Caring in therapeutic radiography : an exploration of academic educator perceptions and experiences

Hendry, Julie (2022) Caring in therapeutic radiography : an exploration of academic educator perceptions and experiences. (Ed.D thesis), Kingston University, .


Caring is frequently espoused in healthcare. It is embedded in policy and professional codes of conduct. Since failings in healthcare were investigated and published in the Francis Report, a greater emphasis was placed upon educational providers to ensure caring was part of the curricula. This was to enable the graduation of caring practitioners. Despite attempts to determine the notion of caring in the nursing and medical literature, it remains troublesome and nebulous. In therapeutic radiography there is a paucity of literature leaving the concept of caring mostly unexplored. This suggests a gap in knowledge. Without an understanding of the construct of caring in therapeutic radiography, it could be problematic for educators who must foster caring in students. This study explored the perceptions and experiences of caring with academic therapeutic radiography educators and how these influenced their teaching practice. A descriptive, Husserlian phenomenological study was undertaken. This allowed bracketing, whereby the researcher’s views of caring could be acknowledged and set aside. Semi-structured interviews were transcribed and the modified van Kaam approach utilised for data analysis. Four themes were identified. ‘Being Caring’ related to the caring characteristics and moral virtue of therapeutic radiography educators. Experiences in the lives of participants were considered influential antecedents to ‘Being Caring’. A further important antecedent influencing teaching practice was the previous clinical role. A duality to caring emerged which included ‘Caring For’ and ‘Caring About’. ‘Caring For’ was a task-oriented practical dimension of caring in both clinical and educational settings. ‘Caring About’ was perceived as emotive and feelings focussed. Prominent sub-themes were humanity, relationships and rapport, borne from ‘knowing’ patients and students enabling a ‘connectedness’ with them as individuals. ‘Caring About’ involved behaviours ‘above and beyond’ the essential perfunctory ‘Caring For’. The final theme of ‘Caring in Pedagogy and Curriculum’ involved implicit and explicit aspects. Explicit dimensions of teaching included compassion, empathy and person-centred holistic care. Experiential learning and related reflection were considered opportunities for educators to model caring to students. However implicit role modelling was believed particularly influential in teaching practice. By ‘Caring About’, educators could nurture and enhance caring in students. This was related to the concept of a caring educator facilitating student-centred caring. This research contributes to the knowledge base as the first UK study to explore caring with academic therapeutic radiography educators. Dimensions of ‘Caring For’ and ‘Caring About’ provide a framework through which teaching caring can be facilitated. It provides a new lens to caring in the specific academic setting which is important to teaching practice and the therapeutic radiography profession. Behaviours of the caring educator would enable academic therapeutic radiographers to reflect upon their own professional practice. Findings from this study can be used to better enable caring students entering the clinical setting as practitioners of the future.

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