A radiation therapist is an important member of the multidisciplinary treatment approach to cancer. The complex and diverse role of a radiation therapist necessitates that practitioners are highly skilled, patient focused and reflective. This research employed a Qualitative Analysis to explore issues that radiation therapy students documented in their freeform unguided writing in personal journals. This allowed for the changing focus of students’ ‘workplace learning‘ as they progress through the program to be mapped and compared with the actual curriculum of the program. After reading and analysing the student’s personal journals it was evident that there was a need for the development and validation of a tool to assess written journals for evidence of reflection. This research has developed and validated a tool Newcastle Reflective Analysis Tool (NRAT). Subsequent analysis of a cohort of radiation therapy student’s freeform journals using the NRAT for evidence of reflection identified that, students find it difficult to reach the higher critical levels of reflection that can transform learning. This finding prompted the development and validation of short form guided reflective inventories called the Newcastle Reflective Inventories (NRIs). These inventories can be used in the undergraduate and practitioner setting to support and develop reflective writing and thinking skills. The NRIs guide and support students in higher levels of reflective writing, allowing insights into workplace experience. The findings and tools developed from this research have been implemented within the RT program and other allied health programs at the University of Newcastle. There has also been international interest and support for the research and its findings from a spectrum of health profession disciplines.
University of Newcastle Research Higher Degree Thesis