Radiation therapists' perspectives on participating in research.
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INTRODUCTION: The objectives of this research were to: (1) determine the extent of Australian radiation therapists (RTs) research participation; (2) evaluate the impact of research involvement on career perceptions (3) explore which research topics require investigation and (4) identify benefits and barriers to research participation. METHODS: This study used mixed methods to collect qualitative and quantitative data using an online survey from a larger workforce study of RTs and radiation oncology medical physicists. Participants practising in Australia completed questions about their research involvement. Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used to analyse quantitative data and content analysis was used to explore qualitative data. RESULTS: Two hundred and ninety-six RTs answered the research questions. Forty-six percent had been involved in research. Of these, 91% had been involved in departmental, 28% in national, 14% in international and 29% in informal or self-directed research studies. Eleven RTs (8%) had received funding as a chief/principal investigator. Involvement in research was associated with a desire to make a career change. However, it also appeared to be associated with greater satisfaction with career progression and staying in the career. Respondents identified a range of potential research topics, benefits of participating in research and barriers which included lack of time, support and cost. CONCLUSION: Almost half of the RT participants identified that they were participating in research. Our data suggest that continued involvement in research, and opportunities to participate, improve RT job satisfaction. RTs' research activities are likely to be extended through provision of additional time and support.
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