Perception of modern radiotherapy learning study protocol for a mixed-methods analysis of trainees and trainers at a UK cancer centre

Gerard Walls*, James J. Mcaleer, Gerard G. Hanna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction Radiotherapy technology and postgraduate medical training have both evolved significantly over the last 20 years. Clinical Oncology is a recognised craft specialty where the apprenticeship model of clinical training is applicable. The challenges of learning radiotherapy in the modern radiotherapy department workplace have not been comprehensively described and no optimal method has been identified. Methods and analysis Five Clinical Oncology trainers and five Clinical Oncology trainees at a regional cancer centre will be invited to undertake a semistructured interview regarding their personal accounts of learning radiotherapy. Both trainees and consultants will be treated as equal co-investors in the process of radiotherapy learning, with the common shared aim of passing radiotherapy skills from trainers to trainees. Interviews will last up to 40 min. After transcription, an interpretative phenomenological analysis will be performed. All trainees and trainers at the same centre (n=34) will then be invited to complete the same purpose-built questionnaire. Four trainers and three trainees have piloted the questionnaire, and input was sought from the national leads of the biennial UK Clinical Oncology training survey. Significance testing will be performed on predefined questions and thematic analysis on white space questions. Ethics and dissemination Medical education research is evolving in Clinical Oncology and Radiation Oncology but there are few studies comprehensively assessing this from the viewpoint of trainees and trainers. Pending the success of the proposed study, the approach detailed represents a novel method that could be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of radiotherapy training in other centres and settings. Ethical and governance approvals have been granted by the University Research Ethics Committee and the Integrated Research Application System, respectively. This study has been funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere037171
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2020


  • medical education & training
  • oncology
  • radiation oncology
  • radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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