Evaluating medical radiation technologists’ image interpretation accuracy and clinical practice relative to their postgraduate educational experience in New Zealand

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Kumar, Reshmi
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Master of Health Science (Medical Radiation Technology
Unitec Institute of Technology
Murphy, Fred
Yielder, Jill
Masters Dissertation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
medial radiation technologists
image interpretation
postgraduate training
trauma image interpretation
emergency departments (EDs)
New Zealand
rural communities
remote health services
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Kumar, R. D. (2007). Evaluating medical radiation technologists’ image interpretation accuracy and clinical practice relative to their postgraduate educational experience in New Zealand. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Health Science, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
This study focuses on the effect of postgraduate education on image interpretation of trauma to the appendicular skeleton from a New Zealand (NZ) perspective. It evaluates the changes in the reporting accuracy and the clinical practice of ten Medical Radiation Technologists (MRTs) who underwent the educational intervention. This is in context with the steps taken by the MRT counterparts in the United Kingdom (UK) to extend their role in trauma image interpretation. The study further addresses the issues that the participating MRTs encountered relative to their educational experience. The research method was a case study conducted longitudinally from September 2006 to June 2007. A mixed method approach that blends the quantitative and the qualitative methods was used for data collection. The ten MRTs in the study submitted 400 reports which were accompanied by reports from radiologists, which were treated as the gold standard. A questionnaire was completed by the MRTs at the onset and again towards the end of the study. In addition, four of the MRTs and four of the radiologists, acting as the MRTs’ mentors, were interviewed towards the end of the study. Findings showed that as the MRTs progressed in their postgraduate educational experience, their clinical practice was enhanced enormously. By the time all the MRTs in the study were half way through their educational intervention; they exhibited accuracy levels of 100 percent and maintained that stable performance till the end of the study. The contribution of both the academic and clinical components of the postgraduate education was evident in playing a vital role in these developments. The ten MRTs’ individual circumstances and characteristics as well as their work profiles and their operational demands were further found to have some effect on the changes that were noted. The conclusion that was drawn from this study was that the wealth of knowledge in image interpretation possessed by MRTs can be improved through appropriate postgraduate education in trauma reporting. This study suggests that, if appropriately implemented, postgraduate education in trauma reporting is effective in enhancing the interpretation accuracy and the clinical practice of MRTs. The research findings provide potential to aid in the facilitation of future developments in possible role extension areas such as image interpretation in emergency departments (EDs) for the MRTs in NZ, especially in remote and rural settings.
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