Evaluation of proton beam therapy pedagogy within the UK's pre-registration radiotherapy and oncology higher education setting

Radiography (Lond). 2022 May;28(2):267-275. doi: 10.1016/j.radi.2022.01.007. Epub 2022 Feb 19.


Introduction: Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) continues to expand across the United Kingdom (UK). It is estimated that by the end of 2021, there will be seven clinically operational PBT centres across the UK, such prospects raise questions related to training and recruitment of PBT competent workforce. Comprehensive academic education in the field of PBT can be a suitable solution to ensure adequate representation of competent staff for the future. However, at present, little is known in this sphere which warrants the need for exploration of this topic.

Methods: An online questionnaire was distributed among Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) of radiotherapy & oncology pre-registration courses within the UK setting. The study aimed to explore current PBT content that is taught to radiotherapy students.

Results: Five HEIs providing radiotherapy & oncology course providers, participated in the study (5/12). Each institution provided at least one HCPC approved course that led to professional registration as Therapeutic Radiographer (TR). All courses identified in the study included module(s) related to PBT however, the content varied across the spectrum. A deficiency was identified where PBT based education appeared to lack in learner exposure to clinical PBT pedagogy.

Conclusion: Although training resources within the area of PBT practice appear limited, it is apparent that HEIs have endeavoured to evolve their PBT content inclusion; however, there is scope for further enhancements required to meet PBT stakeholder needs appropriately and collaboratively.

Implications for practice: Post-qualification training that is designed for a select group of professionals may be a rational approach in fulfilling service demand; however, a clear need for stronger collaboration between HEIs is encouraged in order to standardise and unify the knowledge provided for students, nationwide.

Keywords: Academic proton beam therapy education; PBTE; Pre-registration PBTE; Proton therapy education UK; Proton therapy education among students.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Proton Therapy*
  • Radiation Oncology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom