The structural elements of radiation therapy as a health profession in the contemporary health care delivery system in the United States include the following:
- A cognitive base within a baccalaureate level curricula.
- A scope of practice.
- A professional credential.
- A code of ethics.
- Clinical practice autonomy.
The history of these elements combines in a complex structure that can be traced across historical time spans and contemporary functional boundaries. For example, in the history of radiography, radiation therapy was at one time a responsibility of the radiographer. This is no longer true today.
The curriculum of the discipline contains elements of physics, psychology, patient care and pathology among others that cross horizontally through several medical specialties. The professional curriculum incorporates didactic and clinical elements and basic sciences that are reflective of contemporary practice in radiation therapy. Content and structured learning experiences develop attitudes and outcomes that prepare graduates to demonstrate a commitment to patient care and continued personal and professional development (ASRT Radiation Therapy Professional Curriculum, 1997).
This program holds as its central core, the Standards for an Accredited Educational Program in Radiologic Sciences, developed and published by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). The JRCERT is dedicated to excellence in education, to quality and safety of patient care. Students, faculty, and administrators associated with the Radiation Therapy Program shall recognize that the program shares this commitment and strives to meet and exceed the standards.
The Joint Review Committee on Education assures quality in education through the accreditation of educational programs in radiation and imaging sciences. Students shall understand that the Standards are directed at the assessment of outcomes for the program and the student. Using these Standards, the goals are to protect the student and the public, and to identify outcomes by which a program establishes and evaluates assessment policies and procedures for continuous improvement. The student has the right to report program infractions of these standards to the JRCERT at www.JRCERT.ORG.