Radiography

Radiography is the skilled application of controlled amounts of radiation in order to gain a medically useful result, either as an aid to diagnosis or as treatment for specific diseases. Radiography is a caring profession which also calls for considerable technological expertise. The profession has two branches, diagnostic radiography and therapeutic radiography.

 

Radiography is a core component of the NHS and is one of the most rapidly changing allied health professions. It is widely accepted that radiography will remain an essential component of healthcare for many years to come and that the demand for radiographers will continue for the foreseeable future. Pre-registration ‘fast-track’ courses have been developed for graduates wishing to enter into these rewarding careers.

Recent modernisation within the NHS has raised the profile and extended the scope of practice for allied health professionals. Radiographers, as one of the fifteen registered allied health professions groups, are now required to build and extend their scope of professional expertise within a multi-professional setting. Radiographers are required to engage in lifelong learning to support service delivery in response to the healthcare needs of today and for the future. Our post-registration modules and courses in mammography, medical imaging and radiotherapy have been designed with this in mind.

Why QMU?

QMU provides a wide range of academic expertise and facilities as well as a stimulating student environment. Radiography undergraduate courses have been delivered at QMU since 1993, and postgraduate courses since 2003. Radiography staff have strong links with employers, are active in clinical research, and play a significant role in the development of the professions of diagnostic and therapeutic radiography.

At postgraduate level, we offer the following courses:

  • MSc Diagnostic Radiography (Pre-Registration)
  • MSc Mammography
  • MSc Medical Imaging
  • MSc Radiotherapy and Oncology
  • MSc Radiotherapy (Post-Registration)

In 2016, we launched a new post-registration MSc Medical Imaging course with named routes: Ultrasound; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Computed Tomography; Image Interpretation. These specialist routes will be of interest to radiographers. Other health care professionals (midwives, podiatrists, physiotherapists) may be interested in the stand-alone modules for CPD purposes or to attain a PgCert or a PgDip.

Professional placements

Diagnostic radiography students at QMU have access to facilities within the clinical departments of Lothian, Borders, Tayside, Forth Valley, Ayrshire and Arran, and Fife Health Boards whilst therapeutic radiography students have access to cancer centres in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Glasgow, thus reinforcing the collaborative ventures between QMU and healthcare providers.

Students enrolled onto pre-registration courses leading to qualification in diagnostic radiography or therapeutic radiography will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) on successful completion. This is required for employment within the National Health Service (NHS).

Our approach to learning and teaching

Students will bring with them an extensive range of skills and experiences, and so a number of different approaches will be used to facilitate learning. The teaching and learning strategies are designed to enable independent progress within a supportive framework. The student is placed at the centre of the learning process and is expected to take overall responsibility for her/his learning. These strategies will emphasise the development of critical, innovative and creative ways of thinking. To ensure that current issues are analysed and debated, relevant personnel and specialist lecturers bring academic knowledge, research and professional expertise to the delivery of modules. By sharing in this breadth of expertise, students will be able to enhance their status as reflective practitioners and to develop their personal, academic and professional skills to master’s level.

Facilities

Radiography has two dedicated specialist rooms on campus to facilitate teaching and learning of the clinical, imaging and planning aspects of radiography. One is a simulated clinical environment and the other is a resource room which houses computer workstations for individual or small-group activities, and radiotherapy planning. Subject-specific facilities for diagnostic radiography include:

■ a diagnostic imaging facility that mirrors basic equipment that students will encounter on placement;

■ a Siemens X-ray unit which has a rise-and-fall, floating-top table, floor-mounted tube and erect bucky device. It is equipped with an automatic exposure device and programmable generator;

■ a Fuji computed radiography (CR) system with a selection of image receptors and two high-resolution workstations. As required, the area is equipped with radiation safety devices and its use is governed by Local Radiation Safety Rules;

■ an ultrasound unit which can be used by clinical lecturers to demonstrate the physical properties of ultrasound in addition to the acquisition of images;

■ a variety of positioning aids, anatomical models, osteology specimens and anthropomorphic phantoms are used for clinical simulation, and

■ particularly relevant, is a life-size, articulated model containing various pathologies such as fractures, foreign bodies and soft tissue injuries.

Subject-specific facilities for therapeutic radiography include the following:

■ a radiotherapy treatment couch with setup lateral and sagittal lasers;

■ a variety of immobilisation equipment which matches standard clinical equipment, allowing students more time to familiarise themselves with concepts of patient positioning than is possible in a busy clinical environment;

■ anthropomorphic phantoms (which are used in the above process);

■ smart boards - simultaneous use of the SmartBoard in this room to select and display images allows students to link knowledge of anatomy to practical visualisation of the patient position, and

■ dedicated computers house an Eclipse 3D radiotherapy treatment planning system.

Staff

All our staff are qualified and HCPC registered radiographers and maintain their contact with the NHS either as practising clinicians, honorary radiographers, clinical liaison or staff trainers. A number of staff have an active participation in professional matters both at local and national level in a variety of interest areas including undergraduate education, continuing professional education, quality assurance and audit, industrial relations and professional practice and research ethics.

Radiography staff have all been part of programme teams in validations at either honours or master’s levels. Some staff also act as external examiners for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in other universities in the UK and Ireland.

Research

The focus of research within the School of Health Sciences is on applied research that directly informs teaching and is of relevance and utility to the NHS and the wider public. The aim is to ensure that research outputs impact directly on the provision of health care and/or health improvement at a local, national and where possible, international level.

Radiography staff are involved with research within imaging and cancer centres throughout Scotland and contributed directly to the 2001 and the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. Members of staff within the School of Health Sciences and within the subject area of Radiography have been successful in securing research grant applications and have been involved in collaborative research projects. This level of staff expertise is regularly sought after for conference presentation and has been recognised through journal and book publication.

Career prospects

Radiography is a fast-moving and continually changing profession, and long-term career prospects include clinical work, research, teaching and management. During the course of education, training and clinical practice, radiographers develop a wide range of transferable skills including pyscho-social, organisational, managerial, technical and scientific skills. This ensures individuals are prepared for work in any situation that best suits their skills and interests. This can extend to general management at all levels within and outside the NHS, in industry and in higher education.

 

 

 

Find out more information on how to apply for a course at QMU.