Introduction: Radiation therapy students at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) attend clinical placements at five different clinical departments with varying resources and support strategies. This study aimed to determine the relative availability and perceived importance of different factors affecting student support while on clinical placement. The purpose of the research was to inform development of future support mechanisms to enhance radiation therapy students' experience on clinical placement. Methods: This study used anonymous Likert-style surveys to gather data from years 1 and 2 radiation therapy students from QUT and clinical educators from Queensland relating to availability and importance of support mechanisms during clinical placements in a semester. Results: The study findings demonstrated student satisfaction with clinical support and suggested that level of support on placement influenced student employment choices. Staff support was perceived as more important than physical resources; particularly access to a named mentor, a clinical educator and weekly formative feedback. Both students and educators highlighted the impact of time pressures. Conclusions: The support offered to radiation therapy students by clinical staff is more highly valued than physical resources or models of placement support. Protected time and acknowledgement of the importance of clinical education roles are both invaluable. Joint investment in mentor support by both universities and clinical departments is crucial for facilitation of effective clinical learning.
- Radiation therapy