Clinical implementation of dynamic intensity-modulated radiotherapy: radiographers' perspectives

McNair, H A, Francis, G and Balyckyi, J (2004) Clinical implementation of dynamic intensity-modulated radiotherapy: radiographers' perspectives. British Journal of Radiology, 77(918), pp. 493-498. ISSN (print) 0007-1285


The ability of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) to sculpt the dose distribution closely around the tumour volume has the potential to have a major impact on radiotherapy clinical practice. However, dynamic IMRT treatment delivery differs from that of conventional treatment because of the constantly moving multileaf collimators (MLCs) and higher monitor units (MUs) required. The implementation of new technology can be affected by the users response. Radiographers' attitudes regarding technology and their perceptions of the clinical implementation of IMRT were explored using a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews. 16 radiographers were interviewed and data was analysed using a framework analysis to identify themes and categories. The majority of radiographers (12/16) demonstrated positive attitudes regarding technology. The introduction of IMRT was seen to be stimulating and motivating. Negative aspects were associated with increased stress from learning new skills and the additional pressure of the increased workload. Although there were contradictory views regarding the effect of the increased use of technology on the patient-radiographer relationship, technological skills and patient care were not found to be mutually exclusive. Radiographers' perceptions regarding the clinical implementation of IMRT appeared to be influenced by their mainly positive attitudes regarding technology. With the current problems of recruitment and retention of radiographers, full exploitation of modern technology could be used to improve job satisfaction. However, careful integration is required to balance training needs with service demands.

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