Ethics training in undergraduate radiologic technology programs varies depending on the level of degree offered and on the education of the instructor.1 “The motivation for the study was to address an alarming and sharp rise in ethical violations among registered radiologic technologists,” says Candace Ayars, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Graduate Health Studies at A.T. Still University in Kirksville, MO.
In 2020, 1,837 alleged ethics violations were investigated, with 18 cases resulting in revocation of certification.2 Violations include altering credential identification cards, forged patient records, patient privacy violations, practicing with an expired license, and falsifications of mammography quality control data. “This suggested that ethical training in radiologic technologist programs was not optimal,” Ayars says.
It was unknown exactly what ethical content the programs were teaching and how they were assessing student understanding, if at all. To find out more, Ayars and a colleague surveyed 226 faculty members. Most relied on lectures based on the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists Standards of Ethics and used tests to assess student understanding.
“Standardizing ethics curricula within undergraduate radiologic technology programs is an important step in decreasing the number of ethical violations being committed,” says Janyce Prier, DHEd, MSRS, RT(R)(CT)(ARRT), adjunct instructor of radiologic sciences at ECPI University in Virginia Beach.
Few programs used case-based studies and group discussions. “Programs are not using currently established best practices,” Ayars says.
Incorporating case-based instruction gives students the opportunity to recognize, analyze, and understand ethical dilemmas. This would allow educators to evaluate how students apply their learning in the professional setting. “A case-based curriculum moves away from traditional lecture-based instruction and test-taking evaluation by putting students in scenarios they are likely to encounter in the workplace,” Prier says.
- Prier J, Ayars C. Evaluation of ethics curricula and faculty in accredited undergraduate radiologic technology programs. Radiol Technol 2021;92:331-344.
- The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. How to report a potential ethics violation.