An assistant practitioner who is ‘training all the time’ and has recently been re-accredited by the SCoR, says that constant learning has been the key to working at the top of her scope of practice. She recommends accreditation for all APs.
Wendy Sullivan, who currently works for the Lady McAdden Breast Screening Trust based in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, said: “Having accreditation gives you confidence in your abilities and knowledge. Technology is changing all the time and medical science is advancing at a fast pace. You have to keep up to date to provide the best service you can for your patients.
“When patients attend for a mammogram they will ask you questions. They will have read many different things in the media and online and to be able to answer their questions as well as you are able, you have to maintain your education to be confident that you have accurate and up to date information,” Wendy continued.
“I train all the time, reading articles, maintaining my CPD and attending study days and training courses. Training and accreditation improves the quality of your work and this benefits you, your colleagues, the clinicians and, most importantly, the patients.”
Wendy has worked as an assistant practitioner in mammography since 2007 after completing her studies at Anglian Ruskin University. She then completed a foundation degree in breast imaging at the University of London, St George's Hospital Medical School. She has multiple roles in the department and has managerial and clinical responsibilities.
“My mammography role is something I do two to three days a week, carrying out both routine imaging and, when we have a recall clinic, more advanced imaging in line with my scope of practice” she said.
“My managerial role includes supervision of the administrative team as well as maintaining business records. This role involves attending board meetings on a regular basis and reporting to them about issues which occur at the unit. I am also the radiation protection supervisor.”
Wendy is also a Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered manager and is expected to maintain the unit’s standards expected by the CQC.
“My advice to assistant practitioners is be confident and go for accreditation, it keeps you in touch with what’s going on in mammography,” she said. “You do have to put the time in and submit work but you have two years in which to complete everything. I would also advise assistant practitioners to take on other roles as I have; it adds more interest and variety.”
Louise Coleman, the Society’s professional officer for education and accreditation, commented, “Congratulations to Wendy. She showcases the excellent work assistant practitioners do, as well as the diversity of their roles and abilities. She’s undertaking a valuable role which will lead to improved experiences for patients and service users.”