Australian radiographers' and radiation therapists' experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic

Madeleine C. Shanahan, Theophilus N. Akudjedu

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Abstract

Introduction: Radiographers and radiation therapists are key patient-facing health practitioners supporting the delivery of optimal patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this research was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on clinical service delivery and well-being of these healthcare professionals in Australia. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey of Australian radiographers and radiation therapists was conducted in June–July 2020. The survey collected data on demographic characteristics, and the impact of COVID-19 on professional practice, infection control and workplace-related stress. Results: A total of 218 responses were received. Changes in work hours (P < 0.001) and workload (P = 0.022) were experienced due to COVID-19. Diagnostic radiographers reported increased procedural pressure on mobile radiography, computed tomography and general radiography. For radiation therapists, most pressure included areas of simulation and linear accelerator. PPE was in short supply at the start of the pandemic, and at the time of the study, shortages were identified for all PPE items. There was no difference in PPE supply reported by diagnostic radiographers and radiation therapists except for hand sanitiser (P = 0.003). Respondents experienced increased personal stress (61.4%) and anxiety (58.2%) at work due to COVID-19. In addition, their work caused increased stress to their family, partners or friends (57.4%). Conclusions: COVID-19 has resulted in changes to clinical working patterns and service delivery. PPE shortages, as well as increased workplace-related stress, were identified. Workplaces should seek to mitigate the pandemic impact through the provision of adequate PPE for safe practice as well as implement strategies to support and enhance staff well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Radiation Sciences
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Feb 2021

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