There has been some great work in promoting therapeutic radiography in the past year, however, the promotion of therapeutic radiography should not just be the responsibility of the professional body, Health Education England or fellows.
We would like to encourage all therapeutic radiographers to become ambassadors for the profession and raise awareness of therapeutic radiography. In doing this we will ensure we are able to have more far reaching impact.
Being an ambassador for the profession could take various forms, depending on your role, time commitment and motivation. You could target schools, colleges and further education providers to do talks, posters and help offer departmental visits to spread the word. Or for those that present work at conferences, publish papers and write articles, you should always ensure you tell the audience you are a therapeutic radiographer, or qualified as a therapeutic radiographer.
You do not need to be in a senior role to promote therapeutic radiography - you can simply build it into your everyday practice, for example by making sure all service users know that you are a therapeutic radiographer and that they do not mistake you for a nurse or a doctor.
Do you always introduce yourself when in a multidisciplinary meeting as a therapeutic radiographer or add your protected title on your email signature? We have both reflected on our practice and have recognised that we have certainly missed many simple opportunities to promote the profession and identified these ten simple top tips for promoting the profession:
Multidisciplinary team introductions - always introduce yourself as a therapeutic radiographer
Email signature - try to include therapeutic radiographer in your job title signature or use a generic email banner advertising you are a therapeutic radiographer
Name badges - include therapeutic radiographer on yours. Make sure the HR department advertises jobs using the title therapeutic radiographer
Use our protected title at all times - ‘Hello, may name is Jo and I am a therapeutic radiographer’, rather than radiation therapist, radiotherapist or therapy radiographer.
First contact with patients - always introduce yourself as a therapeutic radiographer
Conference presentations - include that you are a therapeutic radiographer, even if your departmental title omits it, for example Radiotherapy Review Radiographer
Any media, including blogs, professional social media - say that you are a therapeutic radiographer and explain what that means. People will not always ask the question, or may have misconceptions of what a therapeutic radiographer does.
Ensure patient literature always refers to therapeutic radiographer and if it does not then try to get it changed for republication.
Ensure therapeutic radiography is featured on your organisation website. Consider case studies featuring the profession.
Use every available opportunity to celebrate and educate others on the diversity of roles we have and have the potential to do. We are not just button pushers!
Jo McNamara and Hazel Pennington are National Macmillan Therapeutic Radiography Clinical Fellows. Artwork by Paul Ryding.