purpose: to identify factors determining the possibility of role development for therapeutic radiographers in hong kong public hospitals.
methods: questionnaires were sent to all ranks of radiographers, clinical oncologists, medical physicists and nurses in four clinical oncology departments in local public hospitals. information was sought on role development and the nature of extended role tasks that should be undertaken by therapeutic radiographers. both open and closed questions were used to ascertain views. individual, semi-structured interviews were used to explore further opinions of therapeutic radiographers. for open-ended questions, data were analysed thematically by grouping similar opinions, while for closed questions data were analysed by descriptive statistics and independent-samples t-test/levene's test for homogeneity of variances.
results and discussion: in total, 132 out of 285 questionnaires were returned (46.32%). subjects (77.10%) expressed views that role development in therapeutic radiography (rt) would have a positive impact on oncology services within the region. medical dominance was highlighted as the main barrier to role development (mean: 2.86; sd: 1.78). radiographers would tend not to extend their roles by taking up tasks that were performed by oncologists: for example, radiographers would not want to prescribe drugs to patients with radiation side-effects (57.58%), while 83.33% of oncologists also disagreed with this being performed by radiographers. other professionals (nurses and medical physicists) held a reserved view in delegating their tasks to radiographers, even after accredited clinical training.
conclusion: role development in rt should relieve the increasing workload of the entire clinical oncology department. it also increases the status of therapeutic radiographers within the health care setting, which is beneficial for the whole profession. however, efforts must be made by all health professionals within the department to ensure that the greatest effectiveness can be achieved from such developments.