Defining advanced practice in radiation therapy: A feasibility assessment of a new healthcare provider role in Ontario, Canada

N. Harnett, K. Bak, L. Zychla, E. Gutierrez, P. Warde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Introduction: This study assesses the feasibility of a new role for radiation therapists in Ontario, Canada, called the Advanced Practice Radiation Therapist (APRT), which would address health service pressures and improve patients’ access to care. Methods: A literature search and expert consensus were used to define advanced practice. A standardized template was used to record each APRTs activities/competencies, along with the requisite knowledge, skills and judgment required to perform these competencies. A thematic analysis of the lists was undertaken to develop a single competency profile. Seven APRTs were deployed at four cancer centres to gather contextual information on the development and integration of the new role. Results: The definition of AP consists of seven key traits and includes a framework identifying stages of practice from entry-level practitioner through expert to advanced practitioner. The competency profile consists of clinical, technical and professional domains which further define the scope of practice and shepherd the role through stages of implementation. Role testing showed support for the role and demonstrated that APRTs can deliver specialized services, perform delegated tasks and their work can lead to program efficiencies and new services. The new role may also lead to improved radiation therapist recruitment rates and work satisfaction. Conclusions: This feasibility assessment served as the foundation for the future long-term implementation of the Clinical Specialist Radiation Therapist (CSRT) Project. As of 2018, there were 24 CSRTs in Ontario. The APRT role is a natural progression for a readying profession which can play a transformative role in addressing health human resource shortages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-249
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Advanced practice
  • Competency profile
  • Radiation therapy
  • Role expansion

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Multicenter Study


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