In September 2016, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Sheffield Hallam University City Campus (SHU) hosted the first International Leading the Way: Radiographer Advanced Practice (LTWRAP) conference, which focused on international perspectives on advanced practice with a view to share and inspire. Specifically the themes included:
• terminology harmonisation
• international perspectives on advanced practice
• managing an advanced practice service
• scope of practice and role creep
• impact on practice/service
• advanced practice research
The programme was varied with keynote lectures, proffered papers, posters, workshops and conference debates. Suzanne Rastrick (Chief Allied Health Professions Officer –NHS England) delivered the closing keynote speech.
Over the course of three days, approximately 122 delegates, presenters, and exhibitors engaged with each other. There were both diagnostic and therapeutic disciplines represented, as well as a few other Allied Health Professionals, The largest proportion of attendees came from the UK, but 15% of delegates were from overseas; specifically Canada (including several advanced practice radiation therapists), Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Singapore.
The conference was supported by a number of international professional bodies, including the College of Radiographers (UK), Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT), the Australian Institute of Radiography (AIR), the New Zealand Institute of Medical Radiation Technology (NZIMRT), the International Society of Radiographers & Radiological Technologists (ISRRT) and the Society of Radiology Physicians Extenders (SRPE). Also a number of these (and other) bodies exhibited including British Institute of Radiology (BIR) and the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT) joined by a number of companies including Toshiba, In Health, OIS, and Accuray.
The conference was also attended by a number of current diagnostic and therapeutic radiography undergraduate students from SHU who used the experience as an inspirational CPD opportunity.
The use of social media featured heavily over the course of the conference and a live Twitterfeed was provided using the hashtag #LTWRAP. It provided the chance to share and debate with the wider international Radiography audience both present or not. At several points over the course of the weekend, #LTWRAP was trending in the UK top 10. A prize, generously donated by one of the delegates, was awarded for the best Tweet of the weekend.
The proceedings were opened on Friday afternoon by Ruth Allarton, Head of Allied Health Professions. Ruth introduced four keynote speakers who provided perspectives from a range of viewpoints; the professional body (College of Radiographers), Consultant Radiographer, manager, and health authority (NHS England) followed by an interactive question and answer session. The opening day was concluded with e-posters and exhibition viewing.
Day two took the global perspective, with the morning session providing a snapshot of advanced practice in the UK, Canada, Australia, and the US. A lot of debate followed discussing how practices varied. The audience were joined ‘virtually’ by a video presentation by Mike Odgren from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) who gave the American perspective
Following this, a range of proffered papers presented working examples of how advanced practice was influencing practice across disciplines and internationally. On Saturday afternoon, delegates were offered the chance to attend a series of workshops delivered on a range of topics, namely:
- Planning for an advanced practice role, Marcia Smoke, Canada
- Overcoming barriers to research, Heidi Probst and Rachel Harris, UK
- Accreditation of advanced practitioners, Louise Coleman, UK
- Not forgetting the patient, Spencer Goodman, UK
These workshops allowed small groups of delegates to work closely together to consider some of the forgotten factors surrounding advanced practice.
Saturday night provided an opportunity to relax, unwind, and discuss the themes that had already come out from the conference so far. 85 delegates and guests attended a dinner, dance, and disco where networking and sharing of practice was on show.
Sunday morning started with the conference panel “Elephant in the Room: MSc? Accreditation? – Desirable or essential?” This was followed by a further selection of proffered papers before the conference was closed by Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Profession Officer who considered how advanced practitioners and allied health professionals will transform care and commenting that the conference had portrayed “Such impressive international work to learn from”
Delegates left inspired by the practice that had been shared and with new ideas how radiographers could shape healthcare delivery worldwide. Over the course of the weekend, a total of 9 keynote addresses, 23 proffered papers, and 4 workshops were supported by 15 e-posters.
Feedback was overwhelmingly positive both in terms of the conference organisation as well as the inspirational content and speakers. There were some comments received about how the organising committee might like to plan the sessions with regards to a diagnostic or therapeutic focus, but generally the multi-professional approach seemed to work well.
Subsequent to the conference, videos and presentations have been uploaded to the LTWRAP website so that delegates and non-attendees may access them and continue to be inspired.
The final word goes to the delegates:
“Networking, learning, finding out similar challenges worldwide, but equally opportunities to work together to move forward – it has been just fabulous”
“Proud to say I have been inspired by all the forward thinking, progressive and proactive people I have met this weekend”
2016 organizing committee
- Charlotte Beardmore (Society and College of Radiographers)
- Amanda Bolderston (British Columbia Cancer Agency, Canada)
- David Eddy (SHU)
- Angela Eddy (SHU)
- James Harcus (SHU)
- Rachel Harris (Society and College of Radiographers)
- Jo McNamara (SHU)
- Nick Woznitza (Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)
Contributed by James Harcus & Jo McNamara
Senior Lecturers at Sheffield Hallam University