The mid-term open workshop took place in the Ramada hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria on the 25th of September 2015. The workshop was open to the public pending registration. It was organized to inform all stake holders about this course, its practical organization, the educational schemes that were applied and the course content as well as the group of teachers. The mid-term workshop was especially important to address radiation protection authorities and enhance specific activities such as getting accreditation, performing PR activities, creating cooperation with other projects, etc.
The scientific program was chosen to inform the workshop participants of the goals of the project and inform them about what has happened during the previous modules and what is planned for the future modules. There was a remarkable exchange of ideas and suggestions and very interesting discussions, all of them with the aim to improve training possibilities for the medical physicists, in hospitals, industry and in authorities and how to sustain in the activities in the future. The workshop ended with a panel discussion about the sustainability of the project and the importance of accreditation in this regard. The program is gathered below with a short summary of each presentation.
Welcome – Hilde Bosmans & Kristina Bliznakova
The project coordinator and local organizers welcomed the workshop participants.
Nuclear Safety in Hospitals and the EC Reply
Nuclear radiation safety and the difficult extrapolation towards the medical world – Jan Bens
Jan Bens, head of Belgian Federal Agency of Nuclear Control (FANC), presented his thoughts on the importance of nuclear safety culture in a nuclear environment and attempted to indicate how this culture could also improve the medical physics practice in hospitals. The most important step he sees for the medical environment is to focus on the return of experience. This means that a culture should be developed that allows the employees to share their mistakes with other colleagues so that they can learn not only from their own mistakes, but also from those of others.
What is a medical physics expert (MPE) following the (European) BSS? (Future) role of the MPE in diagnostic and interventional radiology – John Damilakis
John Damilakis, president of the European Federation of Organisations in Medical Physics, presented his thoughts on the future role of the medical physics expert in D&IR. He discussed the relevant sections of the European BSS and presented some results from surveys about the role and involvement of the MPE in clinical practice. The presentations closed with a closer look at some of the future tasks for the MPE: Justification, optimization, providing information for patients/staff, cooperation as team members and taking on new and expanded roles. Some of these tasks were further illustrated with clinical cases and the challenge of patient specific dosimetry.
EUTEMPE-RX: objectives, work plan & current realizations & a message on ‘nuclear safety culture’ – Hilde Bosmans on behalf of Georges Van Goethem
Hilde Bosmans, project coordinator, introduced the history of the EUTEMPE-RX project, its main goals, challenges, current achievements and remaining tasks, of which the development of a sustainability plan is probably the most important. She had visited most of the modules and shared her enthusiasm of what the project partners had achieved so far. ‘Cherry picking of the best European expertise’ seems to work. The project recruited participants from most of the EC Member States, including the new Member States. She then gave a short overview of the presentation Georges Van Goethem, the EUTEMPE-RX EC officer, had made available. The presentation stressed the importance of strengthening not only the knowledge and skills but also the competences of medical physics experts. Furthermore it is vital to start sharing a common safety culture, which is already strongly imbedded in the nuclear sector. The presentation concluded with an overview of all the current Education and Training projects of the EURATOM section of the EC.
Research and Innovation in radiation protection and medical physics
Radiation protection in radiology: one of today’s challenges – Peter Vock
On behalf of the European Society of Radiology, Peter Vock presented the challenges of radiation protection in radiology. He sees 3 main actions that are needed to improve the current situation: minimize the risk; create an easy, comprehensive approach to radiation protection; make sure all actors in the radiation protection process work together and create some synergy.
Dose to the patient: role and responsibility of the manufacturer – Rémy Klausz
Rémy Klausz, principal engineer at GE Healthcare, presented the role and responsibility of manufacturers with respect to patient dose. As a manufacturer, he would welcome medical physics experts well trained in image quality and dose optimization. Manufacturers should make tools for dose reduction and quality optimization and have to comprehensively train the users. He concluded by stating that a strong regulatory framework, harmonized over Europe, is necessary to oblige the manufacturers to take care of patient and operator dose. Beyond the legislative aspect, new developments and research can decrease the dose further.
Where medical physics expertise can make the difference: interventional radiology culture’ – Michael Grass
Michael Grass, professor and employee of Philips Healthcare, gave an amazing overview of new technology and 3D CBCT imaging techniques for a series of applications, such as image guided surgery. The safe introduction of such techniques in the hospital benefits from high level medical physics expertise in the hospitals and a true radiation safety culture.
Medical physics expertise in regulatory can promote active radiation protection initiatives (STUK, Finland, as an example) – Paula Toroi
Paula Toroi, senior scientist in the radiation and nuclear safety authority STUK, discussed the role that medical physics experts in authorities can play in promoting active radiation protection initiatives. She stressed that it is not only important to have medical physics experts in hospitals and industry. This expertise is also needed in regulatory authorities for a few reasons: to understand paper results, new technology, the clinical situation, etc. and to develop new methods, inspections, new laws, etc. The tasks of the physicists in radiation protection authorities among Europe is variable: some inspectors perform several tests themselves, others are advisers and/or perform a high level checking of procedures. Both of them are in need for advanced knowledge, skills and competences. At this moment it is not trivial to become an expert in medical physics, since there is no clear pathway. EUTEMPE-RX could provide such a pathway.
Summary: today’s challenges and the need for networking to ‘driving technology to advance healthcare – proactively protecting patients’ (motto of the MPE) – Peter Sharp
Peter Sharp, former president of the European Federation of Organisations in Medical Physics, summarized what has been presented in the morning. He remarked on the frequent use of the word ‘culture’. This word implies shared aims and standards. Cooperation is very important. Medical physics experts should not only learn from the mistakes of others but also from their experiences. He concluded by stating that EUTEMPE-RX must be seen as the start of a process to increase the level of medical physics in Europe, not simply as the answer.
Challenges and opportunities in teaching knowledge, skills & competences at EQF level 8.
Experience from 5 course modules
Introduction – Saartje Creten
Saartje Creten, member of the Leuven education and teaching team, presented a short introduction to the coming presentations. She tried to answer the questions ‘How are we doing so far?’.
Quality procedures in EUTEMPE-RX. Results of the quality survey – Carmel Caruana
Carmel Caruana, past Education and Training chair of the European Federation of Organisations in Medical Physics, presented the quality procedures put forward by the EUTEMPE-RX quality manual and the results of the quality surveys of the first 5 course modules. He started his presentation by stressing the importance of the use of quality procedures and the role they have played in the project. The quality procedures have been implemented successfully and have been appreciated by the participants.
A participant’s report of our first EUTEMPE-RX modules – Agnieszka Kuchcińska
Agnieszka Kuchcińska, a participant that has participated in all modules, presented her impression on the EUTEMPE-RX modules. Her general assessment of the EUTEMPE-RX project was that the project provides an excellent source of important D&IR knowledge, a unique opportunity to learn from the European leaders, the best available training for the clinically working medical physics, a lot of help in implementing the new BSS and a large contribution to the overall patient safety in Europe. She concluded her presentation by indicating how the project can contribute to better patient care in Poland.
The Module leader’s report – Josep Sempau, Mauro Gambaccini & Andrea Ottolenghi
This section had three EUTEMPE-RX partners present their impressions on certain aspects of the EUTEMPE-RX project, in their role as module leaders of completed modules.
- 1. Josep Sempau, module 3 leader, shared his views on the difficulty of achieving EQF level 8 in a certain field of study. He reflected on the alternative online structure he used for his module and the best methods of assessing EQF level 8 and creating an active and long-lasting community. He used his own module as an example for these reflections.
- 2. Mauro Gambaccini, module 4 leader, gave his view on the strengths and limits of the “flipped learning” structure used in the EUTEMPE-RX project. He stated that the online phase is very useful for issue analysis and knowledge transfer, while the face-to-face phase is more effective at creating discussions and in depth analysis. He ended by sharing his experiences of his own module and the (public) assessment method he used.
- 3. Andrea Ottolenghi, module 2 leader, gave his views on the difficulties posed by the heterogeneous backgrounds of the participants that apply for the EUTEMPE-RX modules. He first presented his own module, before continuing to the main topic. He presented the challenges and successes they encountered in their module. The presentation ended with a reflection on how the e-learning part helps in this context.
Quality of the Modules, by an external evaluator – Stephen Evans
Stephen Evans, chair of the European Federation of Organisations in Medical Physics projects committee, presented the results of the external assessment of the completed modules. He started with his own impressions as an external evaluator of the first module. He then presented the results of the other external evaluator surveys and gave his conclusions about these results. He concluded by stating that the project is progressing well and on the right track. The most important improvement would be the use of a better e-learning platform.
Round-up – Saartje Creten
Saartje Creten rounded up the previous presentations: EUTEMPE-RX had implemented new teaching methods, including the active use of an on line platform. All project leaders have used the on line part as it was intended: to provide high level knowledge, upfront. Skills and competences were trained during the face to face, with unique examination methods being used and appreciated by the participants.
Challenges and opportunities in teaching knowledge, skills & competences at EQF level 8.
7 course modules to go
Upcoming Course Modules: scientific content and unique teaching methods – Annalisa Trianni
Annalisa Trianni, Work Package leader in the EUTEMPE-RX consortium, presented the plans for the coming 7 modules. She discussed both the online phase and the face-to-face phase and ended each module discussion with giving some of the highlights of the specific modules.
Panel discussion: Accreditation and sustainability– Peter Sharp, Jan Bens, Hanne Waltenburg, Norbert Bischof, Peter Vock, Michèle Coeck & Thomas Mertelmeier
The panel discussion was the most interactive part of the workshop. The workshop participants posed questions to the panel and joined in the common discussions under the overarching team of sustainability and accreditation.
Summary – Hilde Bosmans
Hilde Bosmans thanked all the workshop participants for their active and positive participation and for the useful input. The workshop was deemed a success.