X-ray operators' self-perceived competence, barriers and facilitators in general radiography practice in Western Australia
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Introduction: Australian X-ray operators (XROs) are health workers qualified with a limited radiography licence to perform basic radiography examinations in rural areas of Australia. However, no previous study explored Western Australian (WA) XROs' radiography practice. The purpose of this study was to investigate WA XROs’ self-perceived competence in the general radiography practice, and barriers and facilitators to their competence for determination of appropriate strategies to improve quality and safety of the radiographic service provided by them.
Methods: Institutional review board approval and informed consent from participants were obtained. Interviews were conducted with theWA XROs to obtain demographic information and identify their selfperceived competence in the general radiography practice, and the barriers and facilitators to their competence. A thematic analysis was used to analyse the interview data.
Results: A total of nine interviews were conducted (eight nurses and one paramedic). Participants indicated that they felt highly competent in patient care in radiography and adequately competent in the production of diagnostically acceptable images. The self-perceived barriers include overload of responsibilities, a lack of continuing professional development, and inadequacy of communication, support and XRO courses. The facilitators, post-qualification/course training, support in undertaking examinations, primary professional roles and a small population of the rural and remote areas were identified.
Conclusion: Based on interview data from nine WA XROs, the perception is that they have competence adequate for providing an acceptable quality radiographic service. Implications for practice: A continuous XRO course review, and provision of a video conference support channel, an online XRO networking forum and additional XROs and/or radiographers working with XROs undertaking the radiography examinations were perceived as the appropriate strategies to improve the WA XROs’ radiography practice. However, these require financial and/or managerial support from governments
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