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Breast Cancer Research

Volume 4 Supplement 1

Symposium Mammographicum 2002

Open Access

Assistant practitioners: a success story

  • R Lander1 and
  • S Milton1
Breast Cancer Research20024(Suppl 1):53

Published: 1 July 2002


Cancer ResearchSuccess StorySupport WorkerVocational QualificationRegular Review

The objective of this poster is to show how assistant practitioners fit into a busy breast-screening department. Four support workers were employed from August 2001, all having care related backgrounds. It was unclear at the outset exactly what their duties would be and to whom they would be responsible on a day-to-day basis. The girls were all placed on a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) course level 3 in Diagnostic and Therapeutic Support on an accelerated basis to complete in 9 months instead of 12, and four radiographers are currently undertaking NVQ Assessors awards in order to support them. The first 3 months were difficult for both staff and trainees, and they were employed according to the department's needs. One girl ultimately made the decision that the job wasn't for her. The girls started mammography training in January 2002, each one working one-to-one with a trainer for 2 weeks initially and with regular reviews, and all are producing good quality mammograms. They also undertake nursing, processing and office duties where possible. Our three remaining girls have been renamed assistant practitioners after the Occupational Standards were set and are a great asset to our department in all the areas they work in.

Authors’ Affiliations

Breast Screening Unit, The Jarvis Breast Screening Training and Diagnostic Centre, Guildford, UK


© BioMed Central 2002