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- Radiation Therapy, 4 Year(s) Full Time, Closing Date: 08/FEB/2013
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- Radiation Therapy, Closing Date: 01/JUN/2013
Advanced Entry ApplicationsRead the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.
What is Radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy is one of the main methods used to treat patients with cancer. This course qualifies you to work as a radiation therapist - the practitioner who, together with the other team members, is responsible for the preparation and delivery of a course of radiation therapy.
When you qualify, you will work within a multidisciplinary team to plan and deliver the best course of radiation therapy for patients, you will also care for the patient during this treatment. As a graduate radiation therapist you will be the main point of contact for the patient during the course of their treatment and involved in many aspects of their care. As radiation therapy is expanding in Ireland so is the opportunity for development of the traditional role of the radiation therapist, making this an exciting time to be entering the profession.
Is this the right course for you?
Radiation therapy is both physically and academically demanding and you will need to have considerable emotional maturity. The radiation therapist requires very specialist skills. Your degree will cover many science subjects so you will need to have a keen interest in biology, physics and chemistry. The development of your clinical skills requires you to be interested in patient care. Working as a radiation therapist will also require you to have good interpersonal and technical skills.
Radiation therapy at Trinity College
Radiation therapy in based in the Trinity Centre for Health Sciences in a purpose built complex at St. James's Hospital. State-of-the-art teaching facilities at the Discipline of Radiation Therapy include the largest academic radiation therapy localisation and planning laboratory in Europe; a sophisticated teleconferencing system that facilitates links both nationally and internationally and a virtual (simulator) radiation therapy treatment unit. This equipment and technology places this course at a high standing internationally.
This four-year honours degree gives you a broad academic base on which to develop the clinical skills of radiation therapy. It qualifies you to analyse, evaluate and make clinical decisions and to initiate, participate in and encourage research in cancer and radiation therapy. There are both theoretical and clinical components to this degree, the emphasis being more on the theoretical component in the first two years and more on the clinical and research component in the last two years. The contact hours are high in this course and the subjects are taught through lectures, laboratory-based practical sessions, workshops, tutorials and clinical placement in the hospital setting.
A significant clinical component is integral to this course . The clinical sites are the radiation therapy departments attached to the St. Luke's Radiation Oncology Network at St Luke's, St. James' and Beaumont Hospitals in Dublin; Cork University Hospital; University College Hospital Galway; the Mater Private Hospital, Dublin; St. Vincent's Private Hospital, Dublin; the Galway Clinic; the Limerick Clinic; the Beacon; the Hermitage Clinic and Whitfield Clinic.
The duration of the clinical placement is 1 month in Junior Freshman (first) year, 2 months in Senior Freshman (second) year, 3 months in Junior Sophister (third) year and 5 months in Senior Sophister (fourth) year. Part of the clinical placement takes place during the vacation periods and clinical placement consists of 35 hours per week.
The Freshman years
In the Freshman (first and second) years, the course covers the basic sciences - physics, chemistry and biology. You will also study the structure and function of the human body through anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and genetics, and will be introduced to modules covering in the following areas: psychology, pathology, research methodology and statistics, cancer medicine, radiation physics and professional attitudes and skills.
A clinical component (clinical placement) will introduce you to radiation therapy and will develop your understanding of the complexities of the cancer patient pathway.
The Junior Freshman year
In the Junior Freshman (first) year, there are approximately 20-30 hours per week in class.
First year subjects will cover the following areas
- Biological principles and practices
- Chemical principles and properties
- Anatomy 1
- Physics for radiation therapy 1
- Principles and practices of cancer care 1
- Psychology and communication 1
- Clinical practice (clinical placement) 1
The Senior Freshman year
Second year subjects will cover the following areas
- Anatomy 2
- Physics for radiation therapy 2
- Principles and practices of cancer care 2
- Radiographic anatomy
- Psychology and communication 2
- Research methodology and statistics
- Clinical practice (clinical placement) 2
The Sophister years
In the Sophister (third and fourth) years, you will study more specialist subjects that are specifically related to cancer and patient care, and complete a research project in this area.
The Junior Sophister year
Third-year subjects will cover the following areas
- Principles and practices of cancer care 3
- Physics for radiation therapy 3
- Radiation therapy treatment planning
- Treatment localisation and verification
- Research methodology and statistics
- Clinical practice (clinical placement) 3
The Senior Sophister year
Fourth year subjects will cover the following areas
- Principles and practices of cancer care 4
- Radiation therapy treatment simulation and planning
- Health care management
- Research project
- Clinical practice (clinical placement) 4
This course assesses both the theoretical and clinical subjects by a variety of methods including written end-of-year examinations, continuous assessment, individual and group project work, oral examination, practical exams and case studies. A clinical portfolio and research project are a substantial component of the assessment processes in your final year.
There is a worldwide need for radiation therapists. The broad scientific content of the degree also means that you will be well qualified to start a career in research and development, medical technology, or the marketing of products associated with cancer medicine in particular, and in the health sector generally.
Did you know?
- Information days are held throughout the year for students interested in finding out more about radiation therapy. For details of the next information day, please contact DalÃ©ne Dougall on: + 353 1 896 3234
The radiation therapist is the main contact person for the patient during their radiotherapy and is involved in all aspects of the treatment process. She/he works closely as a member of the multidisciplinary team. Interpersonal and support skills and an ability to work as a member of a team are essential in every day practice.
My typical working day varies with the department or area in which I am working. On the treatment unit I will be part of the team that treats up to 40 patients a day with pinpoint accuracy and empathy. The number of visits each patient must make can vary from 1 - 40 and they require information and support throughout their particular course of treatment. In other areas I might be preparing patients for treatment by taking images with the CT Scanner or Simulator and ensuring that they are in the best position for the treatment to be delivered. I might also work in Treatment Planning where the best treatment field arrangement for dose delivery is defined for each patient. Other areas include brachytherapy where internal sources are used to deliver treatment.
The most difficult part of my job is lack of time to spend with each patient. As more units become available this should be resolved but in my department in the interim we have set up an Information and Support Service facilitated by a dedicated Radiation Therapist who meets the patient regularly throughout their treatment and gives them additional support and information. In other centres radiation therapists are also involved in the review of patients during their treatment.
The most rewarding part of my job is helping and supporting patients through the radiotherapy process which can be quite daunting for them. During the course of their treatment you develop a close relationship with patients and this is beneficial both to them and to us.
The most frustrating element of my profession is the lack of recognition of the work we do. As a small profession we are often confused with other health professionals and not identified in our own right. I am a member of the radiation therapist committee of the national professional body and through this forum we are working to raise awareness of the profile of the radiation therapist.
During my time spent as a freshman, the class had to study the general science subjects; biology chemistry and physics. We were also introduced to the different aspects of the radiation therapy profession. We also got first hand experience of working as a radiation therapist during placement in different hospitals. In order to do this placement we had to complete first aid and manual handling courses organised by the College.
In third year I found that the course is a lot more demanding and specialised. It's more geared towards working in the radiation therapy profession. This is reflected in the subjects that we are studying such as radiobiology, cancer medicine and treatment planning. We are doing these subjects in the School of Radiation Therapy in the Trinity Centre in St. James's Hospital rather than on the main Trinity College campus. A good knowledge of physics would be a great asset for this course.
Longer placement periods must be completed in third and fourth year. This gives students the opportunity the opportunity to visit all the different units in the radiation therapy department. Students can work in different hospitals in the country. This gives them the chance to see how the different departments are run. There is clearly very good variety in this course.
The class size is generally quite small. The total number of students in my class is 24. This makes it quite easy to get to know everyone and to make friends. There is a very friendly atmosphere in my class. A class night out is organised from time to time. Students doing radiation therapy have the opportunity to join the therapy society. The therapy ball takes place every year. There are numerous other clubs and societies which students can join if they wish.