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Assistant Radiographic Practice (Screening Mammography) (CertHE)

Entry year


The Certificate in Higher Education in Assistant Radiographic Practice (Screening Mammography) aims to deliver practical knowledge and skills in breast imaging practice for screening purposes.

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Course overview

Our one-year programme is the only course of its kind in South Wales and is accredited by the Society of Radiographers and is an exciting opportunity to extend your role as an NHS support worker to become an Assistant Practitioner and a valued member of the breast screening team.

As a screening mammography assistant practitioner you will be responsible for providing care for all women undergoing screening examinations of the breast. By the end of the programme you will have a thorough knowledge of the professional and clinical aspects of assistant radiographic practice in the breast screening environment, including an awareness of the wide range of imaging technologies in use today.

People are at the heart of our practice and the development of skills to aid your care of individuals is a central focus of the programme.  The School provides an interdisciplinary environment, with opportunities for shared learning and inter-professional education. Therefore, opportunities to learn with and from other healthcare students, especially in respect of person-centred care will be part of the programme.

The Certificate in Higher Education Assistant Radiographic Practice (Screening mammography) programme is designed to educate practitioners for a challenging and changing career. It is a blended programme that will enable you to study on a block release basis whilst still remaining in work.

Assistant practitioners perform protocol-limited tasks under the direction and supervision of a radiographer. As an Assistant Practitioner in Screening Mammography you will perform basic mammographic examinations within asymptomatic breast screening departments. You will also work on mobile screening vans, assisting radiographers in providing and maintaining an efficient breast screening service within the NHS Health Board’s agreed protocols.

You will receive close academic support from experienced personal tutors and be taught and supported by experienced staff whilst sharing ideas within a close-knit class.  You will also benefit from placements supported by experienced radiography placement educators while undertaking clinical practice in your employing organisation.

The programme aims to produce clinical imaging assistant practitioners who:

  • recognise the importance of knowledge and understanding to their current and future professional practice;
  • develop the skills necessary to deliver high quality care to service users;
  • integrate their academic and clinical learning effectively;
  • develop their knowledge and understanding within an evidence based framework

Distinctive features

The day-release nature of the programme allows continuous link between theory and practice, while the split between clinical and academic components enhances the acquisition of practical skills and allows continuous student exposure to an appropriate range of work-based experiences

Applying for 2019 or 2020

UCAS codeDirect entry
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration1 years
ModeFull time

Entry requirements

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Healthcare Sciences admissions criteria pages.

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

Any specific GCSE requirements (other than standard Grade C in English): A minimum of five GCSEs grade A-C or grade 8-4 including English, Maths, Physics and one other science.   Applicants who have not followed a traditional or focused programme of study will be considered on individual merits. Selection or interview process: Applicants are invited to apply to be a student assistant practitioner by the employing institution.  Candidates that wish to apply for the post are interviewed by a panel consisting of both relevant academic and organisational staff. Additional Requirements To enter the programme you must be employed in a student AP or support worker position in a breast screening department. There is no minimum experience requirement. During your application to the programme you will be required to demonstrate that you meet the SCoR (2013) good health and character, fitness to practise requirements by providing a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate. All successful applicants will be required to have a satisfactory health screening prior to enrolment on this programme which is conducted independently by the University’s Occupational Health Department. There will be a need to adhere to any immunisation requirements identified. Full guidance on this will be provided at application stage. 

Selection

The programme is aimed at recruiting Radiography Support Workers employed by NHS Trusts in Wales. The recruitment process involves joint selection interviews by Cardiff University and respective Radiology Services Managers or their appointed representatives.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition fees are funded by the Workforce, Education and Development Services (WEDS). Students in NHS employment will continue to receive their salaries from their employer. Applicants domiciled in Wales with NHS employment as a support worker are eligible for funding.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

NHS employment is a required part of this course. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

Additional costs

If not available from the employing organisation, applicants will be required to meet the costs of obtaining an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate if this is not already held for their employment.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

The programme is modular in format and consists of academic and clinical modules.  The programme consists of 120 credits of 4 x 30 credit modules.

The academic year consists of 2 academic (16 weeks total) and 2 formal clinical blocks (14 weeks total). Student attendance at all sessions is mandatory for both academic and clinical blocks.  As employees of external HNS organisations, students have an annual leave entitlement for their respective organisation and will therefore also attend clinical practice during University holiday periods. 

The number of hours /credits for the clinical based module is, at 460, increased in comparison with the 300 hours expected for academic based modules. Completing the 460 hours enables the students to have sufficient time and experience in each of the relevant practice areas to develop the competencies required by the SCoR

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

The programme runs over a calendar year and comprises 25% academic-based and 75% work-based learning.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The programme has been designed to focus on the integrated relationship between all of the subjects and topics with a key focus on application of theory to the practice of screening mammography in all modules.

Due to the practical nature of mammography, the programme has been purposefully structured to enable 40% of your time to be spent in clinical practice, facilitating the practical integration of theory to clinical practice.

Diverse learning and teaching methods are used throughout to reflect module content, students' developing knowledge and growing expertise. All modules have a formalised teaching and learning structure which employ a range of formal lectures, tutorials, workshops and practical skills sessions. You will also undertake directed self-study to encourage development of the student centred approach to learning, required to maintain professional competencies and CPD.

Practical workshops utilising imaging simulation software will help you to develop skills and consolidate your learning.

Resources will be available online and during lectures and tutorials to help you and you will be actively encouraged to seek evidence from literature to help support and inform your ideas. 

Opportunities to hear directly from service users and carers will be provided throughout your study to enable you to understand experiences from the perspective of those that have a personal insight.  This will help to develop your professional practice.

In keeping with the professional clinical environment, great emphasis is placed on working in a multi-disciplinary team. There are opportunities embedded in the programme for shared and inter-professional education and you will have the opportunity to engage with students from a range of other healthcare disciplines.

This programme offers elements of provision through the medium of Welsh if you are Welsh speaking. You will have the opportunity to have a Welsh speaking personal tutor and have your personal tutor meetings conducted through the medium of Welsh.  You can request Welsh speaking clinical placements and you will also be able to submit coursework and have feedback and submit summative assignments in Welsh.

How will I be supported?

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your studies who you will have regular meetings with. They will provide pastoral support and academic guidance throughout the programme. In addition, you will be assigned an academic supervisor who will support you in the development of your research project.

On placement you will be supported by departmental clinical staff, practice educators and clinical lecturers.  A named clinical tutor is assigned to each placement department.

Additional support will be provided by the Student Support centre for advice and guidance, financial, counselling and well-being, disability and international student support. Further support can be accessed via the Student Advice service at Student Union for independent advice on university procedures and advocacy while the Skills Development Service and the library can offer guidance and tuition for all aspects of academic and skills development.

You will have access through the Learning Central Virtual Learning Environment to relevant multimedia material including presentations, lecture handouts, lecture capture recordings of lectures, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion forums. The virtual learning environment which is accessible via desktop and mobile devices, allowing you to access electronic resources from anywhere. Dedicated computer labs, student study rooms, campus-wide WiFi networks, printing facilities and a dedicated Healthcare library are available year-round. Staff are available onsite to assist students and provide support and advice.

You will have individual access to dedicated diagnostic imaging simulation software, available on any windows based device enables students to practice and undertake self or tutor directed learning tasks, as often as required for their own learning needs, in either their own or self-study time.  

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed in a variety of ways throughout your study to make sure that you have the opportunity to learn and improve upon your formative assessments and to showcase your skills and knowledge base through different assessment methods.

The summative assessment of the programme incorporates written assignments, project work, formal unseen examinations, seen examinations, presentations, objective structured practical assessment (OSPE), practical clinical assessment and assessment of professional behaviours.

Assessment is designed to ensure that you have attained knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of assistant radiographic practice in clinical imaging. Clinical education is assessed by the use of a clinical competency portfolio and observed assessment of practical clinical skills.

Summative clinical assessments will be undertaken by either two clinical lecturers or a clinical lecturer and a practice educator.  Assessment by two experienced staff using a detailed marking outlines and criteria ensures consistency in marking across sites.

Feedback
We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats. These will include oral feedback during tutorials, feedback provided during lectures, written feedback provided through  You will be assessed in a variety of ways throughout your study to make sure that you have the opportunity to learn and improve upon your formative assessments and to showcase your skills and knowledge base through different assessment methods.

The summative assessment of the programme incorporates written assignments, project work, formal unseen examinations, seen examinations, presentations, objective structured practical assessment (OSPE), practical clinical assessment and assessment of professional behaviours.

Assessment is designed to ensure that you have attained knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of assistant radiographic practice in clinical imaging. Clinical education is assessed by the use of a clinical competency portfolio and observed assessment of practical clinical skills.

Summative clinical assessments will be undertaken by either two clinical lecturers or a clinical lecturer and a practice educator.  Assessment by two experienced staff using a detailed marking outlines and criteria ensures consistency in marking across sites.

Feedback
We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats. These will include oral feedback during tutorials, feedback provided during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework through Feedback Studio. 

You will be provided with summary written feedback in relation to examinations and you can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.  During clinical placements you will be supported on your progress by mentors/clinical teachers who will provide verbal and written feedback on your clinical performance. 

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of successful completion of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below and are aligned with the Society and College of Radiographers Education and Career Framework for the Radiography Workforce (2013).

Knowledge & Understanding:

  • Apply the core knowledge and skills associated with safe and effective assistant radiographic practice in screening mammography, with due regard to radiation protection, organisational assistant practitioner protocols and the ethical, social, political and legal aspects of care.

Intellectual Skills:

  • Appreciate and understand research evidence including healthcare guidelines, and apply to individuals’ needs and personal/professional experience to provide effective practice in line with clinical guidelines and protocols.

Professional Practical Skills:

  • Adhere to the role of operator within IRMER (2017 or subsequent amendments) as required within professional practice.
  • Be aware of the impact of culture, equality and diversity on practice and ensure the provision of patient centred care in a non-discriminatory manner.
  • Work effectively with all members of the Radiology team (Inter-professional) as well as other healthcare professionals (cross-professional boundaries).

Transferable/Key Skills:

  • Demonstrate a wide range of effective communication skills, including verbal, visual and written, and adapt these skills to ensure a collaborative approach to giving and receiving of information to a diverse range of audiences.
  • Apply effective reasoning skills in the application of professional activities within the scope of practice as defined within the employing organisation.
  • In accordance with SCoR requirements, take responsibility for own lifelong learning within a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) framework.

What do current students say about this Programme?

Previous programme evaluations have been positive several assistant practitioners have gone to study for the BSc (Hons) Radiography degree at Cardiff and other universities.

What do employers think about this Programme?

Feedback from employers suggested satisfaction that the programme prepared assistant practitioners who were appropriately prepared to perform their role and meet the expectations of their scope of practice.

Mode of delivery

Some employers suggested a preference for some aspects of the programme to be delivered by distance learning. This view was seen by employers as advantageous for those students whose base hospitals are geographically far from Cardiff University, for example North Wales. The programme team appreciates the demands placed on such students in terms of travel time, distance and financial cost to the employer. However, the team feels that the regular face-to-face contact afforded by the 2 academic days per week in term time provided continuous academic support and far outweighed the inconvenience and discomfort of travel to and from Cardiff.

Scope of practice

In view of the diversity of radiographic practice, increasing service demand, and the need to improve patient flow, some radiology services managers would welcome the development of appropriate assistant practitioner modules in techniques / technologies such as dental radiography, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

On completion of the course, and depending on the chosen  pathway, Assistant Practitioners will be able to seek employment in one of the following areas of radiographic practice:

  • Screening Mammography.
  • Diagnostic Radiography

Assistant Practitioners in screening mammography perform basic mammographic examinations within the asymptomatic breast screening programme. Working on mobile screening vans, they assist radiographers in providing and maintaining an efficient breast screening service.

Placements

Students will undertake required clinical placement learning with a minimum number of 460 attendance hours required by all students. Placement lengths allow students sufficient opportunity to develop the required skills but also provides some flexibility should they need to pay back hours.

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Applying for 2018 or 2019