Background: Assessing radiographers' clinical competence is of major importance in all medical imaging departments, and is a fundamental prerequisite for guaranteeing professional standards in both nursing care and radiography. Despite the fact that self-assessment has been reported to be the most common form of competence evaluation only several studies defining the radiographers' self-assessment of clinical competencies were identified. The aim of the study was to evaluate radiographers' professional competence from the perspectives of radiographers and radiologists by applying the Radiographers' Competence Scale (RCS).
Methods: The study was conducted in university hospitals of Lithuania. We used the original instrument designed by Swedish researchers - the Radiographers' Competence Scale (RCS) consisting of two domains: A "Nurse-initiated care" and B "Technical and radiographic processes". The study involved in all 397 respondents; radiographers (250) and radiologists (147) working in departments of diagnostic radiology. Each competence was evaluated twice - the level on a 10-point scale, and the frequency of practical application on a 6-point scale.
Results: The overall level of the radiographers' competence and the frequency of its use in practice were evaluated high or very high by both respondent groups. The radiographers attributed the highest evaluations to such competences as "Encouraging and supporting the patient" and "Collaborating with other radiographers", while the lowest evaluations were attributed to "Guiding the patient's relatives" and "Empowering the patient by involving him/her in the examination and treatment" competences. The radiologists attributed the highest evaluations to such competences as "Collaborating with radiologists" and "Independent carrying out of the radiologist's prescriptions", while the lowest evaluations - to the same competences as the radiographers did. Irrespectively of the work experience and age, the radiographers gave significantly higher ratings to all competences that the radiologists did (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Both groups of the respondents attributed high or very high evaluations to the competences in both the "Nurse-initiated care" and the "Technical and radiographic processes" domains.
Keywords: Assessment; Competence; Radiography.