Purpose: Deregulation, reduced operating costs, new ways of organising the professional workforce, increasing competition within the healthcare sector and increasing consumer expectations are factors that challenge any health profession. This paper, which forms part of the first author's doctoral study on continuing professional development in medical radiation science, details the journey of medical radiation science as a profession in Australia. Specifically, the paper examines the challenges confronting practitioners in their struggle to be recognised as a profession in its own right. Findings: The challenges facing medical radiation science practitioners included low professional self-esteem and apathy, which adversely affects their willingness and ability to continue learning and to assume increasing work responsibilities which are essential attributes of a health professional. Low self-esteem and apathy are also preventing practitioners from venturing beyond their comfort zone of daily workplace practices. This ultimately impacts on their ability to advance clinical practice in response to a constantly changing health care system. Conclusion: Despite the current difficulties confronting the profession, it is possible for practitioners to assume a more proactive role in moving the profession forward. As part of the solution to improving practitioners' low self-esteem and to rekindling their enthusiasm for the profession, the authors propose that continuing professional development programs should go beyond simply assisting practitioners in advancing clinical competence. They should also aim to empower practitioners to develop their reflective skills. Reflection is now widely promoted in healthcare professions as one of the means of enhancing clinical practice and improving healthcare delivery. To this end, educational designers should incorporate reflection into professional development programs as both a learning goal and a strategy. Helping practitioners to become more reflective provides an effective way to address the major challenges that are currently confronting the medical radiation science profession.
- Continuing professional development
- Medical radiation science