Professional expertise for radiation therapists in Africa

07 May 2018

The radiation therapist (RTT) is a practitioner who must learn to take responsibility as an autonomous professional within a collaborative multi-professional team. A case study of international students on fellowship studies to a South African Higher Education Institution was used as the lens to explore the development of professional expertise in RTTs. Documents and semi-structured interviews generated textual data that was semantically analysed. The findings are presented as a discussion of the themes that emerged from the text data; (1) autonomy in a team, (2) collaboration facilitates learning, (3) the need for professional competence, (4) reflective practice and (5) participatory learning. The paper offers the interpretation of professional competence as a practitioner who has applicable knowledge, clinical and generic competence as well as appropriate behaviour and attitudes. It is proposed that a collaborative, integrated curriculum meets the need for the education of RTTs on the African continent. In such an environment optimised learning is facilitated by access to good clinical role models, the development of skills toward reflective practice and student participation in the learning environment.