherapy management of patients. You will be required to develop a critical awareness of advances in technology and practice. Clinically based competencies focus on the complex techniques found in Radiotherapy and the problem solving skills required for successful performance in clinical practice.
- Radiotherapy as a career
On successful completion of the course you'll be eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a therapeutic radiographer.
From helping plan and administering treatment, to explaining it to patients and assessing their responses, therapeutic radiographers are involved in every stage of the treatment process.
Therapeutic radiographers need excellent interpersonal skills and emotional resilience as they deal with patients and their families at very difficult and emotional times. Making patients feel comfortable and guiding them through the process can be as important as the technical skills required for this role.
- Career progression
Through the acquisition of a wide range of transferable skills such as psychosocial, organisational, management, technical and scientific skills, individuals are well prepared to work in any situation that best suits their individual expertise and interest.Working as a consultant practitioner is one common career path as well as management, research, clinical work and teaching.
After qualification, clinically experienced therapeutic radiographers may gain additional specialist skills and expertise through the postgraduate, post-registration and continuing professional development frameworks.
LSBU Employability Services
LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:
- direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
- Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
- mentoring and work shadowing schemes.
- Time spent on placement
Clinical placements are an essential element of the course. You will spend 50% of your time involved in academic study and 50% in clinical practice within a broad variety of healthcare settings. A clinical practice placement allows you to put theory into practice by working with a range of health professionals in clinical situations to develop the skills, knowledge and experience required to become a competent radiographer. Although sometimes initially challenging, practice learning is one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of learning to be a radiographer.
- Clinical settings
At LSBU you will experience a variety of clinical settings such as NHS Trusts and the independent sector.
Placements for Therapeutic Radiography include:
- Brighton and Sussex University Hospital: Sussex Cancer Centre
- Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust: Kent Oncology Centre
- Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Surrey Hospital
- Queens Hospital, Romford
- Structure of placements
Placements are spread over two years.
The first clinical placement; approximately seven weeks after the start of the course, gives a real taster of the role of the radiotherapy radiographer in the radiotherapy treatment process. It gives you an opportunity to confirm correct choice of career early within the course. Thereafter clinical placements follow the same pattern throughout the course.
Support from a mentor
An identified Link Lecturer and Personal Tutor from the University will be the person you can contact during working day hours whilst on placement with any concerns or questions you are unable to solve otherwise. As there is a close relationship between LSBU and the clinical placement; the Link Lecturer will pay regular scheduled visits to the different sites to meet up with students.