Radiography students’ and recent graduates’ perceptions of the skills they acquire during their undergraduate degree programme

Jodi Pettit, Yvonne Hodgson, Imelda Williams


 Background: There are increasing demands on universities from prospective students, future employers, taxpayers and government to demonstrate the value of their courses. While there has been a focus on improving student learning gains and outcomes, little research is undertaken on student perceptions of necessary knowledge and skills. No studies have evaluated radiography students’ perceptions of professional skills gained during their undergraduate degree. 

Method: Final-year radiography students and recent graduates completed a questionnaire that evaluated their gains in professional skills. A 4-point Likert scale was used to evaluate seven professional skills. 

Results: Thirty-three final-year students and 25 recent graduates participated. Students gave positive ratings for confidence and improvement in the seven skill domains evaluated. Two skills, “medico-legal and ethical” and “identification of significant findings”, received significantly lower ratings compared to “patient care” (p = 0.038, 0.001), “procedural” (p = 0.001, 0.001) and “technical knowledge” (p = 0.005, 0.001). Overall, students felt less confident in all skills compared to their view of the importance of the skill. There were no significant differences between student ratings of skills’ importance versus future relevance in their career. Also, no significant difference was found in importance ratings between final-year students and recent graduates. 

Conclusion: This study found that positive student importance ratings in seven domains of professional skills aligned with the perceptions of recent graduates. Curriculum areas that may require strengthening are medico-legal and ethical skills, and identification of significant findings.

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