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8.2. Indicative Curriculum for Assistant Practitioner

Assistant practitioners should have the opportunity to gain appropriate knowledge, understanding and skills to enable them to achieve the outcomes within their scope of practice:

Behavioural and Social Science

Caring for patients undergoing imaging and /or radiotherapy
Patient centred practice, models of partnership working, enablers and barriers to working collaboratively
The importance of self, self-awareness in developing and managing relationships 
Emotional intelligence and resilience
Communication in context; patients, carers, other Health and Social Care professionals
Information and support for patients, carers and significant others
Legislative, policy and ethical frameworks that underpin, inform and influence radiographic practice
The role of the assistant practitioner, the role of the professional body and the code of professional conduct
Healthcare regulation and voluntary registration   
Evidence for imaging and/or radiotherapy practice
Reflective practice, models of reflection

Physical Science and Technology

X-ray production and interactions of photons with matter, related to image quality and radiation dose
Scatter properties related to image quality and radiation dose
Processing and imaging systems
Image acquisition, storage and retrieval
Imaging exposure factors related to image quality and radiation dose
Principles of radiobiology; stochastic and non-stochastic, genetic and somatic effects of radiation
Principles and application of radiation protection and the measurement of radiation dose
Principles of radiation dose minimisation and the ALARP ideal
Current European and UK legislation and regulations pertaining to the medical use of radiations
The roles of operator, practitioner and referrer as identified in IR(ME)R 2000 and its subsequent amendments
Applications of technological equipment used for imaging and/or radiotherapy
Principles of information and digital technologies
Quality assurance and control

Clinical Context and Applications (Radiotherapy)    

Normal and abnormal anatomy and pathophysiology with  particular emphasis on the development of cancer
Cell structure and cell division
Common types of cancer, histology, staging and grading
Methods of spread and their significance for treatment choice
The incidence and prevalence of cancer in the UK and worldwide
Causes of cancer; genetic, viral, lifestyle factors
Imaging for cancer; diagnostic, pre-treatment and treatment monitoring
Treatments for cancer; the relative roles of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy
Pathways of care and the role of the Multidisciplinary Team Meeting
Radical and palliative treatment
Treatment modalities; external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), brachytherapy, radionuclides, particle beams; electron, neutron and proton therapies
Side effects of radiotherapy and their management
Use of drugs commonly encountered within radiotherapy and chemotherapy
Supply and administration of medicines; Patient Specific Directions
Principles of treatment simulation and planning
Outlining and voluming; clinical target volume (CTV), planning target volume (PTV), organs at risk
Dose calculations
Principles of immobilisation, immobilisation devices 
On line / off line imaging for monitoring and verification
Mandatory Training

Clinical Context and Applications (Imaging) 

Normal and abnormal anatomy and pathophysiology from fetal life to old age with a particular emphasis on its demonstration on diagnostic images
Surface anatomy, radiographic terminology
Factors affecting the quality and acceptability of diagnostic images
Structure and terminology in diagnostic image reports
Mandatory training
Manipulation of exposure and image recording parameters
Use of drugs commonly encountered within imaging settings
Supply and administration of medicines; Patient Specific Directions
Plain film examinations to include, where appropriate and authorised:

  • appendicular skeleton
  • axial skeleton; excluding the skull and cervical spine  in trauma
  • chest
  • abdomen
  • mammography
  • dental radiography excluding cone beam CT
  • DEXA

Additionally, where appropriate, assisting in fluoroscopic procedures
Computed Tomography:

  • basic principles of Computed Tomography
  • positioning of the patient for a range of CT procedures; standard head CT and CT examinations of the spine, chest and abdomen

Clinical Context and Applications (Ultrasound)

Sound; characteristics and properties
Principles of ultrasound imaging

The activity of the assistant practitioner in ultrasound should be restricted to undertaking limited, single condition and simple screening ultrasound examinations performed to an agreed protocol and under the supervision of a registered sonographer. The assistant practitioner may undertake other duties such as supporting other sonographers, undertaking examinations and the routine quality control of equipment. Any limitations of the role of the assistant practitioner must be made absolutely clear. It is not appropriate for assistant practitioners to discuss clinical matters with patients or clients and, if unexpected findings arise during any examination the assistant practitioner is authorised to carry out, they must seek immediate advice from the sonographer supervising their practice. (Scope of Practice of Assistant Practitioners (2012)) (accessed Nov 2012)

Clinical Context and Applications (Nuclear Medicine)

Physical properties of radionuclides and radiopharmaceuticals
Principles of radionuclide imaging: gamma camera; collimator design, display units
Principles of radiation protection for unsealed sources
Techniques for radionuclide imaging
The supply and administration of medicines

Clinical Context and Applications (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Basic principles of magnetic resonance imaging
Positioning of the patient and ancillary equipment for standard examinations

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