An investigation into formal role extension opportunities for MRI technologists in New Zealand
Citation:Young, A. J. (2008). An investigation into formal role extension opportunities for MRI technologists in New Zealand. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Health Science, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1352
At present, role development and a possible career progression framework for medical radiation technologists (MRTs) in New Zealand (NZ) are being investigated. This study aims to examine the attitudes of MRTs working in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) towards these opportunities. Using a case study approach, data was obtained from three sources. Ninety-one New Zealand MRI-MRTs replied to a questionnaire related to their professional background and perceived job satisfaction. Current work practice in MRI departments throughout New Zealand was also ascertained. Four experienced MRI-MRTs were interviewed, in order to gain a greater understanding of historical, current and future issues, including the concern of retention of experienced staff. To support this information, twelve reporting MRI radiographers from the United Kingdom (UK) responded to an on-line questionnaire, relating their experiences of role extension. This study has demonstrated that the role of the MRI technologist has changed considerably over the last ten years, and is continuing to develop. It was revealed that whilst technical or protocol-driven roles, such as venepuncture and scanning of routine examinations unsupervised, have become widespread in MRI departments throughout NZ, more cognitive tasks such as the authorisation and protocolling of request forms are not as widely practiced. However, NZ MRI-MRTs are keen to pursue more advanced role extension activities, particularly image reporting. With evidence from the UK supporting MRT-reporting, this is an opportunity worthy of further consideration. While it is probable that there will be resistance to it, particularly from radiologists, this is an important field to pursue in order to increase the job satisfaction of MRI-MRTs and to promote the retention of experienced staff. This study supports the development of formal, clinically-orientated ‘advanced practice’ MRI-MRT roles in New Zealand. These roles should include opportunities for further role extension, including MRI-MRT reporting.