Careers and destinations of radiography students from the University of Hertfordshire
Purpose: Vacancy rates have increased for diagnostic and therapeutic radiography over the past two years with the three-month rates standing at 5.5% and 8.8% in March 2002 for both disciplines. Anecdotal evidence suggests retention of radiographers is poor but there has been little empirical research into why this is the case. This study, conducted by the University of Hertfordshire, investigates the career progression of past students. Methods: A questionnaire was sent to all graduates for whom a contact address was available (n = 303). The questionnaire included questions seeking information on current employment and grading, any problems or barriers encountered in pursuing a radiographic career and reasons for leaving radiography or NHS if applicable. Results: One hundred and twenty-eight (42%) questionnaires were returned, 114 (89.1%) were employed in radiography and only 18 (15.7%) of those respondents planned to leave the profession in the next five years. The main motive for choosing a radiography career was wanting a health career and also the combined interaction with patients and technology. The majority of respondents would recommend radiography as a career, stating the varied role of the radiographer as a key factor. Increasing pay and improving the working environment were stated as the most important factors in improving retention. Conclusions: The response rate was encouraging, although consideration must be given to the bias of the sample and the situation of the 58% who did not respond. Overall, however, respondents were positive towards radiography and the results were reassuring for the profession in an apparent period of low morale.