Background: Addenbrooke’s was awarded Department of Health funding for Tomotherapy in 2006, to evaluate the functionality and application of the image guidance element of Tomotherapy. No Tomotherapy unit had been implemented into a National Health Service (NHS) working environment before, so there was no model to follow. An education and training program needed to be created to ensure accurate and efficient delivery of radiotherapy using Tomotherapy.
Method: The educational needs of radiographers had to be derived from first principles. An assessment of Tomotherapy treatment delivery process was made, identifying the tasks within the process and then the skills and knowledge required to achieve each task. The process was derived from site visits to non-NHS centres using Tomotherapy, nationally and internationally. This was supplemented by educational courses for specific aspects of Tomotherapy Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT).
Results: The core skills and knowledge required were identified and an in-house educational programme created. Competencies for Tomotherapy delivery were assessed against image matching accuracy and speed. All radiographers were able to meet these standards so that Tomotherapy IGRT on the treatment unit required no input from clinical oncologists, making effective and efficient use of staff resources.
Conclusion: The educational and training needs of radiographer staff were identified and a Tomotherapy training program was devised to enable image registration to be radiographer driven.