Experiences of transitioning to work in radiotherapy during COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis continues to have big impacts on how radiotherapy is delivered, how staff do their job and patient care.
Part of the NHS response has been to accelerate final year radiotherapy students into work as radiographers before they have fully qualified. Moving from being a radiography student to staff member is a challenging but exciting shift under the best circumstances: It is quite a different prospect when working practices are unfamiliar and the graduates are joining an established group of people who have been together during an unfolding professional journey.
We have already conducted the first part of a research project that looked at the expectations of a group of Welsh radiotherapy study who were just about to start work during the COVID-19 crisis. The challenges, opportunities and fears that they reported suggest that there may be a gap between their expectations and the reality in radiotherapy departments.
We now plan to revisit them remotely wherever they are now working and interview them about their experiences within their first six months. We want to see how they have settled in to their departments, what helped them fit in, what was challenging and what educational, training or mentoring support would help this. We will also undertake group discussions with the staff from three radiotherapy centres in Wales to explore their views of integrating new staff during the pandemic. Recommendations to support new staff and reduce the risk of them leaving work can then be made.
This project is funded by College of Radiographers.