Covid-19: Supporting radiographers online

Cumbria University leads international effort to support radiographers during coronavirus pandemic. University of Cumbria academics Ken Holmes and Professor Peter Hogg are co-ordinating an international response to help radiographers caring for patients with Covid-19.

Ken, senior lecturer in medical sciences at the university’s respected Institute of Health and a Fellow of the College of Radiographers, has been working with Salford University’s Professor Peter Hogg to create a new e-learning package for radiographers and radiological technologists with contributions from over 40 experts across the world.

Developed in close partnership between the European Federation of Radiography Societies (EFRS) and International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT), contributors include radiographers on the frontline, PhD students and respected academic experts. They have volunteered over a thousand hours of time and expertise between them.

The free online resources provide training and advice for radiographers carrying out mobile chest X-rays of patients who have or are suspected of having coronavirus.

Topics covered include minimising risk through the use of PPE and infection control, how to safely use mobile equipment, and how to assess the images, interpret and report on them.

The resources are for radiographers and radiological technologists who are switching specialisms during the pandemic or those who are newly qualified and going onto the frontline.

There has been significant input from Italian Federation of Scientific Radiographers Societies (FASTeR), Society and College of Radiographers (UK) and e-Learning for Health (e-LfH, UK).

The resources were developed in 16 days with Ken and Peter, who have been friends for over 25 years, starting work on the project on 4 April. The e-learning package was released online this week. Webinars will be developed too.

Ken said: “The demand for CT cans and mobile chest X-rays has increased and it was identified that there could be a need to refresh people’s knowledge and skills.

“My main role has been to lead the project with the other members of the steering group, edit and advise on the nine subjects which we cover. I’ve also written one of the topics ‘Image evaluation for the diagnostic quality of a mobile chest radiographs including COVID 19 patients’ with Dr Nick Woznitza Consultant Radiographer & Clinical Academic Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust & Canterbury Christ Church University.

“The response of the international community of radiographers has been phenomenal. So many have generously volunteered their time to share what they have learned about this pandemic and how to care for patients under the circumstances.”

Originally planning to retire later this year, Ken is a highly respected practitioner and academic with over 40 years of experience as a radiographer. He has now re-joined the Health and Care Professions Council register to help in the response to the pandemic.

His academic career has included roles in universities in his native West Midlands, Stoke, Bristol and Salford before joining University of Cumbria in 2005.

He was part of the University of Cumbria’s medical imaging team that produced Clark’s Handbook for Radiographers, a book regarded as a “must-have” in the sector.

“It has been great to do this project with Peter and lots of excellent people from universities and societies around the world,” said Ken. “It is a privilege to be providing these resources, practical teaching help and sharing lessons, to help in this way which allows practising radiographers and radiological technologists to concentrate on their role on the frontline.”

Charles Sloane, Principal Lecturer and Professional Lead for Medical Sciences at the university’s Institute of Health, said: “We are proud to see that Ken was invited to contribute on this highly significant and important project, supporting radiographers around the world and, in turn, patients. Radiographers are one of the many front line professional groups involved in the battle against Covid-19.

“Ken’s contribution is an example of how many of our staff and students are supporting efforts during the pandemic in their own way whilst, in many cases, juggling the demands of teaching and supporting our students.

The resources, available now at https://www.elearning.isrrt.org/, carry a caveat that variations exist between countries and readers are advised to check national and local policies.

Photo credit: Shutterstock / By docstockmedia

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