The use of evidence
Two matters have recently caught my attention, a commentary on radiographer reporting and the subject of a letter which is published in this edition. Firstly, the letter from Richard Harbron poses the question; is radiobiology the forgotten science? He raises valid points about a failure to acknowledge the science of radiobiology and as a consequence its evidence base. Could it be however that we are witnessing the consequences of a general dumbing down of science education in general? While we cannot do much about this, the place of science education in radiography has to be paramount. An integrated approach to teaching where sciences are taught together with examination and treatment techniques rather than entities in their own right may be good in principle but does it detract from the importance of science? It’s not enough, for example, to say that some students find physics ‘hard’ and it is more meaningful to integrate aspects of teaching if one of the outcomes is a diminished understanding of scientific principles that underpin radiography. It is the students who should be able to integrate the parts to make the whole otherwise we are in danger of promoting training at the expense of education. Without a sound science base we should not be surprised if some are prepared to accept a non-evidential practice base as Harbron points out. The easier path will not be to challenge practices but continue to use the impoverished approach of ‘that is the way things have always been done’; hardly an approach to inspire confidence. While Harbron may be correct in his assumption that radiobiology is the forgotten science the more worrying danger is that some will never have the opportunity to grasp important principles in the first place. If radiobiology is not the most important topic it is certainly not the least important either.