When did you first introduce the innovation?
Between 12 and 24 months ago
Please describe the innovation you have developed
Nuclear Medicine is growing and evolving quickly, providing great career opportunities at the forefront of cutting edge medical technology. This Society College of Radiographers accredited course focuses on developing practitioners’ existing knowledge and skills, and their real-world application. The course is very flexible and offers a student-centred choice of duration and completion routes. The course is mostly distance-based, with only three contact days per year. This approach is highly popular with employers and employees in nuclear medicine, and is supported by a range of clinical experts alongside the academic team. The course is designed to give practitioners the knowledge and skills needed to practice in a safe and competent manner, and a comprehensive education and research base to evaluate and inform current and future practice. There are also many opportunities for inter-professional collaboration and shared learning during the course.
What prompted you to develop this innovation?
Workforce pressures make it increasingly difficult for employers and employees in nuclear medicine to accommodate traditional attended courses into their development plans. Furthermore, the field of nuclear medicine doesn’t offer viable student numbers regionally, but it does nationally. This highly flexible course and study routes were developed to cater for those needs specifically, providing a robust and rich learning experience with minimal disruption to workforce management.
In your view, what is it about this innovation that makes it different/important?
The MSc Nuclear Medicine course provides the educational and research foundations required to evaluate current working practice and understand the opportunities currently available in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging environments. As a result, peer learning is a big part of this course’s value to individuals and employers. In addition to developing skills directly linked to clinical practice, students also have the opportunity to contribute to the nuclear medicine knowledge base through research and publication.
Due to the issues raised above (workforce pressures and potential student numbers), the flexibility offered by this course makes it a viable option for many nuclear medicine professionals who otherwise would not be able to take their professional development up to the postgraduate taught level. Therefore the course fulfils an important role in the development of the workforce.
To what extent does your innovation make use of existing approaches, resources or technologies?
This course is designed in conjunction with a number of clinical experts, and our partnership with clinical software provider Hermes Medical Solutions. This means it produces competent and professional practitioners with the skills needed to optimise and promote this imaging modality in current models of patient care. The course makes extensive use of a variety of learning technologies in order to provide curricular flexibility, and also in order to foster group work and cohort cohesion at a distance.
To what degree has this innovation led to changes in education or clinical practice?
The main educational contribution that this course makes to the wider workforce development environment is the increased choice and flexibility it provides to employers and employees. Many of them would not be able to engage in a postgraduate taught level programme if this innovative type of flexible delivery wasn’t available.
What evidence do you have of the impact of the innovation?
The course is formally accredited by The Society and College of Radiographers, and endorsed by the British Nuclear Medicine Society.
To what degree has the innovation been disseminated in your organisation or elsewhere?
The academic team has actively engaged in disseminating the knowledge gained by developing this course, both internally at the university and externally, and continues to contribute to the wider discussions on how to best enhance workforce development. An example of those efforts can be found here:
King, S. (2014) Nuclear medicine: Workforce development guidance. In: Nuclear Medicine Advisory Group Meeting, London, UK, 27 November 2014.
Please provide details of any plans you have to disseminate the innovation in the future.
We are keen to continue to disseminate and share this successful innovation and are continually looking at conferences where we can share this.