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10.3. Advanced Practitioner Case Study 1

I became interested in radiography as a teenager and always felt that radiotherapy was the best choice for me. I spent my clinical training over two sites (Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals) and this meant that, from the start of my career, I was used to using different types of radiotherapy equipment. After qualifying in 1998 I spent the first seven years of my career working in a number of different centres, both in the UK and in Australia. This helped to consolidate and extend my professional knowledge and skills, particularly in the area of treatment delivery. During this time I was fortunate to have worked in centres that were at the forefront of radiotherapy and had implemented techniques such as IMRT and stereotactic radiosurgery. I was also exposed to a wide variety of methods of image guided radiotherapy (IGRT).

In 2005, I obtained a band 7 position at The Royal Marsden Hospital (Fulham Road) and began post graduate education. Over the next five years I completed the vast majority of my MSc and also gained further experience in advanced radiotherapy practice. I was also fortunate enough to be a member of the implementation team for the Exactrac system which was the first in the United Kingdom. This gave me invaluable knowledge and experience on the implementation of new technology and the important role that radiographers have in this process. 

During my time at Fulham road I had two papers published. First, in 2005, an overview of Gamma Knife radiosurgery for Synergy Imaging & Therapy Practice and then a paper on the potential role of adenovirus and Herpes Simplex Virus in the treatment of advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. This was published in the Journal of Radiotherapy in Practice in September 2009. 

In November 2009 I joined a brand new radiotherapy department at The London Clinic as the Clinical and Technical Development Superintendent. My first responsibility was the radiographer implementation of the CyberKnife and the training of all grades of radiographers in the use of the system. Since the opening of the department my role has developed more in line with that of a traditional treatment floor superintendent but my current specialities and interests include stereotactic, IGRT, CPD and research. 

In 2011, I completed my MSc and collaborated with a colleague in the radiology department in publishing an article in Synergy Imaging & Therapy practice entitled The Multidisciplinary Implementation of Radiosurgery for Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations at The London Clinic. I successfully submitted a poster to the 2012 College of Radiographers Annual Radiotherapy Conference; Patient Selection Criteria for CyberKnife to the Pancreas and Spine, based on my dissertation.

My current position entails some managerial responsibilities. I supervise junior grades in the transition from band 5 to band 6 through the completion of a competency based work book. In addition I provide education on CPD and research. I am currently supporting several research projects within the department being carried out by radiographers.

I provide information and guidance to other CyberKnife users and deliver feedback to the CyberKnife manufacturer at UK users meetings. I also provide peer review and support to other radiographers of similar grades in other departments. The London Clinic frequently hosts visitors and we are a popular site for students looking for elective placements. 

I am the clinical liaison radiographer with City University for whom we are a placement site. This role led to me being asked to write and present lectures for undergraduate students at City University on a variety of topics. I have also written an online lecture on stereotactic radiotherapy for post graduate students at Sheffield Hallam University.

I gained accreditation as an advanced practitioner in 2010 and believe that I am the first radiotherapy member in the UK to receive this accreditation.

Stuart McCaighy, Clinical and Technical Development Superintendent, Radiotherapy Department, The London Clinic


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