Blending work related learning with distance education in an Australia radiation therapy advanced practice curriculum

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Abstract

Advanced practice for radiation therapists has been a part of the international landscape for several years; however formal implementation into the Australian health care system is yet to happen. Despite this, three short course radiation therapy advanced practitioner programs have been established by an Australian tertiary institution in response to clinical service needs at several organisations. This paper describes the rationale for curriculum design and development of the program materials, the small-scale implementation of the programs at pilot sites, and the evolution of the curriculum to be available to registered radiation therapists nationally. Each program has been designed around a specific clinical role, where flexibility of delivery to busy practitioners was central to the decision to offer them via distance education. The curriculum comprises theoretical units of study which run in parallel to and underpin clinical practice units, where advanced competence in the specific area of practice is overseen by an experienced radiation oncologist mentor. Given the nature of the disparate clinical services requiring an advanced radiation therapy practitioner, the workplace learning component of the course is individually negotiated at a local level. Outcomes suggest that the flexible clinically based training underpinned by a distance education academic curriculum is able to support the development of advanced radiation therapy practitioners responsive to local service need, and ultimately may improve the patient experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalRadiography
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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