In a fast-moving health and care environment, radiographers have numerous opportunities to advance their practice and develop their careers. Postgraduate training and the potential for role extension has been available for many years Generally, this facilitates progress into practice educator, advanced clinical practitioner, consultant practitioner or radiography educator roles.
Acquiring extended and advanced skills that go beyond the traditional scope of practice of an entry-level radiographer requires evidence of additional competences. Moving across traditional practice boundaries to meet the changing demands of society has not only enabled radiographers to flourish but has also improved the delivery of health and care during challenging times.
To deliver the skill-mix safely, new benchmarks have been developed with robust governance frameworks to assure employers and patients that an individual has met a required standard. A process for individual accreditation has been supported by the College of Radiographers since 20051. Accreditation is available to diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers and ranges from assistant practice to consultant practice level.
On a wider scale, a multi-professional framework for advanced clinical practice2 sets out the capability requirements for individuals working at advanced level across all health and care professions.
There is an expectation that employers will support the professional development of practitioners to extend and flex their roles to meet changing demands, and there is evidence that the reward for their investment is more effective team working, improved staff retention and better outcomes for patients.
Some radiographers and technologists have progressed their careers slightly differently by choosing to specialise in radiation protection rather than focus on a clinical pathway or a technical modality.
They may be working as radiation protection supervisors/leads or IR(ME)R leads. While their Agenda for Change banding may have changed to reflect their additional responsibilities, they may feel there is little opportunity to achieve further professional recognition of their enhanced skills and experience.
This is a group of experts that organisations and people rely on, and upon whom governance processes depend. Yet when they move jobs, how does a new employer benchmark their acquired skills?
These practitioners may have undertaken postgraduate training across a wide range of topics or developed skills through practical experience and reflective learning. Employers will expect applicants to demonstrate professionalism, which a BSc in radiography will provide, but this may only offer entry-level validation of radiation protection knowledge, either through the therapeutic or diagnostic route.
For lead roles, employers are likely to seek evidence and assurance that an individual has reached an advanced standard of radiation protection knowledge and practice.
The Society is delighted to support a new method of benchmarking professional skills and experience, developed by the Society for Radiological Protection (SRP) and the Radiation Protection Council (RPC).
There are three levels of professional registration
The RPC is the UK’s registration authority for the radiation protection profession and it maintains the register on behalf of the SRP. Application for one of the three titles is via the SRP. To read the standards and access the application process, visit the RPC website .
The SoR would encourage members who are keen to expand their radiation protection knowledge and skills, or to develop their radiation protection career pathway, to consider how membership of the SRP and RPC accreditation may support their professional and career development.
To join the SoR Radiation Protection Forum, a free and safe place for members to chat, share information and find peer support, email Lynda Johnson, professional officer clinical imaging, at [email protected]
Radiographers Co. Accreditation 2021. Available here
Health Education England NEaNI 2017. Multi-Professional Framework for Advanced Clinical Practice in England.