Late non-physiological impacts of Covid-19 on radiography education

Jonathan McConnell, Sonyia McFadden, Martyn Floyd, Wiam Elshami, Mohammed Mahmoud Abuzaid, Lesley Leishman, Karen Eckloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We congratulate contributors to ‘Radiography’ on providing international insights into staff and student radiographer attitudes
and experiences for safe clinical working and learning during the
first wave of the pandemic.1e9 Through identifying concerns
around student experiences, positive responses have been outlined
by universities through the adoption of synchronous and asynchronous online education and additional simulation activities to
replace lost clinical time.10 Literature has also recognised both staff
and student anxieties experienced whilst adjusting to new ways of
working during the first phase of the pandemic.1e5
Research has shown there is noteworthy resilience and concern
within student cohorts11e13.
The latest global spike of the pandemic
further influences departmental operations, resulting in an extension to adjusted work approaches. This, in our collective understanding, is impacting on students’ clinical exposure and their
relationship with staff in supporting their clinical learning.
Compared with the first spike in the pandemic, students may
have experienced a significant impact on their clinical experience,
making the application of the beneficially reported UK HCPC emergency register more difficult to use safely this year.12 Consequently,
we hypothesise that longer preceptorships may be necessary, as the
almost qualified student recoups the lost or adjusted clinical
experience.
There are other long term questions to consider that have not
yet been published/investigated, to address demands on staff and
students during pandemic recovery. Vaccination is the main
weapon of dealing with the pandemic in a ‘return to normal’
outlook; however this is by no means complete with new variants
or infection spikes potentially impacting upon wider healthcare demands. Waiting times are reported as increasing significantly,
though focussed demand on acute events or cancer treatment are
now being addressed as services initiate their recovery strategies.14
Consequently overall clinical learning may continue to be affected.
To deal with the continued effects of the pandemic on radiography education, several questions need to be answered:
Is ‘burnout’ affecting teaching staff who are delivering virtual
learning?
Is clinical experience of students affected, and does it continue
to influence student preparation?
Has secondary school and college assessment impacted on
school leaver performance at university, and could this influence course or profession retention?
How far has the agenda for service development been hampered
through loss of postgraduate education, notwithstanding the
positive impact of on-line delivery?15e17
Is clinical staff‘burnout’impacting students' clinical experience?18
Will there be a future issue in recruitment to the profession?
Could an increase in mature student enrolment impact the
workforce several years in the future through increased clinical
staff retirements when this was not expected?
What might the positive and negative factors be in recruiting
more mature students for service delivery and educationally?
What has the profession learned for local, regional and even
national service delivery strategies and resilience generation?
With our current and proposed pandemic learning, the radiography professional bodies must retain a watchful eye on developments for continued strategic planning to maintain profession
and service resilience. Perhaps a special issue of ‘Radiography’
could address these ideas?
Yours sincerely,
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages1
JournalRadiography
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Radiographer
  • education
  • COVID
  • preceptorship
  • practice community
  • leadership

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