Radiotherapy prostate patient set up

The target learning group of this case study was Year 1 radiography students

In this section

In This Section

Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge

    • Selection of appropriate immobilisation equipment

    • Identification of safe working practices

    • Factors influencing patient set up

  • Skills

    • Alignment of “tattoos” to lasers

    • Orientation of tattoo alignment

    • Patient maneuvering into position

  • Attitudes/Behaviours

    • Communication

    • Team working

    • Safe working

Scenario Environment


University campus ‘SIMRAD’ room


  • Radiotherapy treatment couch

  • Mobile VERT

  • Eclipse planning software

  • Mannequins

  • Radiotherapy immobilisation equipment

  • Actor




DICOM datasets on eclipse and VERT


Actor, Lecturer and Digital learning facilitator (DLF)

Potential Distracters

Other students

Case Introduction

  • Students were introduced to the session through a short presentation and access to the simulation BB site.
  • As this was their first placement, the steps for prostate radiotherapy set ups were explained, discussed and then visualised on a mannequin.
  • Patient safety and preparation factors were discussed such as patient ID, bladder and bowel preparation and communication.

Available Collateral Information

Initial setup

Students were paired together to be the Therapeutic Radiography team.

They then simulated the patient setup, bringing the patient actor into the room, ID-ing, explaining what would happen and then following the steps of a prostate radiotherapy patient set up

  • Alignment of tattoos
  • Performing shift calculations
  • Verifying the set up
  • Explaining the imaging

The rest of the cohort observed the set up and assisted if necessary. Following each set up the students debriefed each other and the patient gave feedback.

Instructions for Personnel

Case introduction for students

Your patient is waiting outside for their radiotherapy. They have followed the bladder and bowel preparation. You need to collect your patient from the waiting room and follow the steps of patient set up remembering to communicate with your patient.

Patient actor

The patient actor had no prior experience of radiotherapy. We explained the radiotherapy set up prior to the students attending, aligned the ‘patient’ on the bed and marked ‘tattoos’ on the patient’s skin with their consent. The patient then waited in the ‘waiting area’ for their treatment. We asked that the patient did not do anything without a prompt from a student, but could replicate some things patients may do during set ups; e.g. trying to help align themselves, chatting to the staff, not understanding an instruction.

Lecturer and DLF

To facilitate the session, observe students and offer guidance, engage students who were not carrying out the setup.

Evaluation Strategy

To evaluate the simulated placement pilot students were asked to complete a pre-placement questionnaire on their first day of placement and a post-placement questionnaire on the last day of their simulation placement.

Questions were related to confidence, understanding, communication with patients/ staff, tattoo alignment and immobilisation equipment selection.

As the focus for the simulation was on prostate patient radiotherapy they were also asked to complete an online quiz focusing on this topic area.

A padlet was set up for students to provide feedback about the sessions and ask any questions.

Feedback was also taken from student’s PebblePad report books where they were asked to reflect on their experience both in the clinical environment and simulation placement.


  • Contributors


    Digital Learning Facilitator (Radiography)

    Joanna McNamara

    Senior Lecturer Radiotherapy and Oncology

    Alex Robinson

    Senior Lecturer Radiotherapy and Oncology

    Trudy Sevens

    Principal Lecturer


    Sheffield Hallam University

    Prostate radiotherapy simulation research project

    Funded under Health Education England’s
    Clinical Placement Expansion Programme.